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Our Water is Only Sometimes Clean

614now Staff

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Back in 2010 the Environment America Research and Policy Center published a study that listed the Ohio River as the most highly polluted river in the nation. Four years later, Toledo experienced an intense algae bloom that left 400,000 people without drinking water, only for it to happen again last year.

There are a number of reasons that polluted waterways happen – some organic, some by human fault. For the Ohio and Muskingum River in 2010, it was AK Steel Corps. that took a toxic, over 29 thousand pound dump in the river, according to Environment America.

The algae bloom, according to a Mother Jones article, was due to fertilizer runoff, a common problem among corn belt states. The toxic algae bloom both in 2014 and 2015 exceeded the city’s limits and residents were warned to use bottled water for everything, even washing the dishes. Symptoms from those who used the water could range from nausea to liver damage. Their water might as well have been aged moonshine mixed with battery acid. Don’t even think about bathing your baby with that stuff.

Ohio’s not the only state flunking their water safety exams, there are countless others with major rivers and waterways that hydrate their citizens. In May 2015, Obama finally succeeded in making a new law that would give the federal government control of waterway pollution. This law spelled relief for towns like Toledo and Ohio citizens alike. I mean the Cuyahoga river did catch on fire – there’s even a beer named after it.

Like always though, big industry likes to butt in because safer waterways endanger their rights as multibillion dollar companies. According to Environment America, polluters in the federal appeals court blocked the full implementation of the new waterways protections, jeopardizing the continued safety of our waterways.

This isn’t the first time they’ve done that though, as Environment America reports, polluting companies have been fighting government against the Clean Water Act since it was implemented 40 years ago. Not to mention that a report came out in Feb. 2016 that 10 out of 14 Ohio Water systems failed to signal the presence of lead.

So what the hell does that mean for us? In a conversation with an Ohio Public Safety public affairs officer, we were told that waterway emergencies are the most they can manage. They are there 100% within a few hours of an emergency, but nipping an emergency in the bud before it even starts is the bigger problem.

Spokesperson of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Heidi Griesmr, said that the EPA has invested billions into the prevention of waterway emergencies and improvement of response systems. Gov. Kasich signed House Bill 512, that, among many things, required water systems to alert their customers within two days of a lead warning, as apposed to the national rule which is within 60 days. Additionally the bill gives 12 million dollars in grants to identify lead in the waterways, and water systems are required to identify their lead service pipelines.

Along with the preventive measures that the state has managed, Griesmr suggests for the public to stay alert and check for water safety warnings ahead of time, such as checking the EPA or Ohio Department of Health websites for E. coli  issues in recreational bodies of water before taking a swim.

This isn’t a pressing issue, but we tend to forget about it — perhaps ironically so since we absolutely need water to survive. Our state government responds to emergencies and that’s as much as they can control, but it’s important to stay vigilant of waterways news because it inherently affects everyday living.

Have you had any issues with your water here in Columbus? Let us know in the comments.

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Written By Paola Santiago 

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: Does “detox water” really work?

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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Water, H20, aqua: the most basic of necessities for human life. Water is a vital part of many bodily functions, including removal of waste products, but can we make water even “better” for us as a “detox water?"

Simple answer: no.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1F2t7Vg91U/?igshid=9icqe17xmslg

H20, i.e. two hydrogen atoms connected to an oxygen atom, is the chemical identity of water. This specific formation is what separates it from other molecules, and makes it the most vital substance to human existence.

Soaking things in your water like ginger, cinnamon, or cucumbers can alter the taste but will not chemically alter the structure. Water infusions like the ones listed in the post above can taste great, but water is still H20 and will function as such.

That being said, water infusions are not bad; in fact if you’re struggling to meet your daily intake, water infusions are often an idea I suggest to patients and clients. Mixing up the flavors can bring water can elevate the flavor, making it easier to drink throughout the day!

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you water can be changed to a magical detox; water is already an amazing life giving drink. Instead, use social media for inspiration for trying a new tasty drink that might help you get the adequate hydration you’ve been struggling to get!

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: 30 Day Challenges

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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@DietBetch, a popular Instagram account with over 213k followers, tends to post memes that subtly poking fun at our diet culture. But recently, I was disappointed to see a post about a "30 Day Challenge" that reinforces the unhealthy, fad diet-obsessed world we live in.

This "30 Day Challenge" prohibits participants from consuming foods that many people often associate with being “unhealthy” like soda, candy, and doughnuts.

As a dietitian, I’m not going to disagree that the foods listed do tend to be higher in nutrients of concerns—like added sugars and salt, and overall calories—but, I absolutely believe they can be part of a balanced diet.

By completely removing foods from the diet with a 30 Day Challenge like this, one will simply think, “No…for this month." This purge-style challenge won't teach healthy sustainable eating habits like intuitive eating or portion control.

Take-away: Instead of tagging a friend for a restrictive diet challenge that doesn’t set either of you up for long-term success, try implementing a small sustainable change. Maybe instead of going out for fast food every day of the workweek with a friend, you both could try packing once a week and share recipes and meal ideas!

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: “His” vs “Her” portions

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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It’s not uncommon to scroll through Instagram and see beautiful plates of food labeled “his” and “hers.” Typically the “his” plate is larger in all portions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

But, this depiction of portioning is inaccurate and can be damaging to the way women satisfy their hunger.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmBjeBnB5jb/

Gender does not determine the quantity of food people “should” eat. From a science perspective, there are so many variables that affect metabolic rates that are not specific to sex, such as amount of muscle mass, fat mass, location of these deposits, physical activity, and more. 

For example, a very active, self-identified woman with high lean body mass can have significantly higher maintenance caloric needs compared to a more sedentary male identifying person. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxnh7yaFftA/

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you that gender determines the amount you deserve to eat. Listen to your body and your hunger cues. Fuel your body for what you need!

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