The Water We Drink: Water Quality and Its Effects on Health

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"Water, which most of us take for granted, sustains life but can also make us sick or even kill us. This straightforward and serious book gives to this neglected resource its appropriate priority. The Water We Drink speaks authoritatively to what will be the twenty-first century's top resource." --William Reilly, former administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Did you know that
. . . about one-quarter of the bottled water sold in the United States originates from ordinary municipal water sources or wells?
. . . clean, non disease-producing drinking water is a relatively new phenomenon? It has been around for only one hundred years.
. . . in the past fifty years, average sperm counts have been dropping, and that part of the reason for this can be traced back to contaminants in drinking water?

We all drink water and water-based fluids, yet most of us take water for granted. We assume that when we turn on the tap to fill our glass, bathtub, or washing machine, clean water will flow. But is it really safe? And if not, what can we do about it? The Water We Drink provides readers with practical information on the health issues relating to water quality and suggests ways we can improved the quality and safety of our drinking water.

The Water We Drink begins with a review of the history of water, disease, and sanitation. The authors then examine health issues relating to drinking water, including infectious diseases, cancer risks, and the effects of mineral and heavy metal content. They look at the benefits and risks of bottled waters and of water purification systems currently available to consumers. A helpful glossary of terms, as well as a bibliography of additional agencies, books, and Web sites to consult for more information on drinking water and health, is also provided.

Dr. Joshua I. Barzilay is in the division of endocrinology of the Southeast Permanente Medical Group and a faculty member at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Winkler G. Weinberg is chief of infectious diseases for the Southeast Permanente Medical Group and the author of No Germs Allowed!: How To Avoid Infectious Diseases at Home and on the Road (Rutgers University Press). Dr. J. William Eley is an associate professor at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University.

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Editorial Reviews

Unlike many books on environmental topics for the general public, this book does not appear to have been written for ideological purposes. It contains up-to-date material not commonly found in books of this kind. It is suitable for readers concerned about the nation's water quality and, especially, about the quality of the water they drink.
Library Journal
Drinking and bathing in water are risky activities. The authors of this book, medical doctors specializing in endocrinology and infectious diseases, demonstrate how current water purification methods control health risks but do not eliminate them--a theme they develop by providing a wide range of current information on water quality within a historical context. Featured are summaries of drinking water contaminants and their known health effects, a review of purification technologies for public and private supplies, including bottled water, and a discussion of government regulations. However, the range of potential contaminants discussed does not always mirror current public debate. For example, although controversies such as the possible contribution of aluminum in drinking water to the incidence of Alzheimer's disease are reviewed, and although fluoridation of public water supplies is discussed, the controversy over the potential health effects of fluoridation is not mentioned. Despite this quibble, The Water We Drink is a useful guide for the educated consumer who wishes to safeguard his or her health. For all public libraries.--Noemie Maxwell Vassilakis, Seattle Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Three physicians warn readers that neither tap water<-->even filtered<-->nor bottled water can be assumed to be pure and safe. They catalogue the contaminants that are often found in drinking water and their deleterious health effects. They also suggest methods for making water safer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813526720
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 General Information
1 A Brief History of Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Disease 7
2 The Modern Era of Drinking Water Regulation 16
3 Drinking Water Sources, Treatment, Safety, and Conservation 23
Pt. 2 Drinking Water and Disease
4 Drinking Water and Infectious Diseases 41
5 Drinking Water and the Risk of Cancer 60
6 Drinking Water, Estrogens, and Fertility 78
7 The Effects of Drinking Water's Mineral Content on Health 90
8 Heavy Metal Content of Drinking Water and Its Effects on Health 105
Pt. 3 Drinking Water and the Consumer
9 Bottled Water 121
10 Water Purification 128
Conclusion 137
Appendices 139
Glossary 147
Bibliography 153
Index 173
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