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Fascinating Info on RO!
 
finallyfaith Views: 19,633
Published: 13 years ago
 
This is a reply to # 885,443

Fascinating Info on RO!


the more i look into RO the more i dont like it. this link says it can encourage bacteria growth due to the slow process, and he doesn't believe its very affective at removing fluoride.


http://onibasu.com/archives/cl/2742.html


RO is basically a filter with very small pores and water is forced
through
under pressure. It's a slow system, producing filtered water gradually
and
storing it in a tank. Here are the problems.

1) The filter material, which has _very_ small pores, allowing through
only
those molecules of atomic weight less that about 180 (water is 18), is
made
in a high tech process. There are two kinds, "Thin Film Composite"
(TFC)
and "Cellulose Acetate"/"Cellulose Tri-Acetate" (CA/CTA). The second
is
preferable on a techinical basis because it is not as easily degraded
by
chlorine as the first. Problem is that the process necessary to make
such a
thing involves the use of some nasty chemicals:

[From Lono Kahuna upua A'O's book "Don't Drink the Water", second
ed. 1998, ISBN 0-9628882-9-x]

A major question about RO systems using CA or CTA membranes
recently
surfaced through the research of Gene Shaparenko, owner of Aqua
Technology Water Stores, a company which manufactures distillers.
He
discovered that a chemical, known as 1,4,dioxane, is applied to the
cellulosic materials of which CA or CTA membranes are made.
[reported in
_The South Valley Times_, article "Lifelines", Apr 1990] Its
purpose is
to etch the small pores in the material through which the water is
filtered. 1,4 dioxane is a colorless solvent which mixes easily
with
water. It is known to be extremely toxic when inhaled or absorbed
by
skin contact. It is ranked alongside asbestos, benzene, carbon
tetrachloride, DDT, formaldehyde, msutard, gas, PCBs, TCE, and
vinyl
chloride in the State of California's Toxic Chemical List.

According to Mr. Shaparenko, no one at the state or federal level
of
government seems to know that this chemical has been routinely used
to
manufacture membranes which are used to "purify" water. Nor does
anyone
seem to know just how much of the chemical leaches into the
finished
water product, or how many gallons it takes to effectively purge
the
chemical, if indeed, it is purged at all.

This is a major concern, because the vast majority of RO systems
sold for
residential use have employed CTA membranes. Not only are they
cheper
than TFC membranes, but resistant to chlorine, and most residential
customers are on chlorinated water supplies...

He may want to know this. I am not clear what the manufacturing
process is
for the TFC membranes, but they have been around longer and they may
have
been more closely inspected for their manufacturing methods. If he
switches
to TFC then he will need to put in a prefilter to remove the chlorine
so the
TFC filter does not get degraded.

2) Another quote from the same book:

According to a study published in Canada by Canadian virologists,
[Pierre
Payment, Eduardo Franco, Lesley Richardson, and Jack Siemiatyci,
"Gastrointestinal Health Effects Associated with the Consumption of
Drinking Water Produced by Point-of-use Domestic Reverse osmosis
Filtration Units," "Applied and Environmental Microbiology," Vol.
57,
no. 4, April 1991, pp. 943-948.] it was discovered that RO systems
have a
penchant for growing bacteria, apparently because the finished
water is
devoid of chlorine and it takes so long to be made. Because the
water
sits stagnant at room temperature, sometimes for days, RO systems
become
an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, which can double their
populations
every 20 minutes or so. In their study of many types of RO
systems, the
virologists measured an average of 10,000 bacteria per millileter
of
water - 20 times the accepted level for city tap water. About a
third
of filters produced water with more that 100,000 bacteria per ml,
or 200
times more than average tap water. Some bred up to 10 million
bacteria
per ml!

The study went on to further demonstrate that, because of this
contamination (which occurs because bacteria contaminating the end
of the
dispensing faucet can be "sucked back" into the storage reservoir),
people who drink RO water suffer 10 times the number of bouts of
gastroenteritis as people who drink tap water.

The book's suggestion, if one has an RO system, is to replace CA/CTA
membranes by TFC membranes, put a prefilter like what is known as
"KDF" to
get rid of the chlorine, and add an ultra violet unit between the
storage
tank and the water dispensing faucet to kill the bacteria, and he even
suggests a carbon post-filter between the RO unit and the storage
tank.

Now, I have not looked into the manufacturing process used to make these
KDF
filters, so I don't know that they don't use something nasty too, but the
little I know so far, it seems like it might be ok (it's apparently just
a
zinc-copper alloy). Also the carbon filters include "Activated",
"Catalytic-Activated" and some of the "Catalytic-Activated" are
impregnated by
silver nitrate to keep bacteria from growing. This latter is also
poisonous
and to be avoided. I am not clear on the maufacturing process for other
"Catalytic-Activated" filters. Even the merely "Activated" ones are made
by
some sort of steam process starting from wood, coal or petroleum
products.
Those three get more distasteful as you do down the line. [Added for
this message:
Or coconut fibers - probably what we should go for.]

[Also I had a note about the availability of a] small KDF filter for
shower to get rid of the chlorine [29 bucks at HomeFocusCatalog.com, part
number 1181128, 800-624-2112 and supposedly it lasts for a year]. I'm
also
showering in cold so that I don't inhale the steam which contains all
kinds of
chlorine byproducts and fluorine (along with a whole list of others that
I
won't bother with here).

----------

CONCLUSION:

One more point on exposure. The EPA has standard methods to test
exposure to a pollutant in water. Accoring to those standard
calculations, 60% of our exposure comes through drinking the water and a
full 40% comes from a) showering (skin absorption and inhallation of
steam) and b) absorbing the pollutant through the skin which is in
contact with cloths washed in the water. Since I cant figure out how to
get the fluoride out of the water, I have taken the following measures:

1) I get my drinking water from a well tested spring. I use it to
drink, cook and wash my vegetables.

2) I get water from a well that is dependable and which I use to bathe (I
heat it on the stove, like the good old days) and wash my cloths (by
hand, it's not hard).

Nobody said that this was going to be easy!

In solidarity!
Dev.
 

 
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