Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Triathlete's Relationship with Water Part II: The Bike


I first learned to ride a bike as a kid, riding a Schwinn Pixie, complete with a basket and the streamers on the ends of the handle bars. I rode that around the neighborhood, to school and even to the pool. From there, my next bike was a Schwinn Varsity, a 10 speed. I was moving up in the world! But my riding dropped off over the years. Other than a brief period of time where I rode my bike to work, I was not much of a cyclist. That was more of my husband’s interest. But as I mentioned in Part 1, I eventually moved from being his cheering section and support to entering in the triathlons myself. This meant I had to embrace cycling. Luckily, Roger was very enthusiastic about this, helping me find good bikes and riding with me while I learned so much more about the world of cycling.


Ever watch the Tour de France or any of the big races with all the riders in a peloton? Those people spend countless hours living on their bikes. They do practically everything while moving at speed. Not just eating or drinking, 
but changing jerseys, making dinner reservations, plotting to out-maneuver their competitor at the next hill, and either mobile banking or playing Angry Birds. All this, usually without major incident (crashing). Yeah, that’s not me. I started out klutzy and timid. Trying to add in anything other than staying upright is nerve-wracking for me. Things get dropped, I tip over, the potential for disaster is endless. But to race, I needed to learn how to eat and drink without pulling over alongside the course. I started with the simple bottle cage on my frame and a water bottle. 

Accessorizing the Bike

  If a person is going to spend more than an hour at any given time on their bike, they’ll need to either plan their route around water stops or carry water with them. If they’re spending even longer, they may be considering both how much to carry and where to refill along the way. There is a lot of variety in the bottle cage market. They can be mounted on the front or back of the frame, on the back of the saddle, or on the aero bars. The speedfill bottle on the aero bars is my favorite. I have less opportunity to drop things. Some people will install tanks in place of bottle cages. Depending on your needs, you can end up with multiple bottles stowed on your bike, with varying degrees of accessibility. Experiment with different configurations to see what works for you. 


What’s in the Bottle?

I think many riders are Mixologists at heart. Sure, for the short rides, water is the best thing to carry. And even for the longer rides, at least one bottle is likely to be just plain water. But many riders are using their liquid not just for hydration, but fuel (carbohydrates) and electrolytes. This is so that they don’t have to negotiate handling food and maintaining a high speed (or at least forward motion). So for rides longer than an hour & a half, they may be using a sports drink or mixing a sports powder into their water. The advantage to mixing your own is in controlling how much you are taking in. This works well if you are also consistent in how much you will drink over a fixed period of time. I will admit, I have found that I don’t drink as much as I think I should. And in races, if I try to take in too much of the sports drinks when I’m pushing myself hard, my gut starts to get miserable. So my coach worked with me to change my hydration and fueling strategy, mostly on the bike. For starters, she weaned me off of the carb-based sports drinks. Only water in the bottles, most of the time. When I need energy, I use honey and a goopy mixture, made from real food and packed in a squeeze bottle. I was surprised how well that met my needs and I have very few gut problems in races or training these days. Now, the only thing that I mix into the water bottles (Mixologist at heart) is plain coconut water at a 4:1 ratio, and for very hot days, an electrolyte supplement. The theory is that the coconut water adds a bit of electrolytes to my water without adding unnecessary carbs. I’ve found that it makes the water feel more slippery, which is an interesting effect. And if it helps that ‘interesting’ means I drink more, that’s just a bonus.

