Showing posts with label water safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water safety. Show all posts

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stay Safe at Summer Outings


From the beach and ballgames to barbecues and pool parties, the warm summer weather means lots of fun outdoor activities for you and your family. Ensure you and your loved ones stay safe this summer by following a few simple guidelines.



GENERAL SUMMER SAFETY

Based on a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham,

  • Always wear sunscreen if you’re attending an outdoor event. Bring sunscreen along to reapply during the day.
  • A hat may come in handy, too.
  • Have a well-packed first-aid kit handy. Be sure to include: An assortment of bandages, Tylenol, Benadryl, aspirin, hydrocortisone cream, alcohol wipes, cleaning agents, and any other supplies that might be necessary for your family.
  • Bring water with you to keep you and your family members well hydrated.
  • Pack rain ponchos for pop-up summer storms.

The Environment

  • Bug bites, sunburn, heat stroke, and heat rash are just a few of the concerns that accompany the warmer weather.
  •  Use insect repellent with DEET to ward off nasty bug bites. Follow manufacturer recommendations for use on young children.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats to help protect from the elements.
  • Carry an EpiPen for those allergic to bee stings.
  • Be sure to check for ticks, any sign of bug bites, or rashes such as poison ivy after your outing.


Food

  •  Bring a cooler for food items that need to be kept in colder temps, such as those containing mayonnaise or other perishable ingredients (see this previous blog post).
  •   Consume food from concession stands in moderation. This article cautions that high-calorie foods such as French fries and hotdogs and sugar-sweetened soda are not the best food choices for your family on a regular basis.
  • Pack foods such as fresh fruit, veggie slices, and cheese to snack on throughout the day.
  •   Bring your own food items for family members who suffer from food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities

Physical Safety

  • Teach your children the “heads up” warning for fly balls at ballgames, on the golf course, or at the park.
  • Water safety should be taught at an early age.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, with most drownings occurring in home swimming pools.
  • Always use life jackets when around water. Experts warn that air-filled or foam toys or devices do not protect from drowning or injury.
  • Institute the “buddy system” around water. No one should ever swim alone, regardless of age.

Greater awareness, proper supplies, and being proactive can alleviate injuries and accidents from putting a damper on your summer outings. Enjoy a safe summer season, and have fun creating great memories that will last a lifetime!


Be Wize & Be Healthy
- FamilyWize

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is There Danger Lurking in Your Tap Water?


According to Unicef, lack of access to clean water kills children at a rate equal to a deadly jumbo jet crashing every four hours.  You may be thinking, “Thank goodness, that’s not something I need to worry about here in the U.S.!”

But hold on a sec; before you assume your own tap water supply is safe, don’t forget there may be real risks in your own water supply – risks that don’t make the evening news but that could make you sick.

Common problems with tap water additives

Fluoride in water – good or bad?
We all know the reasons that municipalities add fluoride to water supplies; as we’ve been told for decades, the fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.  But is fluoride served up via tap water safe for us? Doubt grows in the scientific and healthcare communities. Here’s why:
  • Fluoride is naturally dangerous to humans, only considered safe in miniscule quantities. But when it reaches us by tap water supply, the amount we consume is controlled by the amount of exposure we have to fluoridated water. Not only do people drink different amounts of water, but we get it in other beverages, in foods, and in fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouth rinses, which can add up.
  • We are also being exposed externally to fluoride when we are bathing, showering, or doing dishes.  Long-term exposure to higher levels may cause skeletal fluorosis: a buildup of fluoride in the bones, which can lead to joint stiffness and pain, or even to weak bones or fractures in older adults. Some reports show that up to 41 percent of American children between 12 and 15 have some form of dental fluorosis.
  • A 2012 Harvard study confirmed several dangers from fluoride, including neurotoxicity, negative impacts on memory and learning, and adverse affects on cognitive development in children.
  • The ADA reports a connection between fluoridation and cancer.
  • The US National Toxicology Program found evidence of fluoridated drinking water causing osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
  • As many as 25 studies indicate that fluoride can reduce your IQ.

While not all study results agree, enough show evidence of risk that it’s becoming increasingly hard to disregard the concerns.

Chlorine – added for your good, but also presenting health risks

To protect drinking water from disease-causing organisms, water suppliers often add chlorine to drinking water. But is it safe?

Not all Contaminants purified at the plant

Drugs get through municipal water treatment

An Associated Press investigation found a number of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.

According to the report, these can end up in your tap water because most treatment plants are not capable of removing all drug residue. When we take pills our bodies absorb some of the drugs, but the rest passes through and is flushed down the toilet. Even though the wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes, the treatment doesn’t catch all the contaminates, which can then end up back at drinking water treatment plants.

Pipes between water treatment plants and your faucet

Even if you’ve got a state-of-art water treatment facility in your community, the water passes through great distances in pipes before it reaches your tap.

  • Does your home have copper pipes?  Studies show that copper pipes can be a risk to your health. Excess copper in your body can produce stomach or intestinal distress.  And if you have the genetic disorder Wilson’s disease, you are even more sensitive to the effects of copper.  Newer pipes present the greatest risk because, over time, mineral scale linings will coat the copper pipes, reducing copper dissolution in water. But the mineral lining can take years to form.  Read more about copper health risks from the EPA.
  • If you don’t have copper pipes, you may still be at risk if there are any pipes between the water plant and your home with lead.  The EPA says lead is often used in household plumbing materials and water service lines. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder.  Lead health risks include delays in physical and mental development and measurable deficits in attention span and learning abilities in babies and children. In adults, it can increase blood pressure or cause kidney problems.

Other Water Contamination Issues

Other tap water contamination issues include:

Solutions to Avoid Tap Water Risks

With so many known potential dangers within your tap water, here are actions you can take to protect you and your family:
  • Bottled water. While bottled water reduces risk, its problems include high cost and the pollution impact of the discarded bottle.
  • Water supply services. Though not as cheap as tap water, getting large jugs of water from a local supplier is cheaper than small bottles and produces less waste. Be aware that water has a shelf life, and can develop mold over time.
  • Purify your tap water. A simple carbon-based water filter, though not able to remove all contaminants, will absorb chlorine and other contaminants. A more expensive reverse osmosis filter in your home is much more effective at contamination removal.  Both types require maintenance to stay functional.
To summarize, before you think that unsafe drinking water is someone else’s problem, do your homework. Consider getting a home test kit, or employ one of the straight tap water alternatives above to be safe.


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer