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Water is life: Drink and live

Step Up interns

by Abigail Abby Samuel, Kristian Nordland, Elhan Abdullahi Jama, Asha Ali Hussein, Kristian Herrera Amigon, Angela Yareli Collazo, Ismael Castro, Abdinasir Jama: Cultural Wellness Center Backyard Community Health Hub STEP-UP interns 

The human body is made up of 60% water. The longest a human can go without water is only 3 days! That’s how important water is. 

Not only does it help you survive, but it also offers a lot of benefits for your body. Water helps our physical shape, helps us exercise, and helps our brain function. Water is one of the most important substances on earth. All plants and animals must have water to survive. If there was no water, there would be no life on earth. This is daunting to think about and why we say water is life, so drink up and live.

Apart from drinking it to survive, people have many other uses for water. Water delivers important nutrients to all our cells, especially our muscle cells, postponing muscle fatigue and helping us lose weight and flushing toxins from our body. Water protects your many tissues, especially your spinal cord and joints. If you do not consume enough water, magnesium, and fiber, you may be more likely to experience constipation. Water even helps fight off illness.

As you can see, water is vital to the body’s performance. It is important to replenish this water as the body loses it through breathing, sweating, and digesting. The kidneys, liver, and intestines use water to flush out waste and to dissolve substances like fibers. Saliva is water-based and essential to breaking down food. The body is 75% water when we are born and decreases over time to about 60%.

Not drinking water can be fatal. The first consequence is dehydration, which causes headache, thirst, and dry mouth. As the dehydration grows more severe, fatigue, confusion, dizziness and chest pain can set in. Water is needed to provide oxygen to your body, as well as preventing a change in electrolytes. This can lead to a chemical imbalance in your body, impacting your brain and your heart’s rhythm. Painful stomach ulcers can also be caused by dehydration.

Drinking too much water is possible, as well. 

Overhydration can lead to water intoxication, which is when the electrolytes in your body like salt become too diluted. Death from this is rare, but still possible. This process starts when your body has more water than your kidneys can remove, and too much water collects in your bloodstream. Retaining water is when your body can’t remove water correctly.

The average adult is recommended to drink 9-13 cups of water (78-100 ounces) a day, but this can vary due to sex, age, weather, activity level, and health. If it’s hot, you have a fever, or are very active, you will need more water. While there is no formula for the perfect amount of water, urine that is a pale-yellow color resembling lemonade is an indicator of a healthy amount of water intake.

We highly recommend drinking tap water instead of bottle, which is cheaper in the long run. When you buy water, it is like paying twice. Aside from the financial impact on your budget for bottle water, we think about the plastic.  The long-term effects of plastic on the environment is why we highly recommend tap water instead of bottled water.

The plastic accumulating in the ocean and waterways in the environment can get to be catastrophic for marine life, like your favorite sea turtle or pelican from Nemo.

It can even be fatal as ingesting plastics can cause choking, intestinal blockage, and starvation.

There are more than 300 million tons of plastic that will be produced yearly, and while plastics can be multifunctional and lasts decades, many plastics manufactured now are single-use that will last in landfills for centuries, and not all plastic containers are recycled. The chemicals in the plastic can alter hormones or have other effects when ingested by humans. Floating plastic waste that has a lifespan of thousands of years can transport invasive species that screw up habitats. Plastic buried deep in landfills can leech harmful chemicals into groundwater. BPA found in these plastics can contribute to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.  The more you reuse your plastic bottle, the more likely your will pass on dangerous bacteria to your system. There are many out there that refill their plastic bottles from fountains or water coolers.

Think about this, in the United States alone, we go through 50 billion plastic water bottles per year. Bottled water isn’t always clean even though it is said bottle water is cleaned at 36 times, most of the time it is just tap water.  Researchers found bottled variety is subject to far less stringent safety tests than tap water and is much more likely to be contaminated or become a source of infection. Tap water is a better choice than bottled water because tap water is regulated by government standards.

In our conclusion, we strongly encourage tap water. It is a better choice than bottled water, it is the healthier, and a more economic choice.

ADDITIONAL WATER FACTS & SOURCES

Where does tap water in Minneapolis come from?

Tap water from Minneapolis comes from the Mississippi River. https://www.premierwatermn.com/water-quality/city-water/minneapolis/.

How often does it get tested?

Tap water is tested roughly every year in the twin cities. http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/publicworks/water/water_plant_why.

Is water safer in different parts of Minneapolis?

There is no specific research that other places in Minneapolis are dangerous, but it is proven that tap water in Minneapolis is safer than any other city in Minnesota. http://rethinkyourdrink.minneapolismn.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Minneapolis-tap-water_tips-and-facts-sheet.pdf.

Where does bottled water come from?

About 55 percent of bottled water in the US is spring water and comes from natural hot springs. The other 45 percent comes from a water plant facility which is the same water that comes from your faucet. www.bottledwater.com

How often is bottled water tested?

 Bottled water is tested 36 times more than tap. The FDA is allowed to test water at any time, since bottled water is considered a packaged food. However, there is no scheduled testing. The FDA inspects water facilities annually.

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