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    Which Water Is Causing Your Chronic Disease? Filtered, Tap, Bottled or Spring Water?

    Are You Drinking Disease-Causing Toxins? Search the EWG Database for Your City

    One half of all Americans are unknowingly drinking toxins like lead, radon, radium 226, chloroform and asbestos, even though municipal water sources are making public knowledge of these tap water contaminants on the EWG website.

    But it’s not just tap water that we need to look at. We have to consider the consequences of all the sources of water that people are consuming before we can decide on the healthiest options. Before I get into those details lower down in this post – I do want to give some healthy options in case you want to jump straight to the solution!

    Top 4 Healthiest Drinking Water Sources

    Despite the toxic contaminants in most sources of drinking water, there are healthy options:

    This is a long post with a lot of technical information, so for those of you who want to know right up front which sources of water I use and believe to be the healthiest, here you go:

    1. Fresh Spring Water gathered at the source and tested with 2 separate home water tests. Test 1 & Test 2 I would also test for Radon. You can find reliable and well-used springs on
    2. Filtered Tap Water from a Berkey Filter with the fluoride/arsenic filter OR a Zen Water Systems Alkaline Filter. The Berkey filter takes all minerals out of the water, which can lead to other health issues, so only use this filter if your diet is extremely rich with trace minerals and you are supplementing.
    3. Well Water. Only after testing with 2 separate home water tests. Test 1 & Test 2 I would also test for Radon. This water usually retains many natural trace minerals.
    4. Reverse Osmosis. This method of filtration takes all of the minerals out of the water, so proceed with caution. Only use this filter is you have a diet that is extremely rich in trace minerals and you are supplementing.

    Now, read on the find out how I came to these conclusions…

    which water is causing your chronic disease? bottled, tap, filtered or spring

    Is Tap Water Ruining Your Health?

    Sorry to sound so bleak, but this is quite serious…

    Access to a treated water supply is apparently the single most determinant in public health. We have made global progress with creating reliable and “safe” water supplies, but “safe” means different things to different people…

    Questionable Sources Of Tap Water:

    City water, or tap water, comes from different sources including rivers, lakes, rainwater runoff, snowmelt, and aquifers. This water ends up sitting around for weeks and months in holding areas. These holding areas are not completely protected from rain water, sunlight, wildlife, outside air, environmental pollutants, bacteria, virus and fungus, and corrosion of the holding and transportation containers, among other variables that contribute to the contamination of municipal water.

    Disinfecting Agents: 

    Tap water must be disinfected to make sure it is “safe” for human consumption. In order to produce this kind of “safe” water, carcinogenic disinfecting chemicals including chlorine are added to remove bacteria. When chlorine mixes with organic compounds in water, it forms chloroform, a cancer-causing carcinogen.

    Environmental Toxins:

    Tap water is also periodically tested for toxic chemicals including lead, asbestos, arsenic, formaldehyde and aluminum. Unfortunately, not all toxic chemicals are required to be tested for, and when toxic chemicals are found in drinking water, nothing is done to remove them. See what’s in your drinking water by searching your zip code on this EWG site. An alarming number of pollutants exceed the health limits, and trihalomethanes actually EXCEED THE LEGAL LIMIT in Los Angeles. This is my home tap water. This is why I do not drink from Los Angeles Department of Power and Water.

    Disturbing Truth About Tap Water:

    Toxic chemicals often times don’t cause immediate death or illness. They do cause delayed-onset, chronic disease (Remember Erin Brockovich?), which is hard to trace back to an invisible toxin found in your water supply.

    Here are two examples of toxic chemicals that are poisoning 50% of Americans through their water supply:


    Lead has been detected in 39 states’ drinking water, and affects 101,369,947 people’s drinking supply (that’s approximately one third of the population of the U.S.A.).

    To learn more about how lead gets into drinking water look at this EWG article.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for lead in drinking water of zero.

    Health Concerns for Lead include Spontaneous abortion, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Cancer, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Persistence and bioaccumulation, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Neurotoxicity, Occupational hazards, Endocrine disruption, Ecotoxicology, Enhanced skin absorption.”

    For more information about the health risks of lead, look at this EWG article.