Race Day Hydration

For race day, you need to determine whether you will carry water or rely on the aid stations to provide water. Or both. So you should plan ahead. The best rule is ‘Never try anything new on race day!’ Find out where the aid stations will be located and what they will offer (besides water). If they are offering food, gels or drinks that you have not tried in training, you would be best off carrying your own mix. Or, if you research this far enough ahead of time, try a training ride using the same fuel that will be available on race day. You may find it works well, which means you don’t have to carry extra stuff on the bike. Or you may find that the stuff tastes awful or causes your gut to feel bad. In which case, you really don’t want to find this out on race day.
If your race is short enough, carrying your own fuel and water means you don’t have to slow down going through the aid stations. You do still have to pay attention and avoid collisions in these areas, as there could be a lot of people merging back into the road after their stops. For me, even a half-iron (56 miles) is short enough that I can carry all the water I’ll need. Because of that, I never had to learn how to grab a water bottle from a volunteer while riding by on the bike. At least, not until this summer when I completed my first Ironman. There was no way I was going to carry enough water to get me through 112 miles! Even with switching out all of my bottles at the Special Needs stop, that was a risky plan. But since I was not going to use the sports drink available on course, instead relying on mixing water & coconut water, that meant I had to plan out exchanging bottles at the aid stations. I still hadn’t practiced grabbing a bottle on the fly, so I figured that I would have to learn on race day. Luckily, I’m not quite as klutzy as I was when I first started cycling. I can get a bottle out of one of my cages and (usually) get it back into the cage without dropping it. I can refill my speedfill bottle while still riding, if I am on a reasonably level stretch of road. So the only part of the hydration strategy that I would need to figure out was the bottle exchange; tossing the empty and taking a full bottle from a race volunteer. I started the day with my speedfill bottle mixed with water, coconut water & electrolytes, a full bottle of coconut water in my rear frame cage, and an empty spot in the front frame cage. This empty spot would be filled with a water bottle from the first bike aid station. I started with an empty spot simply because I didn’t want to toss one of my own water bottles at an aid station. From there on out, I could choose to refill the speedfill bottle from both the plain water and the coconut water and add electrolytes as needed. I mentioned that it seems that cyclists are Mixologists at heart? Well, here I was, planning to practice my Mixology on the bike, at speed even. As race day hydration plans go, it wasn’t horrible. In fact, there was a lot that went well with it. Looking back, I have to laugh at some aspects of it though. I had spent a fair amount of my training preparing for hot weather. But it turned out to be an incredibly cold and soggy day. I probably did not need to use as much of the electrolytes as I’d planned for. And staying hydrated meant that it seemed like I had a lot more porta-potty stops than usual. Also, because of the cold, I didn’t trust my coordination to be able to grab a bottle from a volunteer while riding. So I did like many other riders around me and pulled up next to a volunteer, coming to a complete stop before taking a bottle. However, I found that I could successfully grab bananas on the move, and by the time I reached my last bottle exchange, I did manage a slow motion rolling handoff. Victory!

This was my first Olympic distance race. I learned to use aero bars 2 weeks before the race because I was so klutzy I kept dropping my water bottles.

Still More Thoughts

For the most part, this just barely scratches the surface when thinking about all of the intersections of water and cycling. There is certainly more to explore on the subject. But my next post will move on to thoughts on water and the final leg of the triathlon – the run. In the meantime, assuming that at least part of the time you are using tap water during some of your rides, you can check your water quality with a water test kit from Hope2o. The kits are easy to use and the reports are in a very readable format and identify a large number of analytes, grouped into basic categories. Based on your results, you may choose to add filtration to your water source. And then, get out there and go for a ride. Don’t forget your water!

Written by Colleen Hall


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Triathlete’s Relationship with Water

Part 1 – The Swim

I entered the world of triathlons 5 years ago after cheering for and supporting my husband, his friends, and his brother while they were participating in triathlons and other multi-sport races. Once I finally joined in the fun, my husband was my biggest fan, enthusiastically teaching me and training with me along the way. Of the 3 components of the triathlon, I am the weakest at the swim. So, the one part of my training that I can’t afford to neglect is SWIMMING!

The obvious relationship that a triathlete would have with water in the swimming portion of the sport is the immersion. You aren’t swimming if you aren’t actually in the water. But the less obvious relation with water in this part of the training is the actual need for hydration. Swimming is hard work! And working out to become a stronger, better swimmer is really hard work. When you are working that hard, staying hydrated is crucial to getting the most benefit from each workout. At some point in my training calendar, my coach started making notes to remind me to take a water bottle to drink during the workouts. The thought had never occurred to me, but if the coach tells me to take a water bottle, I take a water bottle. I would get to the pool and find a lane to jump into. At the edge of the pool, I would pile up all my pool ‘toys’ – fins, hand weights, tennis balls, kickboard – and my water bottle. I’d look across at the other lanes, and unless there were other triathletes in the pool, my bottle would be the only one sitting at the edge. But I learned that with all the effort I was putting into the workout, I really needed that water. If you are going to be spending a lot of time and energy swimming, either for triathlons, or just because it’s your favorite way to stay in shape – include a water bottle in your workout bag and put it within reach while you’re in the pool. You may find that you will get more benefits from your swim session.

I am in a part of the country where it is not practical to swim in lakes all year long. That means that the winter is time to get back into the pools. The lakes will still be there next spring. But that’s okay, because pool time is time to focus on mechanics and skills for the next season. One of the things that stands out from the past season’s training is that there were days where I spent so much time in the pool that I smelled like the pool even hours after showering and getting on with the day. My new perfume!

The Open Water Swim (OWS)
As the season progresses, and the outside air warms up, the OWS workouts start to show up in the training calendar. This is where you put it all together, all the drills from the winter, the wetsuit, the weather and the lake. I am fortunate enough to live reasonably close to a few swimmable lakes. The one I train at exclusively is a small lake completely surrounded by private homes, with one public access boat ramp. To swim from the boat ramp to the Tree (easy landmark) and back is almost exactly a mile. It is warm enough to start swimming usually in early May and conditions are decent through part of September. Open water swimming groups are a fun way to get into the water. You’re not out there alone, sometimes there’s kayak support, and you can sometimes practice drafting or swimming in crowded conditions to get more comfortable with the bumping and contact that happens in a race.

Figure 1 A Family of Ducks at My Favorite Training Lake

Beyond the Workouts
Since water is essential in this sport, it helps to know more about it. Are you buying bottled water to hydrate during your swims or are you using tap water? If you are using tap water, you can test your water and determine whether a filter would be a benefit for your water source. 
Since I always swim in the same lake, I’ve developed a sense of curiosity about it. I wonder about the plants growing in and around this lake. What is considered a healthy balance of growth for this lake? What fish might I see when I’m swimming? I have found a few of these answers on my state, county and even city’s websites. I also learned that one of the creeks that comes from this small urban lake has cutthroat trout spawning and Coho salmon have been reported only a mile away. How cool is that? That’s just one more reason to care about the health of ‘my’ lake. It seems to me that tri clubs and open water swim clubs would have a natural interest in the health of the lakes they enjoy training in. So perhaps if you are in one of these groups, you could round up some of your friends and get to know your local training lake better.

Written by Colleen Hall

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Drinking Toxins #4 : Phthalates cont..

They lurk in a lot of places 

In our Hope2o water testing phthalates are still the #1 contaminant we see in everyone's water.  These toxic compounds are getting into people!

A CDC survey from 1999--2000 showed 97% of urinary samples analyzed contained the phthalates mono-ethyl, mono-n-butyl, and mono-benzyl-National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (Silva et al, 2004).

CDC research has found:

  • Phthalate exposure is widespread in the U.S. population.
  • Adult women have higher levels of urinary Phthalate metabolites than men 
    • phthalates used: in soaps, body washes, shampoos, cosmetics, and similar personal care products.

As a mom I worry about my child's exposure to phthalates because I know the long standing health impacts they can have.

These Long Standing Health Impacts Include; 

"wide spread endocrine and hormone disruption which can increase the chances of cancer formation, specifically breast cancer.  In infants it has been linked to many developmental delay challenges.  These compounds have also been linked to asthma, allergies, wheezing, ADHD, maleness, obesity, diabetes and can disrupted insulin production. "-Drinking Toxins #1, Neal

and most recently it has been found that phthalates are associated with adult depression (Shiue, 2015)

How do Phthalates get in my water!?!

By Washing and Wearing Synthetic Clothing:

When my son was born our pediatrician kept telling us to make sure you only let natural fibers touch your baby.  At the time she didn't know anything about what I did for a living.  She was just giving a new mom advice based on her experience in the field. I can tell you, phthalates can cause skin rashes and skin irritations in small children including my little guy.

Most people don't know that in both wear and tear and washing of synthetic clothing, like polyester, nano and micro sized pieces of these synthetic fibers break off. As shown by Browne et al in 2011
> 1900  synthetic fibers can be released form a single piece of clothing in every wash! These small fibers are proven to cause health impacts when breathed in like tumors (Pauly et al 1998) and cause dispersive dies from these products cause dermatitis (Pratt et al, 2000).

Direct from your municipality water supply:

Removing ECs (e.g., PAEs, PPCPs, and endocrine dis-ruptor chemicals, EDCs) from water is a difficult problem, many municipality wastewater treatment facilities are incapable of removing these contaminants from sewage and typical drinking water treat-ment systems can only partially remove them (Loos 2009, Al-Odaini 2010, Kuster 2008, Luks-Betlej 2001).  Beyond what we are seeing here at Hope2o with these compounds in peoples drinking water other scientists around the world are seeing this occurrence as well (Rahman 2009, Kumar 2010, Narbaitz, 2013, Kleywegt, 2011).

Using That Air Freshener, Personal Products, and Home Cleaning Products with Fragrances:

On of the most shocking things I realized was that many products use Phthalates as the dispersal mechanism for fragrances. Compounds from these products have been found widespread through pregnant women as show by (Just, et al 2010)( Buckley et al 2012).

And Many Many More....

I know that all of this can be scary and completely confusing.  Just like me, you are out there trying to do the best for your family.  A little knowledge can help you make the best decision for your family. Hopefully I have helped just a little in navigating this path.

Lots of Love
Dr. Dre

Silva, M. J., Barr, D. B., Reidy, J. A., Malek, N. A., Hodge, C. C., Caudill, S. P., ... & Calafat, A. M. (2004). Urinary levels of seven phthalate metabolites in the US population from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2000. Environmental health perspectives112(3), 331.

Shiue, I. (2015). Urinary heavy metals, phthalates and polyaromatic hydrocarbons independent of health events are associated with adult depression: USA NHANES, 2011–2012. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 1-9.

Browne, M. A., Crump, P., Niven, S. J., Teuten, E., Tonkin, A., Galloway, T., & Thompson, R. (2011). Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines woldwide: sources and sinks. Environmental science & technology45(21), 9175-9179.

Pauly, J. L., Stegmeier, S. J., Allaart, H. A., Cheney, R. T., Zhang, P. J., Mayer, A. G., & Streck, R. J. (1998). Inhaled cellulosic and plastic fibers found in human lung tissue. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention7(5), 419-428.

Pratt, M., & Taraska, V. (2000). Disperse blue dyes 106 and 124 are common causes of textile dermatitis and should serve as screening allergens for this condition. American Journal of Contact Dermatitis11(1), 30-41.

Loos, R., Gawlik, B. M., Locoro, G., Rimaviciute, E., Contini, S., & Bidoglio, G. (2009). EU-wide survey of polar organic persistent pollutants in European river waters. Environmental Pollution157(2), 561-568.

Al-Odaini, N. A., Zakaria, M. P., Yaziz, M. I., & Surif, S. (2010). Multi-residue analytical method for human pharmaceuticals and synthetic hormones in river water and sewage effluents by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of chromatography A,1217(44), 6791-6806.

Kuster, M., de Alda, M. J. L., Hernando, M. D., Petrovic, M., Martín-Alonso, J., & Barceló, D. (2008). Analysis and occurrence of pharmaceuticals, estrogens, progestogens and polar pesticides in sewage treatment plant effluents, river water and drinking water in the Llobregat river basin (Barcelona, Spain). Journal of Hydrology358(1), 112-123.

Luks-Betlej, K., Popp, P., Janoszka, B., & Paschke, H. (2001). Solid-phase microextraction of phthalates from water. Journal of Chromatography A938(1), 93-101.

Rahman, M. F., Yanful, E. K., & Jasim, S. Y. (2009). Occurrences of endocrine disrupting compounds and pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment and their removal from drinking water: Challenges in the context of the developing world. Desalination248(1), 578-585.

Kumar, A., & Xagoraraki, I. (2010). Pharmaceuticals, personal care products and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in US surface and finished drinking waters: a proposed ranking system. Science of the total environment408(23), 5972-5989.

Narbaitz, R. M., Rana, D., Dang, H. T., Morrissette, J., Matsuura, T., Jasim, S. Y., ... & Yang, P. (2013). Pharmaceutical and personal care products removal from drinking water by modified cellulose acetate membrane: field testing.Chemical Engineering Journal225, 848-856.

Kleywegt, S., Pileggi, V., Yang, P., Hao, C., Zhao, X., Rocks, C., ... & Whitehead, B. (2011). Pharmaceuticals, hormones and bisphenol A in untreated source and finished drinking water in Ontario, Canada—occurrence and treatment efficiency. Science of the Total Environment409(8), 1481-1488.

Just, Allan C., et al. "Urinary and air phthalate concentrations and self-reported use of personal care products among minority pregnant women in New York city." Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 20.7 (2010): 625-633.

Buckley, J. P., Palmieri, R. T., Matuszewski, J. M., Herring, A. H., Baird, D. D., Hartmann, K. E., & Hoppin, J. A. (2012). Consumer product exposures associated with urinary phthalate levels in pregnant women. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology22(5), 468-475.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Drinking Toxins #3

Drinking Toxins #3: Atrazine

We all love our aquatic species. But fish, frogs, and other species are now struggling to live in an increasingly toxic environment. Organisms at the bottom of the food chain, such as phytoplankton, and zooplankton also face risks. One of the threats now getting some recognition is caused by the herbicide atrazine.

Atrazine is the most used herbicide in the United States, and is extremely common worldwide. As such, it is also present in the environment in relatively high concentrations. It enters the environment through agricultural run-off, which can reach the parts per million concentration range. It also is present in rainfall at up to 40 parts per billion [1]. These concentrations may seem extremely small, but they can be lethal for many aquatic species.

Frogs are currently the face of the fight against atrazine use. At greater than 0.1 parts per billion, atrazine causes hermaphroditism in male amphibians[2]. Remember that atrazine is present in rainfall at up to 40 parts per billion! Even in areas where it is not used, atrazine has been found at concentrations ten times the amount needed to have adverse affects on amphibians. As an endocrine disruptor, atrazine also retards the growth of amphibian gonads, disrupting their reproductive cycle [3]. Atrazine may be one of the factors behind the global amphibian decline, which has been ongoing since the 1980’s. The rapid decline of amphibian species is currently one of the biggest threats to the biodiveritsy of this planet.

What can we do about it?

To help reduce the amount of atrazine being put into the environment, buy organic produce. If you grow your own food, don’t use atrazine! 

And if you test your water and find atrazine present, consider putting in a household filter system.

[1]Hayes, T. et al. 2001. Hermaphroditic, demasculinized frogs after exposure to the herbicide atrazine at low ecologically relevant doses. PNAS 99: 5476-5480.

[2]Hayes, T. et al. 2003. Atrazine-induced hermaphroditism at 0.1 ppb in American leopard frogs (Rana pipiens): laboratory and field evidence. Environmental Health Perspectives 111: 569-575.

[3]Renner, R. 2002. Atrazine linked to endocrine disruption in frogs. Environ Sci Technol. 36: 55-56.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Drinking Toxins: # 2

Drinking Toxins: # 2
By Andrea Neal, Ph.D.

What the BUZZ!

How would you like it if someone spiked your morning cereal with Cyanide and put a little Arsenic in your coffee.  That's how millions of Bee's feel everyday.  

We have seen an alarming trend with the water samples from our Hope2o Consumer product. We are seeing Neonicotinoids and Fipronil in high concentrations in tap water.  This means you could be watering your lawn with toxins that kill or inhibit our very important Bee Pollinators. 

You may have been seeing a lot about the decline of Bee populations in the news lately.  You may or may not understand what that means to you, to food resources, to ecosystems, or even the economy.  The short answer is that bees impact all four.  

According to the USDA,  Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year and impacts crops responsible for about 1/3 of our diet [1]. In 1947 the U.S. had as many as 6 million colonies, today's colony strength is about 2.5 million [2].  

This alarming trend started to gain heavy attention by experts in 2006, and was named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  In the 2012 a group of experts gathered together to CCD and what it means for our future at the, National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health.  The consensus of these experts was that the current survivorship of honey bee colonies was too low to confidently meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops [2]. While CCD, has many potential causes, one of the biggest to gain attention is environmental contaminants like Neonicotinoids and Fipronil.  

Neonicotinoids and Fipronil are acutely toxic to honeybees [3, 4]!

Neonicotinoids and fipronil are taken up by plants through the root system and then disperse through all parts of the plant.  Unfortunately,  this includes valuable food and water resources for pollinators, like bees and butterflies, and birds that eat these pollinators.  

