[Greenbuilding] $25 Radon Test + ETR Health Scan RE: Water Softener Filters

Antonioli Dan solardan26 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 4 18:19:09 MST 2015


Carmine, 

We have an independent well and it’s not regulated by any health departments. I had a comprehensive water analysis conducted by an independent lab and they did in fact test for heavy metals. 

Coincidentally, one of my tenants used to work at the local water district and he gave me a break down of the test results and concluded that the water was safe but could be improved. The well is shared with my 90-year-old neighbor and she’s been drinking the water since 1959. 

Dan




On Feb 4, 2015, at 2:39 PM, Carmine Vasile <gfx-ch at msn.com> wrote:

> Dear Dan: Regarding this request "But back to the health issue. I’m looking for solid research and not anecdotal tales of horror", if your water is as bad as you claim, it' probably worse because local health departments will not test for heavy metals & radionuclides in private wells. 
>      You should ask your doctor to order a provoked urine test because ordinary blood test will not show dangerous levels of Lead, Manganese, Beryllium, Cadmium, Copper, Arsenic, Thallium, Mercury, Thorium, Uranium, Cesium, etc.
>      You should also purchase a Health Scan like that described in the WSC Press Release @ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/water-systems-council-partners-with-etr-laboratories-to-offer-25-discount-on-health-scan-water-well-testing-kit-272550411.html. 
>       Be sure to opt for the $25 dollar test for Radon gas, because you may be surprised to learn most high-priced RO systems like WateRx, RainSoft, Mermaid, etc. will pass Radon gas after removing its decay metallic products like those shown @ www.nist.gov/pml/general/curie/images/radondecay_1.gif, for longest lived Radon gas (Rn-222).
> False Claims by Filter Manufacturers
> 
>      A friend of mine has a $3,500 whole-house WateRx Model WH5. It failed to remove 135 pCi/L of Radon, according to ETR test results on a sample taken 10/29/14.  Another friend has two homes, one in Peconic, NY equipped with a Mermaid filtration system; another in Naples, FL equipped with a RainSoft system. Each cost over $7,000, yet passed  395 & 495 pCi/L of Rn-222, according to ETR test results on samples taken on 10/2/14 & 11/20/14, respectively.  
>       Few people know Rn-222 dissolved in water continues to produce Polonium-218 after leaving any filtration system -- unless its first removed by an aeration system capable of dropping it to 5 pCi/L.
> The graph @ http://www.gfxtechnology.com/F3.gif shows Vermont set an action level of 5 pCi/L in order to prevent total Alpha activity from exceeding 15 pCi/L in water contaminated by only Rn-222.
> The graph @ http://www.gfxtechnology.com/F4.gif shows what will happen if Congress allows the EPA to set an alternative MCL of 4,000 pCi/L. (These graphs are linked to http://gfxtechnology.com/Po.html.
> Recent Examples
> 
>       After years of battling my local water company, on November 12, 2014 I paid $25 to have my public water supply tested for Radon by ETR. As feared, the sample contained 387 pCi/L --- 77 times Vermont's action level of 5 pCi/L. This means our water entering our house every day also has 387 pCi/L of Po-218, Pb-214, Bi-214 & Po-214 + about 0.19 pCi/L of Pb-210, Bi-210 & Po-210. Pb-210 has the highest cancer risk factor of all Gamma emitters; about half that of its Granddaughter, Po-210. 
>       Therefore, every 100 gallons of water sold to us contains about 0.9 picograms of Rn-222. Nearby homes with large families using over 300 gallons per day are receiving over 1 nanograms of Po-210.
>       To put this into perspective "In 1968, the American Tobacco Company began a secret research effort to find out. Using precision analytic techniques, the researchers found that smokers inhale an average of about .04 picocuries of polonium 210 per cigarette." ["Puffing on Polonium", by Robert N. Proctor, NY Times 12/1/06 @ www.nytimes.com/2006/12/01/opinion/01proctor.html?_r=0]
> If Proctor is right, 100,000 gallons of water has the same amount of Po-210 as 25,000 cigarettes, yet the U.S. EPA excluded Radon from its Radionuclides Rule of 1976. Why?
>  
> Best regards,
> Dr. Carmine F. Vasile 
> From: solardan26 at gmail.com
> Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2015 18:42:49 -0800
> To: greenbuilding at lists.bioenergylists.org
> Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Water Softener Filters
> John and Rob, 
>  
> Let me clarify more about the well water composition and how the system I use works. 
>  
> First off, it is well water and has a lot of sediment, very high iron and manganese content, and has been a problem with the sediment and staining. The sediment collects inside toilet bowls and has to be cleaned out about once a year. The iron is so thick that it stains everything and has even clogged some of the smaller point-of-use filters we’ve used over the years. As is, the water is drinkable but doesn’t taste good so we all use a variety of filters for drinking water. 
>  
