Is Your Bathtub a Toxic Dump?

George Glasser and Andreas Schuld

The municipal water that your child drinks, bathes and plays in is a complex chemical mixture of dissolved minerals, contaminants and chemical additives. Chemicals are added to clarify the water, remove solid particulates and disinfect. And, when fluoride compounds are added to water supplies, polymers are added to inhibit corrosion of the water pipes.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. The EPA has concluded that the average person can absorb more contaminants from bathing and showering than from drinking polluted water.

Children are most at risk. Children’s bath times may range from 45 minutes to two hours. As the EPA acknowledged in a June 30, 1998 report, “Children have a greater surface-area-to-body-weight ratio than adults, which may lead to increased dermal absorption.”

Children’s tissues, organs and biological systems are still developing, with several stages of rapid growth and development occurring from infancy to adolescence. This rapid development, combined with the immaturity of body organs and systems, predisposes children to potentially more severe consequences within certain age ranges and windows of vulnerability.

Circulatory flow rates are generally higher in children, which may increase a child’s susceptibility to toxic effects. Despite these elevated risks, most toxicological data is based on occupational exposures for adults.

The Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) reports that the U.S. has seen “a worrisome increase” in childhood diseases that may be linked to chemicals in the environment. According to the CEHN, “The incidence of two types of childhood cancers has risen significantly over the past 15 years.” Acute lymphocytic leukemia is up 10 percent and brain tumors are up more than 30 percent. Learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders also appear to be increasing.

Toxins in the Bathwater

Depending on whether a child has eaten, or if there is residual food in the stomach, about 20-50 percent of chemical contaminants are metabolized when foods or beverages are consumed. With dermal exposure and inhalation, however, virtually 100 percent of the contaminants are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

As one EPA scientist put it, “a shower cubicle can be considered an ‘exposure chamber.’ Exposure to volatile contaminants absorbed via the lung would be about double the same amount from drinking water. In the bath, underarms [axilla], scrotal and vaginal areas as well as the groin absorb far greater amounts than in the normal unwashed forearm test.”

The percentages for absorption of parathion are as follows: scalp (32 percent), ear canal (46 percent), forehead (36 percent), plant of foot (13 percent), forearm (9 percent), palm (12 percent), and scrotum (100 percent).

A study by Julian Andelman, Professor of Water Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health (published in the May 1984 American Journal of Public Health), found less chemical exposure from drinking contaminated water than from using it to wash clothes or take a shower .

Studies done by Brown, Bishop and Rowan in the early 1980s showed that an average of 64 percent of the total dose of waterborne contaminants is absorbed through the skin.

A study by British researchers at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Sheffield published in the February 19, 2000 issue of Human Experimental Toxicology suggests that toxicants such as fluorides can be stored in the skin and released over a period of time.

A review of nearly 40,000 research papers listed on National Institutes of Health and other U.S. government Internet sites has failed to discover a single study addressing water fluoridation and dermal absorption.

All dosage recommendations developed by EPA are based on ingestion alone. The EPA and Centers for Disease Control have never commissioned studies on the dermal absorption of fluoridated water and refuse to do so.


Brushing Teeth with Toxic Sludge

The most popular fluoridation agent is fluorosilicic acid, a toxic by-product of phosphate fertilizer production.

On May 10, 1999, U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert, who serves on the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, asked the EPA to answer a simple question: “What chronic toxicity test data are there on sodium fluorosilicate? On hydrofluorosilicic acid?”

On June 23, 1999, EPA Assistant Administrator J. Charles Fox replied that the “EPA was not able to identify chronic studies for these chemicals.”

On September 5, 2000, in response to an inquiry from the U.S. House Committee on Science, EPA Assistant Administrator Charles Fox admitted “there are no water quality criteria for fluoride either for the protection of aquatic life or for the protection of human health.”

The EPA earlier confirmed that water fluoridation puts “at risk” 52 million older Americans with calcium, magnesium and vitamin C deficiencies. People with cardiovascular and kidney disorders also may experience severe “dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis” from excessive exposure to fluorides.

The health threat from using fluorosilicates to fluoridate drinking water goes beyond bathing and drinking the treated water. The substances in the fluorosilicates do not magically vanish. All the pollution released from washing clothes and household items, evaporation from clothes dryers and dishwashers remains in the home. Water fluoridated with phosphate scrubber liquor becomes a vehicle to carry hazardous air pollutants directly into your home.

While this secondary contamination of children from fluoridated water is significant, it has never been investigated by the EPA or the U.S. Public Health Service — although both agencies are aware that pollution scrubber liquor is being used to fluoridate municipal water supplies.

Because children spend their days close to floors, carpets, lawns, and soils, and frequently pick up objects and put them in their mouths, they may be exposed to higher levels of chemicals in and around the home.