    Chloroform has been detected in 41 states’ drinking water and affects 191,326,649 people’s drinking supply (that’s approximately one half the population of the U.S.A.).

    “Chloroform is a carcinogenic pollutant that forms when disinfection agents such as chlorine and chloramine react with organic matter in drinking water sources and in wastewater treatment (Richardson 2007; International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2008b).

    Health Concerns for Chloroform: In humans chloroform is known to cause nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, kidney damage, liver damage, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, increased dreaming, impaired memory, and anorexia. In animals, chloroform is known to cause infertility, birth defects and cancer (ATSDR 1997b; Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) 2001b).”

    Lead and Chloroform stats come from the EWG website These are only two toxins out of hundreds listed on the site.


    Unfortunately, Bottled Water Is Not The Answer

    You may be thinking that you are fine since you avoid tap water by buying your own bottled water. However, bottled water is not the solution. Here are three reasons why we should never buy bottled water again:

    Environmental Harm:

    Americans discard an average of 2.5 million bottles per hour. I know, that statistic sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous, but it’s the current reality. Plastic bottles cause wildlife death, water pollution, wildlife hormone imbalance, energy consumption, etc. It’s time to stop purchasing products that come in plastic, including water. The only time I ever use plastic bottles anymore is if I am stuck in a situation where I need water for urgent medical reasons and I don’t have any other option. I will also use reclaimed plastic bottles from family and friends to collect spring water. I’ve given up all branded beverages that come in plastic bottles. (CORRECTION from the video: 2.5 million, not 25 million plastic water bottles. Still a ridiculous number.)


    Plastic chemicals leach from the bottle itself into the water. These plastic chemicals (BPA is only one of them) are estrogen-mimicking and are causing these problems in humans: breast and cervical cancer, prostate cancer, stubborn fat deposits, and “gender bender” effects like “man-boobs,” among many others.

    In addition to the plastic contamination, there are other toxins in bottled water. “NRDC undertook a four-year, detailed investigation to evaluate the quality of bottled water…through three leading independent laboratories, we conducted “snapshot” testing of more than 1,000 bottles of water sold under 103 brand names.

    What NRDC has found is in some cases reassuring and in others genuinely troubling…

    The independent labs that conducted testing for NRDC found high levels of heterotrophic-plate-count bacteria in some samples, and in a few cases coliform bacteria… The labs also found that some samples contained arsenic (a carcinogen) and synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs, i.e., man-made chemicals containing hydrogen and carbon), such as those contained in gasoline or used in industry. SOCs found included the probable human carcinogen phthalate (likely from the plastic water bottles), and trihalomethanes (cancer-causing by-products of water chlorination, which have been associated with birth defects and spontaneous abortions when found in tap water at high levels).[3b]”

    Here is the full report of the NRDC.


    Bottled water can get expensive after awhile. If you are using the average amount of water for drinking and cooking used in the Take Back Your Health™ Lifestyle, which is about 1 gallon per day, you are going to end up spending about $350 annually on bottled water at $1/gallon…and that’s a modest estimate. You could get a good-quality filter and a few reusable water bottles for the same cost.

    Is Filtered Water The Answer?

    Some filters are a good alternative to tap and bottled water. I report on those below. Sadly, some are not effective and can be a waste of your money. Check out the reviews below…

    Reverse Osmosis:

    Yes, experts do say that reverse osmosis water is devoid of trace minerals and so it is not the healthiest filtered water. However, I approve of it as one source of healthy water because it is FREE FROM TOXINS. I use reverse osmosis water occasionally. If you are eating a nutrient-dense Take Back Your Health™ Diet, you are getting a lot of trace minerals from food. You can also take a trace mineral supplement. I don’t drink reverse osmosis all the time. When I’m traveling or don’t have time to collect spring water, I will find a reverse osmosis water store and bring my water bottles to fill up. The one nearest my house costs $.30/gallon.

    Alkaline Water:

    There are so many different kinds of alkaline water filters that it is difficult to make a generalized statement here. I will say that this kind of water filter system remains largely a mystery to me. As far as I can tell, an alkaline system utilizes a water filter and then adds trace minerals in to alkalize the water. The source, purity and overall safety of those trace minerals will always remain a concern for me. The efficacy of the water filter being used in each individual system is also a concern.

