Rob Brown, MD

A Physician's Unique Perspective on Wellness

Month: July 2020

Making Safe Drinking Water at Home

Water is a medium, an aggregation of tiny H2O molecules, each with a positively charged end and a negatively charged end, functioning like a mini magnet. Billions of water molecules naturally align with each other to form a 3 dimensional matrix. Water is an electrical conduit transmitting electromagnetic frequencies in addition to allowing the dispersement of chemical compounds through diffusion. Both processes are needed for almost every bodily function.

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 can water dissolve salts, minerals and chemical compounds such as sugars, essential to life, water can also dissolve toxins. Both naturally occurring inorganic compounds, such as heavy metals and radioactive particles, as well as organic compounds, ranging from simple carbon dioxide to benzene, phthalates, formaldehyde and many others produced by the chemical industry can dissolve in water. Dissolved contaminants may cause discoloration or an odor, but this isn’t always the case. In some instances, water can look clear and be odorless, yet be poisonous.

Water in some parts of world is so clean you can quench your thirst directly from the runoff of a melting glacier. In other parts of the world, water is scarce and/or dangerously polluted. 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 larger communities while others have the ability to get water directly from aquifers through their private wells.

Fresh drinking water distributed by 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 or chloramine (a compound mixture of chlorine and ammonia) are added to the water to kill bacteria and other potential pathogens, protecting our communities from waterborne illness. Water authorities are unable 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 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 cash on bottled water.  Bottled water is either sourced directly from a well or merely treated tap water. Unfortunately, the water sources for the majority of these bottled water companies contain the same contaminants that your tap water at home contains, including traces of medication, industrial chemicals and disinfection products. In addition, water should not 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 except on rare occasion, and get a reliable water filter for your home. Then, you can filter your home’s tap water and drink it with confidence. 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) and bisphenol F (BPF), which have also being implicated in causing hormonal damage to the body. Quill.com has a helpful post covering this topic and also offers suggestions for ways to optimally clean your water storage containers. I agree with their content with the exception of their recommendation of BPA free plastic containers for the reasons I just explained. Their blog can be reached here.

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, bioaccumulate over time, 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’s tissues 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!

Take time to 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.

Check out the following infographic from Quill.com for more guidance on storing and transporting your purified water!

If you have any questions or comments regarding this posting, please feel free to email me at rob@robbrownmd.com

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF): A Beginner’s Guide to Assessment and Remediation

Tech companies are flooding the marketplace with an abundance of wireless gadgets. Meanwhile, many health care practitioners around the world are raising the public’s awareness of the damaging health effects associated with chronic EMF exposure. This blog series is designed to help clarify some of these health effects and to recommend simple ways you can reduce your EMF exposure as much as possible. But where to start?

Bandwidths of EMF

To protect your health, and the health of your family, a systematic evaluation of your daily EMF exposure should be performed. Living spaces at home and in the workplace are important areas to study. Four categories of EMF should be evaluated.. These include:

  • Extremely low frequencies electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) 

These frequencies are generated by electrical wiring and appliances. Most are familiar with the potential danger of electrical and magnetic fields emanating from high tension power lines, but internal wiring within our home’s walls is a source of potentially harmful ELF-EMF.  This form of radiation can also infiltrate our homes through ground currents traveling via water pipes and even emanate from radiators! Although the intensity associated with ELF-EMF from internal wiring drops off over a relatively short distance, these fields have been implicated in sleep disturbances, especially when the head of the bed is positioned in front of an outlet and/or power cords.

  • Magnetic fields 

Magnetic waves are generated when current moves through wires and appliances. Turn on your blender or a hair dryer, and a strong transient magnetic field is produced. Some of us are exposed to constantly fluctuating magnetic fields generated by neighborhood power lines. Magnetic fields penetrate through windows and walls and vary in intensity with depending on local power consumption. Exposure to magnetic fields are becoming much more prevalent with the rapid implementation of electronic utility meters, such as the SMART meter. These devices report your usage data throughout the day and night to the utility company.