Physicians for Social Responsibility has warned: “Small amounts of air or water pollution that may have little or no impact on a healthy adult, can make children, especially newborns, seriously ill.” PSR notes that children’s longer lives also make them “more vulnerable to slow-acting hazards, like pesticides and dioxins.”

The EPA admits that “there are no federal safety standards which are applicable to additives, including those for use in fluoridating drinking water.” Although the reality of children’s vulnerability to environmental toxicants has been acknowledged, little is being done to address the threat. Children don’t vote and parents are uninformed. Only a few voices have expressed concern, but those voices are quickly smothered by the sound of money changing hands.

Printed Originally in the  Earth Island Journal
June 5, 2001

Fair Use Statement

Rethinking Chlorinated Tap Water

by  Dr. Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc

Most people never give it a thought. After all, our elected public officials keep assuring us that chlorinated city tap water is completely safe for human consumption. Numerous scientific studies, however, report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation). This might explain why supplementation of the diet with essential fatty acids like flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium and others helps so many cases of eczema and dry skin.

Chlorinated water destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that help in the digestion of food and which protect the body from harmful pathogens. These bacteria are also responsible for the manufacture of several important vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin K. It is not uncommon for chronic digestive disorders as well as chronic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema to clear up or be significantly improved by switching to unchlorinated drinking water and supplementing the diet with lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus.

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Chlorinated water contains chemical compounds called trihalomethanes which are carcinogens resulting from the combination of chlorine with organic compounds in water. These chemicals, also known as organochlorides, do not degrade very well and are generally stored in the fatty tissues of the body (breast, other fatty areas, mothers’ milk, blood and semen). Organochlorides can cause mutations by altering DNA, suppress immune system function and interfere with the natural controls of cell growth.

Chlorine has been documented to aggravate asthma, especially in those children who make frequent use of chlorinated swimming pools. Several studies also link chlorine and chlorinated by-products to a greater incidence of bladder, breast and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma. One study even links the use of chlorinated tap water to congenital cardiac anomalies.

Anything you can do to filter tap and shower water that eliminates or even minimizes chlorine would certainly be helpful and possibly curative for some immune system problems. The use of at source water filtration devices is increasingly popular and affordable. Discuss their use with your health care practitioner.


Fackelmann, K.A., Hints of a chlorine-cancer connection. Science News, July 11, 1992;142:23.

Flaten, Trond Peter. Chlorination of drinking water and cancer incidence in Norway. International Journal of Epidemiology, 1992;21(1):6-15.

Messina, Virginia. Chlorine and cancer. Good Medicine, Winter 1994;8-9.

Morris, Robert D. Chlorination, Chlorination by-products and cancer. American Journal of Public Health, July 1992;82(7):955-963.

Rothery, S.P., et al. Hazards of chlorine to asthmatic patients. British Journal of General Practice, Jan, 1991;39.

Shaw, Gary M., et al. Chlorinated water exposures and congenital cardiac anomalies. Epidemiology, November 1991;2(6):459-460.


Fair Use Statement

Lesson from An Old Woman

by Hardly Waite


In the days just after the 9/11 events, when the President avowed that he had not a clue about “why they hate us,” I heard an old British woman, now a U.S. citizen, address the issue on an NPR call-in show.

She had a simple explanation.   “What Americans don’t understand,” she said, ” is how it sounds to the rest of the world when they brag constantly.  That’s the main thing that other nations notice about Americans. That they brag all the time.  What Americans need to do is stop bragging so much.”

After hearing her, I started to listen. I urge you to listen, too.  Try to imagine what it must sound like to our friends and foes alike to hear our current stable of arrogant politicians spewing constantly about how wonderful and superior America is and how terribly inadequate, weak,  and “evil” is the rest of the world by comparison.

And what’s really sad is that what most often passes for “patriotism” is nothing more than tasteless and unfounded boasting.


Dangers Of Chlorinated Water, May 22, 1998

Gazette Note: This article is from the outstanding online environmental newsletter, Rachel’s Environmental Newsletter. You can  read back issues at



There were just over 4 million live births in the U.S. in 1992 (4,065,000, to be exact), according to the STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 1997.[1] In addition to these live births, there were 30,000 fetal deaths in 1992, the most recent year for which we have data.[2] A fetal death is one that occurs after at least 20 weeks of gestation in the womb but prior to birth. In actuality, there were very likely more than 30,000 fetal deaths in 1992. The STATISTICAL ABSTRACT (table 124) says, “There is substantial evidence that not all fetal deaths for which reporting is required are reported.” In any case, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. in 1992 was 75.8 years,[3] so fetal deaths that year resulted in the loss of at least 30,000 x 75.8 = 2.27 million person-years of life. In addition, of course, many of these 30,000 fetal deaths precipitated a personal crisis for the parents.
In addition to fetal deaths, there are spontaneous abortions — pregnancies that terminate spontaneously before the end of the 20th week of gestation. These are far more common than fetal deaths, though the exact number is not known. Various studies estimate that spontaneous abortions occur in somewhere between 6.5% and 21% of all pregnancies.[4] Thus in 1992, there may have been at least 265,000 to 855,000 spontaneous abortions in the U.S.

Together, spontaneous abortions and fetal deaths are termed “miscarriages.”

Recent studies indicate that some miscarriages –as well as some serious birth defects –may be caused by the chlorine added to drinking water as a disinfectant.

In the U.S., chlorine is added to public drinking water supplies as a public health measure to kill harmful bacteria in the water. The added chlorine reacts with naturally-occurring organic matter in the raw water (chiefly humic and fulvic acids), creating a host of chlorinated chemicals as by-products. Health agencies, including the federal EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] simply ignore most of these by- products and know almost nothing about them. Instead, they focus on four by-products, allowing these four to act as surrogates for all the others. The four that EPA pays attention to are chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and chlorodibromomethane. Together, these four are called “trihalomethanes” or THMs. According to federal drinking water regulations, if a public water supply serving over 10,000 people contains more than 100 parts per billion (ppb) of total trihalomethanes, the water is unacceptable. However, since there are usually no other available sources of drinking water, EPA is usually not in a position to do anything except urge the water supplier to try to clean up its act.

A study by the California Department of Health published in March, 1998, tracked the drinking water consumption and the pregnancy outcomes of 5144 pregnant women in a prepaid health plan during the period 1989- 1991.[5] This was a prospective study –the drinking water consumption of the women was ascertained as soon as their pregnancy was registered in the study’s database. Later, the outcome of their pregnancy was compared with the amount of water they drank and the total amount of trihalomethanes they received by drinking water (information received from the water companies). The study found that 16% of women drinking 5 or more glasses of water per day containing more than 75 ppb THMs had miscarriages, whereas only 9.5% of women drinking less water, or water lower in THMs, had miscarriages. Thus among women with high exposure to THMs in drinking water, the likelihood of spontaneous abortion was 1.8 times as great as it was among women with low exposure. Furthermore, spontaneous abortion occurred, on average, a week earlier among women with high exposure (10.2 vs. 11.2 weeks of gestation). The strength of this study was its prospective nature; it did not rely on women to remember how much water they drank in the past.

To see if their results represented a real effect, the researchers compared women who filtered their water, or who let the water stand before drinking it, with women who drank it straight from the tap. (THMs are volatile and will slowly leave water that is allowed to stand.) The results were consistent with THMs causing spontaneous abortion.

In January of this year, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published a case-control study showing that serious birth defects –spina bifida, or neural tube defects –are associated with total trihalomethanes ingested in drinking water.[6] Neural tube defects are serious birth defects in which the spinal cord is not properly enclosed by bone.

This statewide study in New Jersey found a doubled risk of neural tube defects among those with the highest exposures to THMs in drinking water. This study pointed out that exposure to THMs can also occur through the contamination of indoor air. Flushing toilets, showering, and washing dishes and clothes, can inject THMs into household air, exposing residents.

A previous study of 75 New Jersey towns by Frank Bove had examined 80,938 live births and 594 fetal deaths that occurred during the period

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1985-1988. This study examined public water company records and compared pregnancy outcomes to the amounts of THMs delivered to the home in drinking water. It did not examine the amount of water ingested. The study found no relationship to fetal deaths, but the likelihood of neural tube defects was tripled by exposure to THMs at levels exceeding 80 parts per billion.

This study provoked a letter to the editor of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY,[8] in which the authors suggested a biological mechanism by which trihalomethanes might cause neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are known to be associated with vitamin B12 deficiency and the letter pointed to studies showing that vitamin B12 use by the body can be disrupted by chloroform, one of the four main trihalomethanes in chlorinated drinking water.

An even earlier case-control study reported on pregnancy outcomes among women who delivered babies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston during the years 1977-1980. Indicators of water quality were taken from public water supply companies. No data were available on the amount of water ingested. The water quality indicators were compared among 1039 cases of babies born with birth defects, 77 stillbirths, and 55 neonatal deaths (babies that died within a week of birth) vs. 1177 controls. Stillbirths were 2.6 times as common among women exposed to chlorinated surface water, compared to controls whose water was disinfected with chloramine instead of chlorine.[9]

More recently, a study of drinking water and pregnancy outcomes in central North Carolina reported a 2.8-fold increased likelihood of miscarriage among women in the highest exposure group for trihalomethanes in drinking water.[10]

Very recently, a second study from the California Department of Health has shown that, in one area of California, women who drank cold tap water had nearly a five-fold increased risk of miscarriage, compared to women who drank mostly bottled water very low in trihalomethanes.[11] Bottled water is often disinfected by a process called ozonation instead of chlorination. Bubbling ozone through water kills bacteria effectively, avoids the distinctive taste and odor of chlorine in the treated water, and produces no dangerous trihalomethanes. Many people buy bottled water simply to avoid the taste of chlorine.

U.S. EPA is currently setting new standards for trihalomethanes in drinking water. The new regulations would apply to all water companies, not just those serving 10,000 people or more, and they would limit total THMs to 80 ppb, down from the present 100 ppb.[12] Still, since several studies link trihalomethanes at 75 ppb or even less to increased miscarriages, EPA’s new standard seems dubious even before it has been established.

American water suppliers seem stuck on chlorination as the best way to disinfect drinking water. However, many European cities, and some Canadian cities, such as Ottawa, have long ago turned away from chlorination in favor of ozonation to disinfect their water. In recent years, a few smaller American cities have begun to use ozonation: Emporia, Kansas and Littleton, Massachusetts, for example. The Santa Clara Valley Water District in California has announced that it is switching to ozonation over the next 5 to 8 years, as has the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Still the vast majority of water supplies in the U.S. remain chlorinated. And water quality experts remain in the dark about trihalomethane levels in water delivered to customers. Kellyn S. Betts, writing in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY quotes the EPA official in charge of the new THM regulations saying no one knows how many U.S. water systems deliver water with THMs exceeding 75 ppb.[12] Betts says the American Waterworks Association confirmed for her the absence of data on THM levels in U.S. drinking water systems. The current reporting system only keeps track of water systems that exceed 100 ppb as an annual average.

Erik Olson, a water quality expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group in New York City, points out that THM levels in water supplies typically increase by as much as a factor of 1.5 to 2 during the summer months. And he says short-term exposures may be very important in producing some of the pregnancy outcomes reviewed here –spontaneous abortions, fetal deaths, and serious birth defects. “We may be totally overlooking the risk of short- term exposure,” Olson said.[12]

–Peter Montague (National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO)

Water–Are You Drinking Enough?

by Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior Editor

Here are some facts from a brief article in The Compleat Mother, one of our favorite magazines (#64, Winter, 2001).

  • In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  (It is likely that this applies as well to half the world’s population.)
  • Even mild dehydration slows down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.

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  • In a University of Washington study, a single glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters.
  • The #1 trigger of daytime fatigue is lack of water.
  • Research indicates that eight to ten glasses of water per day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  • A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  • Drinking five glasses of water per day decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%,  the risk of breast cancer by 75%, and the risk of bladder cancer by 50%.

Another authority says: “Water is also the best medicine, both inside and outside the body. The finest prevention for malaise (after an evening of excess consumption!) is a pint of water before bed.”

So, drink up!


Dr. Batman Thumbs His Nose at “Bad Cholesterol”


By Hardly Waite, Pure Water Gazette Senior News Analyst


 If all the primary ingredients are available for its normal functions, the human body does not engage in making things that are bad for its survival.–Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D. 

If there’s one thing medical science is incapable of, the late Dr. Robert Mendelsohn used to say, it is admitting that it doesn’t know something. That’s why every human ailment, real or imagined, very quickly gets a cause assigned to it.  Causes can change quickly and be replaced by more plausible and more profitable ones, but no disease goes long without its corresponding culpable germ or human foible to explain it. Lyme Disease, I am told, had 17 successive causes before a really good one was settled upon.  

Once a guilty microbe or lifestyle flaw gets assigned to a disease and thoroughly rooted into the public mind, there’s no way to change it. That’s because there quickly develops a powerful loop of self-interest that takes in the insurance industry, drug sellers, medical practitioners, university researchers, professional fundraisers, and even the victims and the would-be victims of the condition. Examples are  numerous. Polio and “AIDS” are the most obvious.   With “AIDS” we have an ill-defined disease caused by a fabricated virus and blown into a media-driven epidemic that has spawned a robust industry.  “AIDS, Inc.,” as researcher Jon Rappoport calls it. 

For a number of years one of the most sacred and seldom-challenged nuggets of medical dogma has been the idea that human heart ailments result from “bad cholesterol” and that heart disease can be kept in check by measuring this evil substance and controlling it through drugs. Although we vegetarians like to take comfort in the thought that it’s eating fatty flesh that causes human hearts and arteries to gum up and fail, I’ve never totally believed the cholesterol story. While there may be a correlation between cholesterol readings and the likelihood of having a heart attack, treating the cholesterol itself as if it were a disease is probably just one more example of the old medical strategy of shooting the messenger. Again, examples are numerous.  

Medical mythology, which is fond of depicting the human body as a war zone, makes good use of the metaphorical battle between the good and evil forces within us. On one hand, we have “good” cholesterol that is there to help us, but on the other is “bad cholesterol” that is as evil as the Demon Himself. This catchy concept grabs the public attention and is easily communicated to patients.  It gives the doctor something to treat with drugs, and lowering the amount of bad cholesterol while raising the good becomes the objective of treatment. 