    I have also been unable to notice any difference in the way I feel when I drink alkaline water exclusively for several weeks. Perhaps I was using a filter that was not the best quality. I have met people who say that it has done wonders. However, they were also making other lifestyle changes simultaneously.

    Alkaline filters can also be very expensive.

    Despite all of that, if it speaks to you, I would recommend the Zen Water Systems Alkaline Gravity Filter. It is actually affordable ($60-$90) and removes almost 100% of common toxic elements found in tap water. So those two aspects right there knock away three of my four major concerns about alkaline water filters. You can read the full efficacy report on this filter here.

    Berkey Filter:

    A Berkey Filter is the most effective gravity water filter on the market that I’ve been able to find. It removes 100% of lead, copper, arsenic, cadmium, uranium, mercury and strontium. It is an investment of about $350, but again, that is what you would be spending on bottled water in one year if you went that route. You can read more about the Berkey filter lab results here. This is the model of Berkey filter that I recommend: Berkey Water Filter System w/ 2 Black and 2 Fluoride/Arsenic Filters.


    This is something that old-school naturopaths seem to recommend to me a lot. I’ve never been a fan of it because of the intensive process used to create it, and then the fact that it needs to be bottled in plastic (because distillation machines are not accessible to the average homeowner). Although it is free from toxins, I think there are better options available.

    Brita Filter:

    This filter is actually one of the worst performing household water filters on the market. According to one study, it actually increased aluminum content by 33%, while decreasing lead and arsenic content by only 14% and 12%, respectively. You can read the full report here. Brita is also expensive, especially for a product that underperforms. The Brita website recommends changing the filter after every 40 gallons. Again, someone living the Take Back Your Health™ Lifestyle and using filtered water for drinking and cooking should be using approx. 1 gallon/day. That means you should change your filter about once per month. With an average cost of $6-$11/filter, that’s $60-$110/year. For a family of 4, that’s $240-$440/year. I’d rather pay a little more for a more effective filter and reap the health benefits.

    Yes, there are other filters on the market, however my goal with this post was not to review every water filter available. I only reviewed the most popular and recommended filters that I have come across in my studies.


    collecting spring water at duarte springs

    How About Fresh Spring Water?

    Finally, we come to my preferred drinking water. I’ll address your concerns first, then the health benefits below…

    The three biggest concerns I’ve heard about using spring water are 1) the time it takes to go gather the water, 2) the potential for bacterial contamination and 3) the potential for environmental toxin contamination.

    All of those are valid concerns, so I want to address them here:


    If you don’t have the time or energy to gather spring water, then you don’t. Choose another water source. However, make sure you have asked around the elders in your community – there may be a spring closer to home than you realize. Also, gathering spring water can become a valuable outdoor family activity. Make a day trip out of it! Lastly, there are also groups that have met on that share water gathering duties. Comment on a comment thread below a spring listed in your area with your contact info and people will start to connect with you to make plans.


    If you’re concerned about bacterial contamination, follow proper spring water gathering procedures. Only gather from a spring where other people drinking that water can validate the safety of the water. Also, never gather from anywhere except where the water is directly exiting the earth. You want to avoid agricultural areas where spring water could be contaminated with farm manure runoff. Also, never gather within 24 hours after a light rainfall and 2-3 days after intense rainfall. If there was a rare bacteria that got into the spring, to me, a few days of a stomach bug sounds better than chronic low-dose lead and chloroform poisoning. But again, that’s just me. The more you consume spring water, the stronger your immune system will be. You’ll also take in beneficial probiotics from the earth and soil.


    If you’re concerned about pesticide or toxin contamination, perform these home water tests on the spring water before consuming: Test 1 & Test 2. I would also test for Radon.


    duarte springs

    Six Benefits of Fresh Spring Water

    Naturally Filtered and Mineral-Rich:

    The water is filtered through the earth’s natural sediments and natural “carbon filters.” As a result, it contains naturally occurring essential trace minerals and probiotics. Spring water has traveled through the entire water cycle and has been filtered through the layers of earth’s sediment two times – once on the way down to the aquifers – and once on the way back up to the surface of the earth.


    Most springs on are found on public land. They are not privately owned, and therefore, you can gather as much spring water as you’d like. You should also ask around your community. It wasn’t that long ago that our grandparents were also gathering water from local springs.