Neonicotinoids and Fipronil disrupts the insect central nervous system. 
In very very small the compounds have Sublethal effects (Not enough to instantly kill) on Bees which include; 

  • Suseptability to Virus's (from 0.0001 ppb, [5]), 
  • Lack of Appetite (from 0.001 ppb, [6]), 
  • Reduced Lobito  (from 0.001 ppb, [7]), 
  • Decreased size of hypopharyngeal glands (from 0.002 ppb, [8]), 
  • Impaired foraging behavior (from 0.0038 ppb, [9]) 
  • Reduced colony growth and queen production (0.007 ppb, [10]).
  • Memory Loss (Not able to find their way home)

These compounds are long lasting commonly used in home insecticides, specifically in ant bait traps. They are also widely used on agricultural crops and as a treatment on seeds. Neonicotinoids and fipronil currently account for approximately one third (in monetary terms in 2010) of the world insecticide market [11]Unfortunately these compounds persist for a long time, due to this and other factors of their chemical makeup they end up in collecting in; groundwater, water ways, drainage areas, soil, plants, etc.   

 How do these compounds get in my water and what can I do about it?  

The best thing that anyone can do is to be very careful and not overuse or use these types of pesticides. If you do have to apply them avoid using them  during mid-day hours.  This is when bees and other pollinators are most likely to be foraging for nectar and pollen on flowering plants.

Other things that we can do to help our pollinating friends is to put plants they like in your gardens like red clover, foxglove, bee balm, and joe-pye weed. (visit

And of course if you test your water and you have these compounds in your tap water you may want to consider putting in a whole house filter or a special filter for your garden water. Or reduce your overall use of water by planting drought tolerant plants!

Thanks for BEEing concerned!

Lots of Love
Dr. Dre

[1] USDA, (2012)

[2] USDA, Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health.  National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference Steering Committee (2012)

[3] L. W. Pisa & V. Amaral-Rogers & L. P. Belzunces & J. M. Bonmatin & C. A. Downs & D. Goulson & D. P. Kreutzweiser & C. Krupke & M. Liess & M. McField & C. A. Morrissey & D. A. Noome & J. Settele & N. Simon-Delso & J. D. Stark & J. P. Van der Sluijs & H. Van Dyck & M. Wiemers (2015) Effects of neonicotinoids and fipronil on non-target invertebrates. Environ Sci 

[4] Pollut Res. DOI 10.1007/s11356-014-3471-x
Bonmatin J-M, Giorio C, Girolami V, Goulson D, Kreutzweiser D, Krupke C, Liess M, Long E, Marzaro M, Mitchell E, Noome D, Simon-Delso N, Tapparo A (2014) Environmental fate and exposure; neonicotinoids and fipronil. Environ Sci Pollut Res. doi:10.1007/s11356-014-3332-7

[5] Di Prisco G, Cavaliere V, Annoscia D, Varricchio P, Caprio E, et al. (2013) Neonicotinoid clothianidin adversely affects insect immunity and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honey bees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110: 18466–18471. doi:10.1073/pnas.1314923110.  

[6] Elston C, Thompson HM, Walters KFA (2013) Sub-lethal effects of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid pesticide, and propiconazole, a DMI fungicide, on colony initiation in bumblebee (Bombus terrestrismicro-colonies. Apidologie 44: 563–574. doi:10.1007/s13592-013-0206-9

[7] Laycock I, Lenthall KM, Barratt AT, Cresswell JE (2012) Effects of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, on reproduction in worker bumble bees (Bombus terrestris). Ecotoxicology 21: 1937–1945. doi: 10.1007/s10646-012-0927-y.

[8] Hatjina F, Papaefthimiou C, Charistos L, Dogaroglu T, Bouga M, et al. (2013) Sublethal doses of imidacloprid decreased size of hypopharyngeal glands and respiratory rhythm of honeybees in vivo. Apidologie 44: 467–480. doi:10.1007/s13592-013-0199-4. 

[9] Schneider CW, Tautz J, Gru¨ newald B, Fuchs S (2012) RFID tracking of sublethal effects of two neonicotinoid insecticides on the foraging behavior of Apis mellifera. PLoS One 7: e30023. doi: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0030023

[10] Whitehorn PR, O’Connor S, Wackers FL, Goulson D (2012) Neonicotinoid pesticide reduces bumble bee colony growth and queen production. Science 336: 351–352. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01759.x. 

