Rob Brown, MD

A Physician's Unique Perspective on Wellness

Author: rbtrbrown

Gathering Fresh Water

Water is a liquid required by all living organisms on Earth, which has amazing and complex properties. Water is a medium, a conduit needed for almost every bodily process. Electromagnetic frequencies travel through water and chemicals diffuse through water, two requirements for communication within and among cells. Water is chemically composed of two hydrogen atoms bound to one oxygen atom, forming a dipole molecule, meaning that one end of the molecule has a positive charge while the other end is negatively charged. With this configuration, the water molecule can function as a mini magnet. Billions of tiny water molecules can then align with each other to form a 3 dimensional matrix. Water is referred to as the “universal solvent” because it has the important chemical property of being able to dissolve a vast number of materials. Not only does water have the ability to dissolve salts, minerals and chemical compounds such as sugars, essential to life, water can also dissolve poisons. Both naturally occurring inorganic compounds, such as heavy metals and radioactive particles, can dissolve in water as well as organic compounds, ranging from simple carbon dioxide to benzene, phthalates, formaldehyde and many others produced by the chemical industry. Dissolved contaminants may cause a discoloration or an odor to water, but this isn’t always the case. In some instances, water can look clear and be odorless, yet be toxic.

Water in some parts of world is so clean you can quench your thirst directly from the runoff of a melting glacier. Last year, I had the opportunity to go hiking in Patagonia, Chile, and on the way, instead of carrying bottled water, we stopped occasionally on the trail at glacial streams and drank some of the best tasting water I’ve ever had. In other parts of the world, however, water is scarce and/or dangerously polluted. Many people in this world not only have to walk a great distance to get to a fresh water source, but when they get there and drink, they can become ill from disease, such as cholera. As a nation, the US water supply is somewhere in the middle. We are extraordinarily fortunate to have municipalities that can supply fresh drinking water into the homes of our larger communities while others have the ability to get water directly from aquifers through their private wells. But although this water is called “fresh”, that simply means the water is not salt water. Fresh water distributed from local water authorities has had some toxins and heavy metal contaminants removed. But, the main emphasis of the water authority is to sanitize the water. For this purpose, chemicals such as chlorine and now chloramine, a compound mixture of chlorine and ammonia, are added to our drinking water to kill bacteria and other pathogens, thereby protecting our communities from waterborne illness. But, as we are all aware, these systems can fail on occasion. Water authorities are not able to filter out many contaminants that have infiltrated our water table and reservoirs and therefore your fresh drinking tap water may contain traces of medications, pesticides, herbicides, etc., in addition to sanitation byproducts. If you are relying on your public utility to provide you with clean, healthy water that you can safely drink straight from the tap, you are being too trusting. The water source itself, the piping from the source to your home and the piping within your home are all potential sources of contamination.

Even though you shouldn’t drink your tap water as is, regardless of its source, that doesn’t mean you should consider it unusable and instead spend your hard earned cash on bottled water. Despite all of the media attention exposing the bottled water charade, most people still think that bottled water is healthier for you than tap water. Bottled water is either sourced from a well or in some cases, merely treated tap water. Unfortunately, the water sources for the majority of these companies contain the same contaminants that your tap water at home contains, including traces of medication, industrial chemicals and, of course, disinfection products. Equally if not more important, is that water shouldn’t be stored in a plastic bottle. The ingredients used to make plastic, along with impurities and byproducts can leach all kinds of chemicals into the water as it is stored, especially if the bottle is exposed to sunlight or a heat source.

The most economical solution, and certainly the healthiest alternative, is to skip the plastic water bottles and get a reliable water filter for your home so you can filter your home’s tap water before you drink it. By using activated charcoal and other filter components, a good quality countertop gravity drip purifier can remove most of the contaminants from your water source, including chlorine. Some chemicals, such as chloramines may require more extensive filtration to eliminate. Popular plastic canister systems containing only an activated charcoal filter are not nearly as efficient at removing contaminants as a more substantial system with multiple filters. A good quality counter top drip system can be an excellent method to purify your drinking water.

Store your water in a glass container such as a carafe and drink from a glass or a ceramic cup. If you purchase a glass or stainless steel water canister, you can bring your own water with you when you go to work, school, the gym or to any other activity thereby ensuring that you have clean drinking water throughout your day. There are plenty of glass containers with protective rubber sleeves on the market to allow their safe transport. If you use a metal container, make sure it isn’t lined with any type of plastic material. Due to massive public outcry over the negative health effects caused by Bisphenol A (BPA), many companies now advertise their products as being BPA free. But, even if your container says “BPA free”, scrutinize the interior of the vessel to make sure there is no coating. The industry has figured out alternative replacement chemical compounds to BPA, such as bisphenol S (BPS), which are also over time being implicated in causing potentially damaging physiological effects to the body.