This concept has not been without its detractors.  Back in the late 1960s, for example, Dr. Joseph Price put forth a very plausible alternative to the cholesterol theory in his interesting little book called Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine.  Dr. Price argued convincingly that heart disease was virtually unknown before the 20th century, although high-cholesterol food consumption certainly wasn’t. What was new in the 20th century, he pointed out, and what seems to parallel exactly the onset of heart problems as a major disease, is the practice of disinfecting public water supplies with chlorine. 

To prove his theory, Dr. Price did an experiment with chickens and seemed to prove that chickens who eat a diet containing oleo and lots of chlorine quickly develop heart problems, while chickens eating oleo without the chlorine don’t. Price himself cautioned that no conclusion should be generalized to humans from animal research.  But the theory and some of the evidence he presents are strong. Although an EPA scientist replicated some of his research and basically endorsed his findings, Price was totally ignored by the medical community.

A more recent alternative to the cholesterol theory has been presented by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, author of the popular and thought-provoking Your Body’s Many Cries for Water.While serving time as a political prisoner in an Iranian jail,  Dr. Batmanghelidj made some initial discoveries which led him to hold strong beliefs about the critical importance of water consumption.  He later applied his findings to heart disease as well a wide number of degenerative diseases, pains, and ailments–asthma and arthritis, for example. 

Regarding heart disease, Dr. Batmanghelidj takes the medical profession to task for ignoring the vital roles of cholesterol in the body, and he points out some obvious flaws in the cholesterol theory. “The pharmaceutical industry,” he says, “has capitalized on the slogan of ‘bad cholesterol’ and has produced toxic-to-the-body chemicals that minimally lower the level of cholesterol in the body and in the process cause liver damage to thousands of people, some who die as a result of using the medication.” 

Here’s how Dr. Batmanghelidj explains the cholesterol question: 

In truth, the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol is actually far more beneficial than is appreciated. The reason for its rise in the body is because of complications caused by chronic unintentional dehydration and insufficient urine production. Dehydration produces concentrated, acidic blood that becomes even more dehydrated during its passage through the lungs before reaching the heart–because of evaporation of water in the lungs during breathing. The membranes of the blood vessels of the heart and main arteries going up to the brain become vulnerable to the shearing pressure produced by the thicker, acidic blood. This shearing force of toxic blood causes abrasions and minute tears in the lining of the arteries that can peel off and cause embolisms of the brain, kidneys and other organs. To prevent the damaged blood vessel walls from peeling, low-density (so-called ‘bad’) cholesterol coats and covers up the abrasions and protects the underlying tissue like a waterproof bandage until the tissue heals.

Dr. Batmanghelidj says, therefore, that low-density cholesterol actually performs a life saving function by compensating for the effects of dehydration.  He continues: 

Cholesterol is an element from which many of our hormones are made. Vitamin D is made by the body from cholesterol in our skin that is exposed to sunlight. Cholesterol is used in the insulating membranes that cover our nerve systems. There is no such a thing as bad cholesterol. If all the primary ingredients are available for its normal functions, the human body does not engage in making things that are bad for its survival. Until now we did not know water was a vital nutrient that the body needed at all times–and in sufficient quantity. Water itself–not caffeinated beverages that further dehydrate–is a better cholesterol-lowering medication than any chemical on the market. It is absolutely safe and is not harmful to the body like the dangerous medications now used.

As you can guess, Dr. Batman’s treatment for heart disease has about as much chance for immediate acceptance by the medical establishment as the idea that “AIDS” isn’t a communicable disease caused by a virus. Imagine the headline: 


The AMA notwithstanding, you should take a long look at Dr. Batmanghelidj’s website, where you’ll find some pretty amazing information about the importance of drinking adequate amounts of water. It’s at   

And don’t forget Dr. Price’s advice about chlorine.  Actually the two go together, because people naturally drink much more water when it doesn’t have chlorine in it.  That’s a fact I’ve been observing in practice for a long time, so I was glad to find it described nicely by a genuine Kahuna.   Here’s how Lono Kahuna Kapua A’O describes the chlorine/water relationship in his book,Don’t Drink the Water (Without Reading this Book): 

Doctors and patients alike have a hard time understanding the problem of dehydration because the patient doesn’t feel thirsty. But it’s erroneous to assume that anyone who is dehydrated feels thirsty. That’s because thirst is a biological response subject to the influence of conditioning.  Humans instinctively dislike the taste of the chlorinated chemical beverage that passes for water in most places.  As a result, they learn to avoid drinking it, substituting flavored diuretic beverages like coffee, tea, soda and beer.  This causes even more water loss! Gradually, people who do this learn to turn off their thirst response and recognize thirst only when it is severe. That’s why those who drink water only when they feel thirsty are usually dehydrated! 

The Gazette urges you to find a source of pure, delicious, unchlorinated water and  drink copiously and  immoderately. 


The Press: Intellectual Prostitutes

by Hardly Waite

Responding to a toast to the “free press,” near the end of his career, John Swinton, former Chief of Staff of the New York Times, told an assembly of newsmen at the New York Press Club:

There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.

If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

When recently I heard a National “Public” Radio commentator deny that any content-limiting pressure whatever was imposed upon NPR personnel, I said: “Ha, Ha, Ha.”


Birdwatchers Must Be Protected from Chainsaw Huggers

By Tiger Tom 

I, Tiger Tom, wish to bring to your attention an imminent and serious economic threat.  It endangers the multi-billion dollar  birdwatching industry.  You may not know that birdwatching in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico generates $25 billion per year in hard cash and it employs over 60,000 people.  In economic clout,  it’s right up there with some of our major industries.  According to the New York Times, “bird watchers now spend more than  $25 billion a year on feed, binoculars, travel forays and high-tech innovations like winterized birdbaths and television ‘nest cams’ to track their plumed favorites from home or watch penguins caper live on the Internet.” There now is even a pro-birdwatching brand of coffee,  Under Cover Coffee, which is harvested without the stripping of bird habitats that usually goes with coffee farming.

Birdwatching, or birding as its enthusiasts call it,  is the fastest growing outdoor activity in America. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service,  the unobtrusive world of bird watchers and feeders now includes about one-fifth of the American population, more than 50 million people.  Birdwatchers outnumber hunters and fisherpeople combined. 

The great thing about birdwatching is that it exerts an overall positive rather than a negative impact on our world.  One writer calls it “a non-consumptive use of renewable resources.”  Its very existence, in fact, depends upon the protection of wetlands and wilderness.  Birdwatching thrives on conservation and its growth depends upon the preservation of biodiversity. It is very unique in that it thrives on conservation while almost everything else we do seems to depend upon destruction. 

I, Tiger Tom, say that the birding industry is far too important for the world economy for us to stand idly by and allow it to be endangered by irresponsible loggers, developers and other predators who are rapidly destroying the habitat of birds and in the process the economic well-being of this important industry.  I say that these chainsaw- and bulldozer-hugging vandals must be kept in check.  They are a menace to the thriving and essential birding industry.

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What is needed, of course, is a strong birdwatching lobby that comes out in force every time the chainsawers start looking at an old-growth forest with lustful eyes. Why is there no richly funded, hardball-playing National Birdwatching Industry Association to elicit public write-in/call-in campaigns when bird watching  jobs are threatened by clear-cutting and strip-mining special interests?  I, Tiger Tom, suggest that it is because birdwatchers are far too nice for their own good. While they are out quietly spying on robins or writing down finch or warbler observations,  the loggers are out there telling crude treehugger jokes,  goosing each other, and cutting. Always cutting. 

I, Tiger Tom, say that birdwatching is a vital part of the American economy and it needs protection from the bulldozer lovers.  To learn more about birdwatching, visit the Audubon Society website at  Also see the American Birding Association website at .









More B. Bea Sharper from the Archives of the Pure Water Gazette

Gazette Numerical Wizard B. B. Sharper Ferrets Out the Facts that Harper’s Misses

Average time it takes blood to complete a complete circulatory cycle among vertebrates: 10 to 30 seconds.

Average time for a complete circulatory cycle among many insects: 30 minutes.

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

The longest recorded flight of a chicken : 13 seconds.

Distance that the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II moves for each gallon of diesel that it burns: 6 inches.

Number of persons in two billion who will live to be 116 or older: 1.

Number of cows required to make enough leather for a year’s supply of NFL footballs: 3,000.

Percentage of people who use personals ads for dating that are already married: 35.

Percentage of total weight of the world’s humans as compared with the total weight of the world’s termites: 10%

Average speed of catsup leaving the bottle: 25 miles per year.

Percentage of Russian government income that comes from vodka sales: 10.

Number of muscles in a cat’s ear: 32.

Average number of people who choke to death each year on ballpoint pens: 100.

Gallons of water required to produce a pound of wheat: 25.

Gallons of water required to produce a pound of meat: 2,500.

Percentage of typing done by the average person’s left hand: 56%

Percentage of harmful organic waste water pollution attributable to humans: 10.

Percentage of harmful organic waste water pollution attributable to livestock: 90.

Average pounds of paper consumed per person each year in the United States: 560.

Average pounds of paper consumed per person each year in Nigeria: 7.

Number of possible ways to make change for a dollar: 293.

Estimated percentage of the generic diversity of the world’s 20 key food crops that has been lost in just the past 50 years: 75%.

Gallons of water required to produce a ton of paper from virgin wood pulp: 24,000.

Number of dimples on a regulation golf ball: 336.