    More Hydrating:

    The H2O molecules in spring water are clumped into smaller clusters than the H2O molecules of tap water. They are also charged negatively from the physical connection with the grounding energies of the earth. These two factors combine to make spring water more hydrating (easier for our cells to absorb) than any other kind of filtered or processed water.


    Consuming spring water instead of bottle or tap water is a more sustainable option. It is respectful of the earth’s natural flow of water. The cycle of water on planet earth is fascinating – from evaporation, to condensation, to rainfall, to absorption into the earth and filtration through sediment, to the flow through underground rivers and lakes – it all works together to create a thriving planet.


    Outdoor Time:

    Just the fact that you will be required to spend some time outside, walking and moving around in order to gather the water, is a benefit in itself.

    Naturally free from estrogen-mimicking chemicals:

    These chemicals are impossible to remove with a filter, except for the reverse osmosis filter. Some charcoal carbon filter manufacturers claim that their filters remove estrogens, but I was unable to find and independent studies to prove this.

    My Top 4 Recommended Drinking Water Sources

    So, after all of that research, I’ve come to a conclusion: There are a few different ways you can get healthy drinking water. This is good news because you can choose the one that works with your health concerns, budget and lifestyle. Take a look and find one that suits you!

    1. Fresh Spring Water gathered at the source and tested with 2 separate home water tests. Test 1 & Test 2 I would also test for Radon. You can find reliable and well-used springs on
    2. Filtered Tap Water from a Berkey Filter with the fluoride/arsenic filter OR a Zen Water Systems Alkaline Filter. The Berkey filter takes all minerals out of the water, which can lead to other health issues, so only use this filter if your diet is extremely rich with trace minerals and you are supplementing.
    3. Well Water. Only after testing with 2 separate home water tests. Test 1 & Test 2 I would also test for Radon. This water usually retains many natural trace minerals.
    4. Reverse Osmosis. This method of filtration takes all of the minerals out of the water, so proceed with caution. Only use this filter is you have a diet that is extremely rich in trace minerals and you are supplementing.

    I realize that testing your water may sound overwhelming. Think of it as a very important step in taking back your health. You only have to do it once. It takes about 30 minutes and once it’s over, it will be over!

    Did this post trigger more questions about healthy drinking water? Email me at to set up a consultation.


    Keep taking back your health,

    9 Responses to Which Water Is Causing Your Chronic Disease? Filtered, Tap, Bottled or Spring Water?

    1. Laura December 12, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

      Robin, thank you so much for bringing attention to this topic. It has been weighing on my mind a lot as I have heavy metal toxicity and need to chelate without replacing these toxins as soon as I fill up my reusable water bottle. I sincerely appreciate your straightforward and realistic recommendations – you address people’s concerns for time, money and energy. I was overwhelmed by the different options available, so I didn’t make any decision at all. I now know exactly which filter to purchase now and which one I will save up for in the future! Thanks again for all you do, and keep up the amazing, healing work. Happy holidays to you and your family!

    2. Cafini Z December 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      Hi Robin, Thanks for this informative post! Ionized, alkaline and structured waters are simply man made versions of spring water. That makes sense to me why you felt no difference when drinking alkaline water, as you’d already essentially been drinking it. For urbanites & suburbanites who depend on public transportation or are somewhat “allergic” to nature (there are people like that unfortunately), having a machine provide negatively charged, micro-molecule, clean water with trace minerals right in their home is the best bet. The convenience can also help cut down on plastic bottle use. Thanks again! I’m sharing your article with tap devotees I love for sure!

    3. Harper Campbell August 9, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

      It’s interesting to know that when it comes to drinking spring water, that there are different benefits that can come from doing so. I like how you pointed out that it is more sustainable for not just me, but for the earth as well, since it is a natural flow of water. Personally, I like being able to do simple things to help make the world a little greener and what not.

      • Robin Shirley August 24, 2017 at 4:54 am #

        Thanks Harper! I am really passionate about not wasting the clean water that is flowing up from the springs, ready for us to drink! We don’t necessarily need to be pulling it out of the ground before it’s filtered properly, if there’s spring water already bubbling up! My thoughts, anyways! 🙂


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