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Water Pollution: A Damaging Tide

Water pollution has been and is continuing to be a global crisis. Industrial wastes, plastic debris, and toxic chemicals contaminating our water supply and posing to be a serious threat to our environment and human health.

Industrial activities release harmful substances into our water sources, including heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents. These pollutants can contaminate drinking water supplies and have detrimental effects on human health, such as causing gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory problems, neurological impairments, even cancer.

In addition to industrial waste, plastic debris is a major contributor to water pollution. Single-use plastics like bottles, bags, and packaging materials end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they break down into microplastics and harm marine life. These tiny plastic particles can also enter the food chain and eventually make their way onto our plates.

Toxic chemicals further exacerbate the problem of water pollution. Pesticides, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals find their way into water bodies through runoff and improper disposal. These substances can disrupt aquatic ecosystems, harm aquatic plants and animals, and accumulate in the bodies of organisms, posing long-term risks to both wildlife and humans.

Impact on the Blood-Brain Barrier

Impact on the Blood-Brain Barrier

The Blood Brain Barrier is a semi-permeable membrane made up of blood vessels and tissues that is made up of closely spaced cells. This barrier main function is to protect the brain from harmful substances and filter out toxins.

1. Permeability Increase

Water pollutants can compromise the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, allowing harmful substances to enter the brain. Do to a increased degree and durations of systemic inflammation. This makes for the vascular BBB to be more permeable to solutes and increase lymphocytes. BBB compromise can lead to ischemic strokes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.

2. Neuroinflammation

Exposure to pollutants can trigger inflammatory responses in the brain, leading to long-term damage. A lot of water pollution cases have resulted in the increase of Parkinson’s within the areas affected. Environmental containments in water can lead to an increase in mitochondria dysfunction as well as disruption to the central nervous system. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5800103/

3. Cognitive Impairment

Contaminated water consumption can lead to an increase in the production of reactive oxygen and over time cause breakdown on the defense of antioxidants. This can lead to oxidative stress and cause abnormal brain function. Disruption of the blood-brain barrier can result in cognitive deficits, memory loss, and decreased brain function.

Sources of Contamination

Industrial Waste

Fracking has led to a concerning rate of water pollution from the gases or hydrocarbons that can be emitted during the process. Some to name are methane, ethane, and in some cases propane. These aren’t the only chemicals that can be contaminating from this form of gas extraction.

Agricultural Runoffs

Pesticides and fertilizers from fields and crops can tend to run off from wash out of rain fall and find its way into our crops and food supplies. Some livestock farms can also cause a increase in bacteria and animal waste in food products from their fields. Nitrate has been commonly found in water sources this is from the nitrogen fertilization.

Water Treating

Even when we are trying to improve and better out eater sources we could potentially be causing more harm than good. Methods of chlorinated water have been used to try and remove bacterial biofilm from water sources.

Disruption of the Nervous System

Neurotoxicity

Many water pollutants can act as neurotoxins, directly damaging nerve cells and disrupting signal transmission. Water in our nervous system is used as a communication to the body. When we increase our water intake it can help to increase memory, focus and attention span.

Developmental Delays

Exposure to pollutants during critical developmental stages can lead to neurological disorders and cognitive impairments. Learning disorders can stem from pollution of our children’s water. Studies have shown that gastrointestinal issues can occur from water pollution. When the gut is inflamed, leaky or at risk then the brain may be bi-directionally effected. These types of pollution intake can also cause endocrine disruption.

Endocrine Disruption

Certain water pollutants can interfere with the body’s endocrine system, affecting hormonal regulation and neurological function. Polluted water can contain Endocrine- Disrupter compounds which can be associated with the disruption of signaling androgen and development in male reproductive tract. This may cause complications with male reproduction and and fertility. Female effects may result in mensural cycle abnormalities, and altered hormone productions.

