Absolutely. A 2010 Great Lakes Basin water study revealed that
“detectable concentrations of pharmaceutical compounds were present in 34% of the surface water samples”.
“But come on”, you might say, “that was merely surface water”.
Good point. What common chemicals or drugs end up in the final product, namely, our drinking water?
To answer this question, let’s investigate a “cool” [literally] scientific discovery.
In 2015, researchers did some globetrotting to investigate sea otters, dolphins, sperm whales, and even polar bears in Northern Alaska. Specifically, they were testing for parabens, especially parabens in fat cells. Why parabens and why fat?
Well, for one, as recently as 2017, parabens have been found in 90% of water samples from major drinking water reservoirs. Parabens are prevalent, washing into water from human use in cosmetic products (plus, they go through our skin but that’s a different story).
Are all these parabens in our water a genuine health issue?
Yes. Parabens have been associated with altered reproductive hormone levels during pregnancy. Many other health concerns have also been attributed to parabens (I’ll list more soon) but all these health issues have a common thread. Parabens cause health problems because they have a chemical structure similar to natural estrogen. This results in parabens having estrogen-like (“estrogenic”) health impacts on our bodies. Further, because of the similarity between parabens and estrogen, parabens store inside fat cells. That’s why researchers have been chilling in Alaska, performing polar bear liposuctions.
But, scientifically speaking, we are not polar bears (last time I checked). How long can a fat cell last in the human body? On average, fat cells survive 1.5 years but can last up to 10 years !! Obviously, this indicates that parabens can survive in our fat cells an extremely long time.
But are parabens actually being found in human fat?
Of course they’re found in human fat! We’re being exposed more frequently than polar bears! In fact, up to 17,400 nanograms of parabens per gram (ng/g) of fat has been discovered in humans and paraben numbers in fat commonly are present in an unhealthy high range!
What does this mean? Well, to put these numbers into context, natural estrogen in men is about 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L) of blood. Also, natural estrogen levels in women range between 20 – 400 ng/L in blood, depending on the time of the month and a woman’s cycle; 17,400 ng/g of estrogenic paraben cannot be good.
So, clearly, parabens end up in drinking water. Parabens then end up in our bodies. The levels are high. Is that the end of the story?
Unfortunately, no it’s not. Many other artificial estrogen chemicals are also ending up in the water supply.
Take the herbicide atrazine. This is the second most used herbicide in North America after the perennial “winner” glyphosate (RoundupTM).
Why is atrazine a concern?
Like parabens, atrazine herbicide is estrogenic. One study, for instance, tested two groups of rats, giving them identical calories, identical exercise, and identical everything except water. For drinking water, they gave one group pure water and the other group was given low dose atrazine in the water. Despite having the same calorie numbers and exercise, the group with atrazine gained significant amounts of extra fat. Tell me again how calorie counting is an ideal way to lose weight?
Atrazine is a chemical designed to have an extremely long shelf-life (even in dirt, for example, total atrazine degradation takes more than 1 year). Further, atrazine certainly ends up in many people’s drinking water directly from that agricultural spraying, especially in rural farm country (see image). Don’t become like those lab rats, drinking low dose atrazine!
What about drinking water outside this heat map? Is atrazine-free water free of estrogen chemicals? Let’s investigate.
First, don’t forget that areas with high population density gives rise to high artificial estrogen from birth control in the drinking water supply. People taking birth control urinate it into the water and it isn’t filtered by municipal water treatment facilities. Ahh, Sex and the City.
Furthermore, even phthalates leaching from plastics end up in drinking water at high levels (ref)…and you should realize that BPA-Free plastic still leaches plenty of phthalates. And BPA isn’t innocent, of course. Oh, wait: didn’t I mention that BPA acts like estrogen in our bodies?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is estrogenic as are other bisphenol analogues like BPS, BPF, BPAF, BPB …you get the idea. And BPA leaching is obviously an issue from liquid contact of any kind. Of course, where BPA is illegal, BPS, BPF, BPB, etc. are a growing concern in plastic water pipes as well as bottles and baby chew toys.
What health issues are associated with all these various artificial estrogens?
Well, besides accelerated aging, breast cancer risks that can be passed to future generations, obesity risks that are also likely to be passed to future generations, infertility risks that can be passed to future generations, and “testicular dysgenesis, obesity, asthma, and allergies”, you’re probably good.
How can you eliminate these estrogen chemicals from your drinking water? Hint: it’s embarrassingly easy. Use a charcoal filter. Most Brita, Pur, Berkey, etc. water filters have activated charcoal but be sure to double check.
I’ve published scientific research papers using activated charcoal and it works to remove any hormone-like substance, including artificial estrogens like BPA, parabens, atrazine, and birth control or even natural hormones like estrogen or testosterone. Since charcoal has no positive or negative chemical charge, oily substances (like sex hormones) adsorb onto the surface of charcoal. What’s more: charcoal has a massive surface area due to its inherently porous nature so it can remove high levels of estrogenics.
Do activated charcoal pills or tablets help? Only in certain situations. You should first realize that these pills and tablets can cause vitamin deficiencies by removing vitamins from your food and causing these vitamins to be driven out of your body via your stools.
Also, activated charcoal supplements (obviously) don’t magically remove estrogen from places in your body like your fat cells – they only grab fat-like “substances” (again: good or bad, healthy or unhealthy “substances”) that are in your gut. Since charcoal cannot pass through your gut and travel into your blood, charcoal does nothing to remove parabens and other estrogens from your blood where they may be already damaging your health. In other words, your best bet is to avoid artificial estrogen chemicals to begin with rather than ingest them and then try to cleanse them out.
Concluding words of wisdom: stop the madness. Raise awareness against artificial estrogens that end up in your daily environment starting with your drinking water. Next, invest and religiously use your water filter. Store your filtered water in glass or stainless steel. This has become a necessity today in our Estrogeneration. Beyond that, keep your ice cubes surrounded by alcohol and cheers!
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This article was first published on October 30, 2017.