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Water is vital to life. But sometimes, drinking tap water when pregnant can be worse than chugging vodka. Or drinking floor cleaner, for that matter. A recent study has found that tap water in some areas of the U.S. has high levels of nitrates that can result in birth defects. Drinking contaminated water when pregnant may produce birth defects such as spina bifida, an opening in the spine which causes cognitive defects. High levels of nitrates are also linked to missing limbs and cleft palate. I’m sure you’re curious and concerned by now-unless you’re already a ‘non-water drinking’ mutant. Below are a few FAQ’s and detailed explanations to avoid becoming one.
Where does my water comes from (aside from the faucet)?
Drinking water comes from two sources. It comes from either surface water(reservoirs, rivers, lakes) or groundwater(artesian or ground wells). Most water goes through chlorination before we drink it, but this does not guarantee that it will be free of all infectious bacteria and dangerous toxins. The EPA has established guidelines for Maximum Contaminant Levels, so most public sources of water should be safe to drink from. It is also in their guidelines to monitor nitrate and nitrite levels, and yet we still have reported cases of contaminated water. You decide how safe it actually is.
Who put the darn nitrates in my tap water?
Although I am tempted to say evil gremlins snuck in during the night to poison our water and cause Methemoglobinemia or “blue baby syndrome” from ingestion of elevated levels of nitrate or nitrite, the EPA has set guidelines for all public water systems to follow in order to monitor dangerous levels in our water. Farm fertilizers, dairy waste, sewage treatment, decaying vegetation, septic systems and even hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can contaminate water sources.
Which areas have higher rates of contaminated water?
A study by researchers from Texas A&M, published in Environmental Health Perspectives found a link between bad drinking water and birth injuries. Mothers of children with spina bifida were twice as likely than other mothers to have ingested nitrates. Iowa, California and Texas have the most nitrates in their water, but that is not to say that towns in other states shouldn’t be wary of their drinking water.
Is my $3 eco-friendly, recyclable, reusable, upcycled, ergonomically-structured bottled water safer?
Bottled water labeling and marketing is often false and misleading. It is advisable to conduct your research on the topic. You’ll be amazed at what you find out. Contact the local Public Water Supply for a Consumer Confidence Report to find out if it is safe (and cheaper) to drink your tap water. If you are pregnant, under the age of 6, or have a weak immune system, it is recommended to drink only filtered water.
Do you know what’s creeping and crawling in your water?
About the Author:
Lili Miller is a PhD student in Social Psychology, and the eccentric author of Simply Lili Blog; created to disperse knowledge on a plethora of topics in a minimalist and humorous way. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and her 3 fave things are blogging, copywriting, and pugs.
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