Fresh drinking water is a necessity for optimal health. Not only does fresh drinking water taste better, it's safer, as well. Contaminated water causes countless deaths throughout the world in countries where sanitized water is not an option. Unfortunately, sanitized water isn't always healthy either, as harsh chemicals are used to clean up the liquid. Fortunately, carbon water filters not only improve the taste of drinking water, but can also make it safer to consume.
Key Contaminants Carbon Water Filters Remove
Carbon water filters are designed using carbon as the primary filtering agent. The carbon in many cases is solid and the water runs through it and is purified. This filtering process removes bad taste and, more importantly, dangerous contaminants that compromise human health. Some of the key contaminants removed by filtering water over solid carbon water filters are:
Asbestos - Everyone knows the dangers of asbestos through the numerous cases of cancer-related deaths of those who have worked with the dangerous substance. The most common concern over asbestos exposure is inhalation. However, if the substance is swallowed, it can also be absorbed by the digestive system and cause cancer and other asbestos-related illnesses. For more information on asbestos, please consult:
Oklahoma State University: Asbestos Awareness - A comprehensive look at the dangers of asbestos and the importance of safety when exposed to it.
Cysts - Giardia cysts are a parasite that can infest the intestinal tract if consumed. Many people are familiar with these parasites if they own animals that have contracted "worms." These protozoa can also infect humans, with frightening results. The EPA presents crucial information regarding Giardia cysts in drinking water in the fact sheet below:
EPA: Giardia Drinking Water Fact Sheet (PDF) - See what the EPA has to say about giardia and its dangerous impact when found in drinking water.
Lead - Lead is poisonous, no matter what. People are aware of the lead paint health warnings; what was once thought good has proven to be very, very bad. Lead in drinking water is just as dangerous, and can cause severe illness including severe brain, nervous system, and kidney damage. This includes drinking water run through lead pipes. Please see New Jersey's warning about lead found in drinking water:
New Jersey Department of Health: Lead in Drinking Water (PDF) - The New Jersey Department of Health gives some warnings about lead in drinking water that everyone should take into consideration.
Certain Pesticides - Pesticides seemed like a good idea not too long ago; a great way to ensure your plant life is not infested with undesirable pests. What people didn't realize is that these pesticides sink into the ground and wash into the water supplies. This contaminates the drinking water of both humans and animals. Consuming pesticides is consuming poison - plain and simple. The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network discusses the dangers of pesticides in drinking water below:
National Pesticides Telecommunications Network: Pesticides in Drinking Water (PDF) - Learn about the dangers of pesticides in your drinking water and in your daily life.
Trihalomethanes - Trihalomethanes are a by-product of the chlorination process of purifying water. While chlorine has done a lot of good in terms of saving people from illnesses as extreme as typhoid fever, the resulting trihalomethanes actually consist of four dangerous chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dribromochloromethane, and bromoform. These nasty chemicals are closely regulated by the EPA, because they can cause bladder and colon cancer. See what Oklahoma State has to say about trihalomethanes:
State of Oklahoma: Trihalomethanes Fact Sheet (PDF) - Chlorination is good, but trihalomethanes are bad. Read what the State of Oklahoma has to say about these dangerous chemicals.
Volatile Organic Compounds - Volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, are organic chemicals that become dangerous at certain temperature levels. These compounds are not only dangerous to human health, but also to the environment, as the dissipated chemicals can rise into the atmosphere and cause acid rain. Formaldehyde is an example of a VOC that can cause serious health risk to any human who consumes it. The United States Geological Society discusses VOCs in greater detail below:
USGS: Volatile Organic Compounds in the Nation’s Drinking-Water (PDF) - The USGS discusses the findings of its study surrounding the dangers of VOCs in drinking water.
So, how do you protect you and your family from these dangerous contaminants and chemicals in your drinking water? Filter it. Sure, your city and/or county properly sanitized your drinking water. The problem is it's the chemicals they use that can cause some of the danger. If you live in an old house with lead piping, you're subject to lead poisoning. What about well water? It all needs to be carbon filtered to protect you from serious health problems. Here's how carbon filtering works:
Electronic molecular charges are the name of the game in carbon water filtering. As the water enters the filter, it passes through the first stage of the filter that is made of refined cotton. This causes the water to attain a positive molecular charge. Colloidal and bacterial contaminants exude a negative charge, and the first phase of the water filter absorbs these contaminants as they pass through.
Next, the water flows through the actual carbon. This is a tightly packed carbon block of activated carbons and polyethylenes. These dandy little substances remove the dangerous stuff, such as microscopic organisms, the cancer-causing asbestos, turbidity, and any additional particulate matter too big to pass through. The carbon also changes the molecular structure of the chlorine, lead, VOCs, and pesticides that have seeped into your drinking water. The carbon filtering is not only key to cleansing the water for that fresh, crisp taste, but it is also key in removing some of the most dangerous things found in drinking water.
The final step in carbon water filtering is the pharmaceutical grade post filter. This filter actually protects the previous portions of the filter. The pharmaceutical grade post filter seals the carbon block to make sure it stays intact and in its place between filter and the housing. This protects the carbon and extends the life of your carbon water filter, giving you fresh drinking water much longer than when using other water filters.
For more information on the benefits of carbon water filtering, please see the following links:
Bay County Michigan Government: Home Water Treatment Using Activated Carbon (PDF) - Bay County, Michigan, in cooperation with Michigan State University, presents comprehensive findings on the benefits of home carbon water filtering.
U.S. Dept. of Interior Bureau of Reclamation: Granular Activated Carbon (PDF) - A study of the benefits of activated carbon water filtering by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Seattle Public Utilities: Choosing a Home Water Filter - Read why carbon water filtering is one of the most popular ways to filter your home drinking water.
NASA: Filtering Water With Acoustics Nanotube Technology - Read how NASA is keeping space water clean by using carbon nanotube water filtration technology.
State of California: High Activated Carbon (PDF) - California discusses the importance of using carbon to ensure the safest drinking water possible.
University of Nebraska: Drinking Water Treatment Activated Carbon Filtration (PDF) - The University of Nebraska's Lincoln Extension Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources discusses activated carbon water filtration in this extensive report.
University of Minnesota: Treatment Systems for Household Water Supply - Read the University of Minnesota's take on the benefits of active carbon water filtration.
Michigan State University: Activated Carbon Water Treatment - Michigan State University discusses how carbon water filters cleanse and purify home drinking water.
Stevens Institute of Technology: Water Purification System (PDF) - Complete with design schematics, this senior report gets down to the nitty-gritty of water purification system design.
The Ohio State University: Water Filtration Techniques Remove Dangerous Freshwater Algae Toxins - Algae is another concern in water contamination, and OSU discusses carbon water filtration techniques to protect drinkers against the green slime.
University of Kentucky: Water Quality in Kentucky - The University of Kentucky presents some thoughts on the importance of filtering your home drinking water using carbon water filtering technology.
University of Missouri: Understanding Home Water Treatment Systems - Read the University of Missouri Extension program's article on understanding the importance of home water treatment systems and how they work.
The University of Texas at Austin: Compressed Carbon Block Water Filter - Learn more about how carbon water filtration works to keep your drinking water safe and fresh tasting.
Virginia Community College System: Types of Activated Carbon - Learn about the different types of activated carbon used in carbon water filtration from the Virginia network of community colleges.