Amount contributed to members of Congress in the period 1987-96 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: $1,422,434.

Amount received during the same period from meat industry lobbyists by Senator Phil Gramm of Texas: $611, 484.

Percentage of American grain that is fed to livestock: 70%.

Number of people in the U.S. killed each year by assault rifles: 250.

Number of people in the U.S. who die each year from cancer related to pesticides: 10,400.

Percentage of all pesticides used in the world that are used on cotton: 25%.

Average number of American soldiers who died per year during the 12 years of the Viet Nam War: 4,800.

Number of medical schools in the United States: 127.

Number of these schools that don’t offer even one course in basic nutrition: 102.

According to a Life magazine report, percentage of babies born to Gulf War veterans who have been born deformed: 67%.

Number of Americans who die prematurely each year because of alcohol abuse: 125,000.

Percentage of Britons opposed to Monsanto’s efforts to introduce genetically altered foods before the company staged an advertising blitz in 1998 to gain public support: 44%.

Percentage of Britons opposed to Monsanto’s efforts to introduce genetically altered foods after the 1998 advertising campaign: 51%.

Percentage of the American population that is made up by three out of four Americans: 75%.

Number of Americans who miss work each day because of digestive health problems: 200,000.

Approximate number of people on earth who have the same birthday as you: 9,000,000.

Number of bombs the United States has dropped on Iraq since 1990: Thousands.

Approximate cost of a single “smart bomb” dropped on Iraq: $1,100,000.

Number of year-long jobs paying $10 per hour that could be paid for by the price of a single bomb dropped on Iraq: 60.

Number of $10 meals that could have been purchased for the price of a single bomb dropped on Iraq: 1,000,000.

Number of four-year scholarships to a top private American university that could have been paid for by the cost of a single bomb dropped on Iraq: 10.

Number of computers that could have been bought for American schools for the cost of a single bomb dropped on Iraq: 1,000.

According to an audit commissioned by the EPA, percentage of violations to federal safe drinking water rules that are not reported: 88.

Percentage of Americans who believe that the sun revolves around the earth: 18%.

Percentage increase in American children aged two to four taking psychiatric drugs like Prozac and Ritalin between 1991 and 1995:  50%.

Percentage of these children who were 2-year-olds: 10%.


Read BB Sharper regularly in the Pure Water Occasional.

B. Bee Sharper’s First Series

Gazette Numerical Wizard B. B. Sharper Ferrets Out the Facts that Harper’s Misses


Editor’s Note:  Bee B. Sharper has been sharing numerical wisdom with Pure Water Gazette readers since the 1990s.  Reproduced below is B. Bea’s very first series.–Hardly Waite.

Maximum mcg per liter of mercury allowed by EPA in U.S. drinking water: 2.

Average mcg per liter of mercury found in saliva of persons with amalgam dental fillings: 100.

Number of people who die each year from side effects of prescription drugs: 180,000.

Annual U.S. expenditure on nuclear weapons (now that the Cold War is over): $30.000,000,000

Estimated number of bacteria that cohabit with the average adult human: lO,OOO,OOO,OOO,OOO,OOO (ten quadrillion).

By FDA estimates, the percentage of doctors who report adverse effects of vaccinations: 10%.

Amount already spent by 1997 by the medical establishment looking for weapons to combat HIV: $6,000,000,000.

Number of effective treatments that have resulted from this expenditure: O.

According to the Office of Technology Assessment, percentage of drugs that have no scientific proof of effectiveness: 95 %

Pounds you would have to gain after quitting smoking to equal the strain on your heart of a one-pack-a-day cigarette habit: 85.

Amount of tax money given to Dr. Michael Carey of LSU to study the effects of gunshot wounds to the heads of rats after his experiments in which 700 cats were shot in the head failed to yield any new findings in the field: $1,838,308,

Number of people–some of them mentally deficient children– used as unknowing subjects in U.5. government and university radiation-dosage experiments between 1945 and 1962: 210,OOO

Number of scientific articles published since 1984 that have addressed the link between ingesting cow’s milk (and milk-based infant formula) during the first several mouths of life and the subsequent development of insulin-dependent diabetes: 90+.

According to a Journal of Clinical Psychiatry article, percentage of nose-pickers who experience sexual stimulation from nose picking: 0.4%.

By Pure Water Gazette survey, the number of times the average American says “hopefully” each day: 374.3.

Except for the sentence above, number of the times the aforementioned bogus word has appeared in the Pure Water Gazette: 0

Number of years the Mississippi River could run on water that would result if the ice at the South Pole melted: 50,000.

Gallons of water emitted into the atmosphere daily by a full-grown tree: 70.

Gallons of water required to produce a typical dinner meal in the U.S.: 3,000.

Gallons of water required to produce the average Sunday newspaper: 150.

Number of companies that have signed PETA’s agreement never to test products on animals: 500.