So what are the potential negative health effects that one can have from drinking water laden with chemicals such as BPA, chlorine, chloramine, phthalates? Everything from endocrine disruption to cancer. These products of the chemical industry are not nutrients and shouldn’t be dissolved in your drinking water, in any concentration. Even minute amounts will become absorbed into your body’s tissues and cause unknown and certainly unwanted health effects. The more frequently you are exposed to these chemicals, the greater the concentration build up in your body over time.

Finally, but no less important, there is growing support for the idea that water has the ability to store frequency and therefore has a form of memory. It is unclear how the memory of water can then change its energetic properties. The field of homeopathy is based on this concept. Some believe that even focussing your mind on a thought such as gratitude, love or joy while holding and looking at your glass of water before drinking it can cause a harmonizing effect on the water by transmitting unseen energetic frequency to the water. When you drink water with this coherence, the water may have an even more powerful, mysterious effect on nurturing and healing your body. Try it. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a lot to gain!

This week, take the time to do some research and find a good countertop water purifier for your home. After you make the purchase and set up the system, relax and be thankful that you will not only have healthy glasses of water to drink each day, you will now have started down the path of ridding your body of unwanted chemicals.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this posting, please feel free to email me at

Create Your Home Consciously

Writing is not new to me, but blogging is another story. I’ve written many scientific papers and a couple of book chapters in the medical literature. Writing non-fiction however has been calling to me for some time now, for I have a lot to share for those interested in learning from my experiences. I am a diagnostic radiologist who for the past decade, has been working and living in a Pittsburgh suburb, helping to raise my two children. In some ways, this area has been an ideal location for during my free time, my family and I have been able to enjoy a mixture of agrarian and city lifestyle. We maintain a small organic vegetable garden, an organic orchard of 16 trees and a flock of chickens and ducks during the growing season. We cultivate our own mushrooms and host a colony of honey bees. Over the years, I’ve learned how to freeze, can and dehydrate extra fruit and vegetables. The family has been able to subsist on the garden’s output for over half the year, each year. Yet, because the city of Pittsburgh is so close, we are able to go into the city to enjoy the many new restaurants and entertainment options Pittsburgh has to offer. Pittsburgh really has become a great town!

In our home, we all enjoy excellent health, but this hasn’t always been the case. My home town, was a hazardous place to grow up in, not only for my own health, but probably for most everyone else as well. The effects of pollution in that region were subtle and insidious. We all joked about the incredible stench driving through Newark or Elizabeth, New Jersey, back then but there was no one specific incident that caused a media blitz such as what has occurred recently in Flint, MI. Over the decades though, the area proved to be a very unhealthy place in which to grow up and live. I have no idea if it was the tap water we drank, the ground that we played ball on or the air that we breathed. But, way too many of my classmates and neighborhood friends were diagnosed with cancer before even turning 40. In fact, I was one of them. Many of my friend’s parents died much too early of chronic diseases, particularly cancer and neurodegenerative disease. It wasn’t until I moved out of the area, experienced life in other parts of the country and travelled the world that I gained perspective and realized that communities all over could be classified as either healthy or even sickly. It has been particularly frustrating being a “health care practitioner” and seeing more and more people develop disease earlier and earlier in life. Asthma, allergies, rheumatologic diseases, cancer, neurological disorders, and of course obesity and diabetes are all way too common, especially in children. It has become clear that disease isn’t random, sporadic or what many consider to be bad luck. Some disease are more common in some locations than in others, indicating they are, in a sense, environmental. What’s even more apparent is that even though we always look for family histories of various disease in the medical field, most disease, including many types of cancer are not genetically predetermined.  People may be genetically susceptible to certain types of disease, but that does not mean they are destined to become afflicted with it eventually.

So why the title “Create your Home Consciously”? During my work and personal travel, it has struck me that most people who come down with a disease are hit from left field and have no idea why they became ill. Some people of course do know, such as the chronic smoker who is diagnosed with lung cancer or the woman who’s husband worked with asbestos many years ago and is doomed to suffer a slow death from mesothelioma. In general though, we do not seem to understand that certain lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis can increase our risk of becoming diseased. It is particularly distressing that so many of us know nothing about the food we eat or the water we drink. Our world has become a giant soup bowl filled with plastics and industrial chemicals, and we inhabitants are for the most part totally oblivious to the biological effects that these chemicals can and do have on our bodies everyday.

I’ve learned a lot over the years, but communicating this information effectively is tricky.  Even when people grasp the knowledge, translating that new concepts into action is difficult. In many cases, changing one’s habits is what is ultimately necessary in order to take steps to improve one’s health. Anyone who loves a friend, or family member who smokes, drinks or takes drugs excessively knows it is next to impossible to convince him/her to stop their self destructive behavior. Yet, how can you look yourself in the mirror when one of those friends is diagnosed with cancer or has an accident that you might have helped them avoid if you had offered your observations to them beforehand?

In this series of short posts, my goal is to set up a framework to help the reader piece together how some of the elements in his/her environment interact with their body’s physiological processes. Following will be a brief description of how contaminants associated with each element can adversely affect their health. This information should help one begin the process of creating a healthy home, consciously.

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