> The water has wreaked havoc on the plumbing, the washing machine, and the solar thermal panels. Overall not the best water in the world. 
>  
> The Water Right Sanitizer Plus is a “water softener” that can use either potassium chloride or sodium chloride. The filter medium itself is configured based on the water analysis you send the company. 
>  
> I don’t know how the older systems that Rob refers to work, but the calculations he offers seems like a “one size fits all” calc that does not apply to the filter we now use. 
>  
> The amount of potassium chloride the filter uses is based on the hardness of the water. The harder the water, the more potassium chloride needed to clean the filter. Since the well water “hardness” rating was only 63 mg/l it’s considered “medium” by our local lab, so it’s neither “hard” or “soft.” And that means that the amount of potassium chloride used is less than water that is rated as “hard” or “very hard.” Water Right explained the amount of K used this way.
>  
> The intake of potassium from the consumption of drinking-water treated with a water softener using
> potassium chloride will vary depending on the level of hardness in the source water.
>  Assuming that a 100% potassium chloride-regenerated water softener releases 14 mg
> of potassium ions per liter in water with a hardness of 17 mg of calcium carbonate per
> liter, the amount of potassium released in 1 liter of drinking-water can be calculated
> for different hardness levels.
> (Health Canada, 2008).
>  
> 63 / 17 3.17  X 14 + K per /L   51.9 is your added K to the drinking water
> The amount of K added to the drinking water is 51.9 mg/L  not much.
>  
> As my original post for this thread was about the health issues associated with using potassium chloride, this addresses the issue. But it also means that compared to harder water, the filter doesn’t have to work as hard and won’t use as much potassium chloride. Thus, the bi-weekly backwash coming out of our filter won’t have as much K in it as other filters performing more work.
>  
> Although K is a salt, it’s not as “harmful” to the environment as sodium and won’t kill plants. In our case we’re lucky in that we have plumbed the backwash directly into a branch-drain greywater system that feeds a mulch-basin filled with hard and soft wood chips and is thriving with fungi and mycelium. Mushrooms are known to form waxy substances over salt crystals and we’ll be measuring this in future months to see what’s going on in that environment. 
>  
> This and the greywater from the laundry and outdoor kitchen will dilute the backwash. If the fruit trees die from the backwash then we’ll certainly have learned something, but before that happens I think regular monitoring and testing will be in order. 
>  
> A system that backwashes and cleans the filter medium is the way to go unless you want to use more conventional filters and replace them on a very regular basis. This is time consuming, expensive, and if you forget to do it would result in the kinds of strains on the pump and overall system that Rob was referring to. They might make sense for filtering municipal water where much of the work has already been done at the factory, but for well water like what we have it’s not a sensible way to go. 
>  
> So far so good! The water is clean, tastes better, we don’t need to use point-of-use filters, we use less soap, everyone enjoys showering and bathing more, and because we have a greywater system there is no waste. 
>  
> But back to the health issue. I’m looking for solid research and not anecdotal tales of horror. The Canadian study referenced above is thus far the only one mentioned and it’s limited to people with specific medical conditions that, again, would restrict their diet. No more bananas for these folks. That doesn’t make a water softener bad for consumption. 
>  
> The more I research water the more amusing it gets. RO systems are considered the best of the best by some medical experts, but others claim that because the water is “stripped” of all minerals that the water “flushes all the minerals out of your body” and you need to take mineral supplements. I’d like to see some research on that claim! The same is said of drinking too much rainwater.
>  
> At this juncture in my research, I don’t think there’s a single type of water delivered from any source, natural or otherwise, that someone won’t criticize as having negative health effects. If anyone can find that type and source of water please share.
>  
> Dan Antonioli
>  
> On Feb 1, 2015, at 12:34 PM, John Salmen <terrain at shaw.ca> wrote:
>  
> Would agree and did the same thing, i.e. nothing (25 or so years ago). Water softeners do require additional water (5-10%?) as well as the sodium (which is now good for you again - though not for the septic as it can reduce bacteria as well as reduce soil permeability). Basic thing is the minerals in hard water are good for you and its just dumb to mess with water too much. The one downside is inevitable clogging of supplies and piping which I am now trying to figure out how best to deal with.