Water Source Contamination

Heavy Metal Toxicity

Lead can enter the water supply from the lead containing pipes that our drinking water flows through. When these pipes corrode or rust the water source can be directly affected. In Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s book Clinical Environmental Medicine, he talks on these toxicities and the studies. One study had shown that 4-6 million people in the United States were exposed to levels of lead exceeding the maximum contamination level (MCL).

Arsenic is another heavy matter for the water toxicity. Arsenic consumption from water sources showed an increase in preemies, very low birth weight and preterm births. Specific cancers (Bladder/Prostate) have also been associated to the ever lower end of arsenic contamination. Even in the low area arsenic population there was a study done in Colorado where lifetime exposure to the lower end levels of arsenic can cause an increase in coronary heart disease. Pesticides / Herbicides Chlorpyrifos is the most common insecticide sued on plants like corns and citrus.

This has been shown to run off of the agriculture and circulate back into drinking water supply. Chlorpyrifos have been studied and there has been a significant evidence to support that it may cause damage to the nervous system. Atrazine is another major herbicide, with its annual use at roughly 80 pounds. This specific herbicide is used for most wheat and corn products. Studies have shown that exposure to Atrazine may have effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.

Arsenic

The most common source of Arsenic in the United States is located within our groundwater. Arsenic is a metalloid that is found in our food, water, and air. Arsenic can be found inorganic and organic forms and although it may be a organic from there is still a lethal dose associated to this metalloid. Arsenic is absorbed well through the gastrointestinal tract as well as respiratory. Following the initial absorption it is then vastly distributed through the body and is recued to a new form called Arsenite (III), which is then methylated. Once the arsenite goes through methylation pathway it produces a monomethylarsonous acid (MMA). Passing through this pathway a second time will form a dimethylarsinic acid (DMA). DMA have exponentially higher toxicity levels when compared to MMA.

Both MMA and inorganic arsenic have been shown to cause elevated homocysteine levels, cellular and tissue damage stemming from oxidative stress.

Fish and rice have been shown to have the most abundant source of arsenic within our food. The arsenic comes from two main sources. The first source is natural events that occur whether its forest fire, erosion or volcanic activities. The second is made made error with pharmaceuticals, pesticides, electronic discharges, and detergents. Mining, fracking, and all the runoff of spraying crops have a large play in arsenic enter our water systems and food ecosystem. Fish are highly affected by arsenic and build up within respiratory, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, and neurological systems. The most common sites found from studies showed build up in vital organs, liver, kidney, and gils. These toxicants are known to exhibit their effects on a molecular or cellular level and are at higher risk for biochemical marker alterations. heavy metal pollution has also been known to effect carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids which are vital for building energy in the body.

If these changes are able to forms and occur within our fish do you think this might have an effect on our bodys as well?

Food for thought. Still safer to buy Wild Caught Organic opposed to Farm Raised

Microplastics in Bottled Water

Widespread Contamination

Studies have found microplastics in the majority of bottled water samples, raising concerns about their potential health impacts.

Bioaccumulation Potential

Microplastics can accumulate pollutants and toxins, potentially leading to their transfer and concentration in the human body.

Regulatory Challenges

There is a lack of consistent regulations and standards for microplastics in bottled water, making it difficult to address the issue.

Sustainability Concerns

The prevalence of microplastics in bottled water highlights the broader issue of plastic pollution and the need for sustainable solutions.
Exposure to Microplastics and Health Effects

Exposure to Microplastics and Health Effects

1. Ingestion Microplastics can be inadvertently consumed through contaminated food and water sources.

2. Absorption Microplastics can be absorbed into the bloodstream, potentially passing through the blood-brain barrier.

3. Potential Impacts Exposure to microplastics may lead to inflammation, cellular damage, and disruption of organ function.

Bioaccumulation of Pollutants in the Body

1. Intake – Pollutants are ingested or absorbed through contaminated water, food, or air in some cases directly into the blood streat from sweating in clothing with forever chemicals. That’s a topic for another day.

2. Accumulation –  Pollutants are stored in the body’s tissues, particularly in fat and organs. Leading to risk in endocrine, nervous, reproductive, developmental, and immune system suppression.