SMART meter

I have heard many people report that once a SMART meter had been applied to their house, their days of sound sleeping ended. I personally experienced a scary episode of uncontrolled hypertension which required hospitalization soon after a SMART meter was placed on my home. It was after the episode that I learned the old analogue meter had been recently removed and replaced by a SMART meter. I know two individuals who suffered atrial fibrillation requiring cardiac ablation after SMART meters were installed on the exterior of their home. Although the scientific community has not yet confirmed these cardiac associations, it has been reported that chronic exposure to high magnetic fields has been linked to an increase in neurodegenerative diseases including ALS and Parkinson’s disease  Ironically, magnetic fields are also being used to help treat Parkinson’s disease.

  • Dirty electricity

Generated from modern appliances, dirty electricity results from the common manipulation of the 60 Hz electrical current to run gadgets. Many appliances, dimmer switches, fluorescent lights, circuit breakers, and others cause surges and spikes of current, emitting radiofrequency EMF (RF-EMF).

  • RF-EMF

Microwave oven, smart appliances, wireless communication, cell phones, wifi routers, smart homes, Bluetooth devices, etc. are all examples of devices that produce RF fields. Microwave frequency (a subset of the RF band) has been shown to produce neuropsychiatric symptoms, including depression. 
 

The Engineering approach – Measure, eliminate, reduce, shield and remeasure again.

A complete EMF assessment requires the use of 4 different meters, each capable of detecting different bandwidths. A survey can be a complex task, especially as our environments become more infused with overlapping, concurrent frequencies. Although purchasing a detector or two will certainly help you become more aware of the presence or absence of some ambient EMF fields in your home, it may become necessary to hire a specialist, referred to as a building biologist, to come into your home to do an assessment and create a plan for remediation. 

Remediation 

With the aid of detectors, EMF fields can be measured and sourced. Afterwards, remediation techniques can be implemented. Methods of remediation vary depending on the frequency, location, and power of the source.

Typical methods for reducing EMF-ELF include unplugging appliances and turning off circuit breakers in the bedroom before sleep. Kill switches can be installed that not only turn off power to the bedroom but also disconnect the ground, removing any potential for dirty electricity to migrate into the bedroom. 

Magnetic fields from appliances such as alarm clock radios, which often emit strong magnetic fields, can be moved away from the bed, unplugged during sleep, or replaced by battery operated clocks. Magnetic fields emanating from electrical transmission lines cannot be remediated in most instances. Unfortunately, the only way to reduce exposure to these magnetic fields is to move further away from the wires.

Cleaning up dirty electricity may include the removal of appliances creating this contaminant or the installation of filters, such as Stetzer or Greenwave filters, or similar technology, plugging at least one filter into an outlet within each room of the home. 

The application of shielding fabrics, paints and window films help reduce RF from within your home as well as from neighbors and outdoor sources. People often joke about wearing a tinfoil hat to shield your brain from EMF. It is true that foil can reflect and deflect EMF. But seriously, shielding requires some know how, including suitable grounding, and should be done with the aid of a building biologist so that hot spots of concentrated EMF aren’t inadvertently created. A bed canopy composed of EMF shielding fabric, can be an effective way to eliminate RF exposure during sleep. 

After remediation, living areas should be reassessed to ensure that EMF intensity has diminished or been eliminated altogether.
 

Pendants, Crystals, etc.

There are many products on the market designed to ameliorate the symptoms and health effects of EMF. These products range from pendants and stickers containing various metals or circuitry to electrical devices that produce specialized EMF signals designed to lull the brain into a sense of calmness, improving sleep. I have experimented with several of these products over the years, but unfortunately, no peer reviewed studies have shown that the deleterious cellular effects of EMF are reduced by these gadgets. More concerning is that by improving anxiety, these products may provide a false sense of security that the phone or other wireless gadget is safer to use and result in greater EMF exposure thereby potentially increasing the risk of disease. A product that improves your sleep will be beneficial, but I believe the best way to reduce EMF related health risk is to limit and/or eliminate exposure.

Professional Contacts

Building biologists are specialty trained to address unhealthy indoor environments. From mold eradication to EMF detection and remediation, a building biologist can be a valuable resource. An EMF specialist will have detectors to measure each band of frequency, and will survey every room in your home. Following, they will prepare a detailed report and make suggestions as to how you can mitigate exposure. In rare and unfortunate instances, they may tell you to move! Some people hire a building biologist in addition to the usual home inspection team, to assess interior EMF levels before purchasing a new home. EMF is not something the usual home inspector will test for. The Building Biology Institute has a certification program for training biologists in the field of electromagnetic radiation assessment. Their database can be accessed here.

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