Number of pumpkin pies baked each holiday season: 75,600,000

Average dollar amount spent on treating each AIDS patient: $119,000.

Percentage of girls who played high school sports in 1971: 4.

Percentage of girls who played high school sports in 1994: 33.

Number of AIDS cases projected by experts for 1995: 97,800.

Approximate total number of AIDS cases we would have had in 1995 if experts of the 1980s had been right: 8,000,000.

Approximate number of chucks that a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood: 17.

Gallons of milk drunk daily by a nursing blue whale calf: 130

Average pounds gained per hour by nursing blue whale calf: 8.5

Most kisses recorded in a single movie (John Barrymore in Don Juan): 191.

Longest kiss recorded in a movie (Jane Wyman and Regis Toomey in You’re in the Army Now, 1941): 3 min. 5 sec.

Percentage of staphylococci infections that were resistant to penicillin in 1960: 13%.

Percentage of staphylococci infections that were resistant to penicillin in 1987: 91 %.

Number of trees that must be cut down to produce a ton of newsprint: 24.

Number of typical trees that must be cut down to print a typical 1.8 million copies of a typical 3.5 pound Sunday issue of the New York Times: 75,600.

Length of time a person can be sustained by meat protein produced by a cow grazing on one acre of land for a year: 2.5 months.

Length of time a person can be sustained by soybean protein produced on the same land: 7 years.

Pounds of manure produced by the 101,000,000 cows, 58,000,000 pigs, and 7,000,000,000 chickens bred for slaughter in the U. S. each year: 32,000,000,000.

Pounds of this manure eventually making its way to American dinner tables recycled as flesh: ????.

Number of centenarians in the U.S. in 1990, according to the Census Bureau: 36,000.

Age at her death of Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, who recommended laughter as the key to living a long Iife: 123.

Gallons of water leaked in a month by a 1/8-inch hole: 108,000.

Approximate dollar cost of such a leak: $476.

Amount paid to date to Dr. Christopher Cunningham of Oregon Health Sciences University to arrive at his “break-through” finding that rats consume less alcohol when in a state of hypothermia: $1,343,129.

Pounds of non-degradable plastic toothbrushes estimated to be in U.S. Iandfills: 100,000,000.

Gallons of water used each year by an average U.S. washing machine: 15,597.

Gallons of water contained in the average thundercloud: 25,000,000.

Number of compounds discovered in a recent Mayo Clinic study that reduced the damage of strokes in laboratory animals: 25.

Number of these compounds that reduced the damage of strokes in human patients: 0.

According to the New York Times, percentage of money put into gumball machines to support the March of Dimes that is kept by the vending company: 85%.

Regular price of Pure Water Products Model 77 countertop water filter: $77.

Sale price of a comparable countertop filter recently advertised in Vegetarian Times magazine: $189.

Hourly wage of Haitian workers making Disney-licensed Pocahantas pajamas: $0.30.

Hourly wage equivalent of former Disney Corporation chairman Michael Eisner: $100,000.

Approximate annual income of the American Cancer Society: $400,000,000.

Approximate portion of that income that goes to pay staff salaries: 80%.

Number of people in the Los Angeles area hospitalized recently after eating chips made with the fake fat Olestra: 200.

According to a secret Frito-Lay study, percentage of Olestra users who experienced “anal oil leakage”: 9%.

Years required for nature to form one inch of topsoil: 200 to 1,000.

Percentage of doctors who belonged to the American Medical Association in the 1960s: 90%.

Percentage of doctors who belong the AMA in the late 1990s: 40%.

Percentage of cerebral palsy found by recent research breakthrough by Diana Schendel, Ph.D. to be preventable by simple magnesium supplementation during pregnancy: 63.

Percentage of mental retardation found by the same research to be preventable by magnesium supplementation: 49.

Percentage of this research funded by the March of Dimes, the wealthiest of the birth defects charities: 0.

Ratio of Americans who die each year in auto accidents to those who die from infections picked up in hospitals: 1:1.

Average number of seconds an American patient is allowed to speak before being interrupted by a doctor: 18.

Percentage of first-year medical students who believe a knowledge of nutrition is important to their career: 74.

Percentage of third-year medical students who believe this: 13.

Approximate number of people in the developing world who do not have access to a bare minimum of safe drinking water: 1,100,000,000.

Number of the world’s ten busiest McDonald’s franchises that are located in Russia or Hong Kong: 5.

Number of meals Bill Gates ate in Moscow on his 1998 trip that were not from McDonald’s: 0.

Chances that a person diagnosed with high blood pressure will have normal blood pressure when not at the doctor’s office: 1 in 4.

Average number of performance days lost per high-school football injury: 5.6.

Average number of performance days lost per high-school cheerleading injury: 28.8.

Total approximate weight in pounds of the collected components of a human’s immune system: 2.