A study recently published in the Canadian Journal of Economics, done in conjunction with Princeton University, found that contaminated water can be even more dangerous to unborn babies than previously thought.
The study examined the birth records and drinking water quality tests over ten years in New Jersey. Researchers looked at statistics regarding infants' health, date of birth, and maternal characteristics. They then compared that to water violation information from almost 500 water districts across New Jersey.
Water municipalities and suppliers are required by the Environmental Protection Agency and their state to do specific tests for contaminants. If contaminant levels are above set standards, they are required to notify customers. However, these notifications can often be overly technical or may get lost in the mail–the usual method of notification.
This study is the first of its kind to look at the effects of water contamination and pollution on pregnant women and babies in utero. The scientists found that women who consumed contaminated water were more likely to have premature births or to have babies with low birth weights. These low birth weights affect not only the infant's immediate health, but can have lasting effects as the infant struggles to catch up both intellectually and physically. The study argued that low birth weight babies could even have developmental cognative problems that do not apply to other infants.
But what contaminants were in the water? The study found that everything from dangerous pesticides to chemicals and even fecal bacteria could be present in the women's tap water. While researchers are not sure precisely which contaminants had a larger effect, they do warn that pregnant women should be aware of the risks of drinking tap water. Each water source can have different contaminants that will be affected by the water source, the treatment methods, and even the condition of the delivery pipes.
How can you find out what's in your water? There are several ways to find out what contaminants may be in your water, whether municipal or well water. Each region, county, and state may have different water contaminants. There are a few ways to ascertain what is in your water. First, you can contact the EPA for regional information. Purdex is another new resource for city specific information. However, a well is not under any state or federal regulations. The owner of the well is the one responsible for the quality of the water. Second, you can test the water. This can be done by sending a sample off to a lab or testing the water at home. If you are concerned about the quality of your water, contact our water experts, who would be happy to help you select the best water solution for your family's needs.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a great reminder for you or someone you love to take the time to reduce the risks of breast cancer. Breastcancer.org writes that “1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer at sometime in their lives.” To promote early detection, women should practice regular self-check programs and get recommended mammograms. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website features a list of locations where women can get low cost screenings for both breast and cervical cancers.
There are many factors that can contribute to a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Family history can be a contributing factor, but other things can raise a woman’s risk of cancer. These variable factors are ones that women (and the men who love them) can work to reduce. Exercise and healthy habits like not smoking can decrease the risk of breast cancer.
But scientists have been discovering that environmental factors can also contribute to a person’s cancer risk, including exposure to toxic chemicals, like pesticides. One chemical has been proven in numerous studies to increase cancer is bisphenol A, known as BPA.
This chemical is used in making polycarbonate plastic. This plastic is used in many household products including plastic food storage containers, baby bottles, and in the linings of food cans. BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can cause abnormal development of cells in babies and children, which can continue into adulthood. As shown in the booklet put out by Breast Cancer Fund.org, BPA has even been proven to inhibit the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment after breast cancer has been found.
BPA is in many things in your home, but one way to begin to eliminate its presence while reducing the risk of breast cancer for women and young girls, is to replace water, juice bottles, and baby bottles with glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic. Baby bottles should be BPA-free as they are often heated, which can cause the dangerous chemical to leach out into the liquid. Many versions of commercially bottled water are also packaged in BPA bottles. Replace these disposable water bottles with a stainless steel water bottle. These are refillable, cost-saving, and BPA-free.
Another way to reduce exposure to BPA is to use products that are BPA-free. Freshwatersystems.com offers the innovative, Swift Green Refrigerator Filters that are the only replacement refrigerator water filter that offers BPA-free and eco-friendly construction. So, do yourself or the women you love a favor and go beyond the pink this month. Help to reduce the risk of breast cancer by going BPA-free.
Oct. 14, 2013: RECENT UPDATE:
Not only has BPA been linked to cancer, but now it seems to be very dangerous to unborn babies. A study recently released has also shown that women with higher BPA levels in their blood are more likely to miscarry.