3. Biomagnification – Pollutants become more concentrated as they move up the food chain, posing greater health risks.

Home Hacks

Home Hacks

While you can buy bottled waters that have already been filter be cautious of the BPA present within some of these plastic bottles you purchase. It is best to buy water that is sourced in glass bottles or to filter your own water at home. Now this may be an additional monthly expense but, when your body is made up of 60% water you should probably make sure your sources are clean and thorough. Avoid using polycarbonate plastic water gallons, the same applies for food packaging. Avoid plastics and veer towards more sustainable glass products like mason jars.

Good filtration systems are not too hard to come by. If you were to look up water filter systems for at home more than 20 companies come up. Do your do diligence and research on which one you choose since they can be costly and may not always provide the best results you are looking for. There are many different filtration methods a few to name are microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. Basically the first 3 are different diameters for filtration 0.1, 0.01, 0.001 microns are the measurement of the filter hole.

Reverse osmosis reverses the flow of the water so that water will pass from more concentrated solutions to a more dilute solution through semi-permeable membrane. Reverse typically uses a 0.0001 micron for filtration removing anything from sodium, copper, chloride, lead and chromium. Has potential to reduce levels of arsenic, fluoride, radium, sulfate etc. This method of reverse osmosis is highly effective at removing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.

Other systems that have been found to be effective are distillation, ultraviolet, and water softeners.

Preventive Measures and Solutions

Recycling

Properly disposing of and recycling plastic waste can reduce microplastic pollution. In another term of recycling, we can recycle the water itself. Better known as water reclamation, we can reclaim water from sources and reuse them in agriculture, irrigation etc.

Water Treatment

Water Treatment

Investing in advanced water treatment technologies can help remove harmful pollutants. Filtration is a good method withoutnkh out chemicals and potential toxins entering the water system.
Regulation

Regulation

Stricter environmental regulations and enforcement can address the root causes of water pollution. In order to avoid consumption of water pollution it is best to know your water sources and what you are drinking or using.
Public Awareness

Public Awareness

Educating the public on the dangers of water pollution can encourage individual and collective action. Water pollution is able to reach anyone in their day to day life. We need to start to better educate on what it is doing to not only our water supply but, our foods as well.
Water Pllutions

Call to Action: Protecting Our Water, Safeguarding Our Health

Water pollution is a pressing global issue that requires urgent action. By addressing the root causes, implementing effective solutions, and raising public awareness, we can protect our precious water resources and safeguard the health of our communities and our future. Turn the tide on water pollution and build a wave for sustainable future. 

References

  1. Jacobs MN, Covaci A, Schepens P. Investigation of selected persistent organic pollutants in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), salmon aquaculture feed, and fish oil components of the feed. Environmental Science & Technology. 2002;36(13):2797-2805
  2. Datta S, Ghosh D, Saha DR, Bhattacharaya S, Mazumder S. Chronic exposure to low concentration of arsenic is immunotoxic to fish: Role of head kidney macrophages as biomarkers of arsenic toxicity to Clarias batrachus. Aquatic Toxicology. 2009;92(2):86-94
  3. Mondal K, Samanta S. A review on arsenic contamination in fresh water fishes of West Bengal. Journal of Global Biosciences. 2015;4(5):2369-2374
  4. Masuda H. Arsenic cycling in the Earthʼs crust and hydrosphere: Interaction between naturally occurring arsenic and human activities. Progress in Earth and Planetary Science. 2018;5(1):1-1. DOI: 10.1186/s40645-018-0224-3
  5. Jaishankar M, Tseten T, Anbalagan N, Mathew BB, Beeregowda KN. Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary Toxicology. 2014;7(2):60
  6. Lund U, Fobian A. Pollution of two soils by arsenic, chromium and copper, Denmark. Geoderma. 1991;49(1-2):83-103
  7. Challenger F. Biological methylation. Chemical Reviews. 1945;36(3):315-361 

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