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greenbuilding [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of RT
> Sent: February-01-15 9:50 AM
> To: Green Building
> Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Water Softener Filters
> 
> On Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:38:36 -0500, Antonioli Dan <solardan26 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> Has anyone ever heard of water softeners using potassium chloride or 
> sodium chloride having negative health effects?
> 
> I have an application where I installed one on a well and everyone but 
> one person thinks it’s great.
> 
> I'm afraid I don't recall whether it was mentioned if the house is connected to municipal infrastructure or is on a well/private septic system so I don't know if my comments will have any relevance to the query.
> 
> My home is in a rural area and all of the wells are drilled in rock which is at or very near the surface, depths of the wells ranging from about 6 metres to 360 metres or more (~20 to 1200+ ft).
> 
> If one looks at the blast rock or rock cuts where roads have been built here, iron oxide staining is usually evident.
> 
> That is to say, the water in this area is obviously very hard and has a high iron content to boot.
> 
> I made a decision to NOT install a water softener nor an iron filter when I built (about 30 years ago) simply because:
> 
>             (i) I didn't want my household to be subjected to drinking water with
>             elevated salt content, potentially exposing them to heart & kidney health
>           issues and
> 
>             (ii) I didn't think that it made sense to be polluting perfectly potable
>                         well water with salt and then dumping that brine into the groundwater system,
>            contributing to compromised water quality and
> 
>             (iii) I didn't think that it made sense to unnecessarily consume extra
>                         energy and water to remove minerals that are essential/beneficial to health
>                         -- the very same minerals that many people try to put back into their bodies by eating high iron/calcium foods or taking supplement tablets .
> 
> Shortly after I built, there was a housing "boom" in this area-- a result of the hi-tech sector in its prime, Kanata being "Silicon Valley North" back then, and there was a proliferation of "rural estate" subdivisions built from cash-ins of lucrative stock options or cash-outs of small nascent companies being sold to bigger fish etc.
> 
> Most of the "new" households were people who moved out here from the city, and it seems they had the same expectations for their well water that they experienced in the city so water softeners and iron filters were de rigueur.
> 
> So there was a large number of homes in the same area all built within a few years of each other.
> 
> Starting at about the 8 year mark, I started noticing that many households were experiencing failures of their well equipment, usually starting with the pressure tank and then followed by the well pump shortly thereafter. I found it curious because I had lived in rural locales pretty much all of my adult life and failures of well equipment that "new" was rare.
> 
> Then at about the 18- 20 year mark, many households were having to replace their septic fields. Back when those septic fields were constructed it was before the advent of peat filter systems so all the septic fields were of the raised filter media type, necessary because of the shallow-to-non-existent soil overburden in this area. Such systems were more expensive to build initially and 20 years later, the replacement cost had almost doubled.
> 
> Even if the cost of replacing well equipment and repairing plumbing flood damage every 8-10 years and replacing septic fields every 20 years isn't problematic, not having running water for a day or more while well equipment is replaced is a pretty big PITA. (I refuse to use bottled water. I think that it's ridiculous
> 
> All of the households that experienced premature failures of well equipment and septic fields were homes where water softeners were installed. In the rural communities where I had lived previously, the households were family farms and water softeners were pretty much unheard of, as were short-lived well equipment and septic systems.
> 
> My *guess* is that the extra demands placed on well equipment and septic systems (ie higher volumes of water pumped and dumped due to backwashing
> requirements) played a significant role in their premature demise.
> 
> But specifically in relation to KCl vs NaCl salt, we know that potassium is highly desirable as a fertiliser. It's the third number on all store-bought fertiliser packaging.
> 
> So while dumping potassium into the groundwater system may not be as obviously harmful to water quality as is dumping sodium, it does contribute to nutrient pollution of water systems which ultimately has a deleterious effect on all living things, not just we up-right bipeds.
> 
> 
> --
> === * ===
> Rob Tom            ADT1
> Kanata, Ontario, Canada
>  

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