[11] Simon-Delso N, Amaral-Rogers V, Belzunces LP, Bonmatin JM, Chagnon M, Downs C, Furlan L, Gibbons DW, Giorio C, Girolami V, Goulson D, Kreutzweiser DP, Krupke C, Liess M, Long E, McField M, Mineau P, Mitchell EAD, Morrissey CA, Noome DA, Pisa L, Settele J, Stark JD, Tapparo A, van Dyck H, van Praagh J, van der Sluijs JP, Whitehorn PR and Wiemers M (2014) Systemic insecticides (neonicotinoids and fipronil): trends, uses, mode of action and metabolites. Environ Sci Pollut Res. doi:10.1007/s11356-014-3470-y

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drinking Toxins: # 1

Drinking Toxins: # 1
By Andrea Neal, Ph.D.

For those who don't know me, my name is Dr. Andrea Neal.  I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Lipid Biochemistry, I'm also a mom, surfer, diver, all around nature lover,  and I have dedicated my life to reversing our Toxic Legacy.

When I look at my kids, they grow so fast in front of my eyes.  The thing I want for them most is to have all of the things they need to be safe, happy, healthy and to grow up strong to be productive happy adults.  

First and foremost I feel that to accomplish this I need to provide a safe caring environment and take care not to expose them to too many things that will impact them negatively.  This starts in my home with clean water and safe food resources. 

At Hope2o work towards this goal by testing home tap water and soil. 

In our latest studies on tap water I have seen a very alarming trend.  Almost every water sample, that we have tested,  from home tap water shows significant levels of Phthalate contamination (from 50-600 PPB).

I'm not surprised if the word Phthalate sounds like greek to you, but I can tell you it is in the realm of scary stuff for parents. 

Phthalates:  Are plasticizers used to make plastics hard or soft.  Phthalates are used in a large variety of products; plastic water bottles, PVC piping, toys, coatings of pharmaceutical pills, coatings in cans, food packaging, stabilizers, dispersants (like for pesticides and air-fresheners), lubricants, binders, emulsifying agents, suspending agents, etc.  

Many of these compounds are very toxic and can impact people in a variety of ways. 

These include wide spread endocrine and hormone disruption which can increase the chances of cancer formation, specifically breast cancer.  In infants it has been linked to many developmental delay challenges.  These compounds have also been linked to asthma, allergies, wheezing, ADHD, maleness, obesity, diabetes and can disrupted insulin production.  As my pediatrician can tell you, Phthalates can cause skin rashes and skin irritations in small children. 

Exposure to Phthalates not only comes from  food and water but from breathing it in and skin contact.

These compounds enter into our water resources in many ways.  This includes; 
  • Phthalates that leach from plastic bottles (when they are exposed to sun or heat)
  • Phthalates that leach from plastic piping in your home (as the get older or are exposed to heat)
  • Phthalates that leach from food packaging and get into the food you eat.
  • Phthalates used in aerosols to help disperse the scents (think about that the next time you spray your bathroom to remove the stink)
  • Phthalates used in dispersing pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides
  • Phthalates from peoples pee (since we do ingest and breath in a lot of these compounds daily)
The list goes on and on.

If you're a mom like me, I'm sure your head is spinning at this point.  I don't mean to scare anyone.  If I thought this was not a solvable problem, I would not even bring it up.  However it is solvable. 

The overall message is that we have become very reliant on these very toxic compounds.  They do impact ours health, as well as our families and our children.  We should take steps to limit our use of these products.  

With the testing that we have seen in our Hope2o studies I think the first step is just to look under your sink and see if you have plastic or PVC piping.  If so, you may want to consider replacing it frequently or switching back to metal pipes. Other super simple steps.  Take care when using air fresheners, eat more "food" and less packaged meals, find other ways to deal with home pests than toxic sprays.

Our children rely on us to reduce our toxic legacy.  It does not mean we have to completely change how we live our lives, but little things do make a huge difference!

Lots of Love To Everyone
Andrea Neal, PhD
The Water Doctor