What can be said about water? There is so much. It is found everywhere on Earth and, wherever water flows, you will find life. Scientists call it the universal solvent. Almost every substance can dissolve in water. Many of the properties of the compound we call water remain a mystery to scientists. What they do know is that certain chemical properties of water make it indispensable for living creatures. Water's amazing dissolving properties also make it the perfect medium, or protective cradle, for transmitting substances. That is why it is known as a "cradle of life."
The human body is made up of 60 to 70 percent water. We need to drink water to survive. How much depends who you ask. Your needed intake depends on a number of factors, including your gender, activity level and lifestyle. Some say the number could range from eight to 13 glasses daily.
When we do not drink enough water, we become dehydrated. Many common health conditions start with simple dehydration. Dehydration is known to cause muscle weakness, confusion, depression, heart arrhythmia, kidney dysfunction, and decreased insulin sensitivity, which contributes to diabetes. When we lack this essential substance of life for too long, we will die. We also know there are far too many places in the world today deficient in access to clean drinking water. According to a New York Times report, two-thirds of the world's population faces severe water shortages during at least one month every year. That equates to about four billion people.
As recently reported, Cape Town South Africa might soon become the first major city in the world to run out of water. Three years of successive drought have devastated the city's water supplies and the day circled on the calendar in which they will run out of water — unless they get some relief — is April 21, 2018.
You may be wondering where my great interest in the subject of water comes from. It started several years ago during a drought. To maintain our Texas ranch, we needed more water. To produce more water, we needed to drill for a new well. With the third test site, we hit the water equivalent of an oil well gusher. It flooded our property, then our neighbor's property, until we could divert it to the nearby Navasota River and then have the well capped. Testing showed that what we had on our hands was a sustainable source of clean Artesian water, filtered through volcanic rock, dating back to the last ice age.
Our family is now in the water business and I am so proud to report that, in 2015, my wife, Gena, established CForce Water Bottling Co. based from our Lone Wolf Ranch. Gena is the CEO and majority owner and CForce water is a National Certified Woman Owned Business. A portion of the sales of CForce Artesian Water will now directly benefit Kickstart Kids, a program that supports at-risk youth by teaching character through karate, a cause I founded and the Norris family has supported for over 25 years.
We are so blessed by the gift of water we have been given. It has heightened my understanding of how precious each drop is - as an essential cradle of life today and especially into the future. I doubt there is a person out there who would not agree that we need to make protecting clean drinkable water a worldwide priority.
It is why, in this country, highly publicized cases of lead contamination in Flint, Michigan and Washington, D.C. must be met with a national commitment that the water we consume must never be toxic.
Yet, no sooner do the headlines about Flint begin to fade when we learn that drinking water for more than 170 million Americans in all 50 states contains radioactive elements that are carcinogenic.
A 2015 Reuter's analysis of lead levels across the country found 3,810 U.S. areas in 21 states — home to nearly 61 percent of the U.S. population — with lead contamination rates far higher than in Flint, Michigan. They found nearly 3,000 areas with lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city's contamination crisis.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks poisoning rates among children and tested in each location, admits that even a slight elevation in lead contamination can reduce IQ and stunt development.
A new report by The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, examined the levels of six radioactive contaminants in drinking water, including radon, radium, and uranium. Its primary focus was radium, a naturally occurring though dangerous carcinogen.
The study discovered that of 50,000 public water systems analyzed from 2010 to 2015, more than 22,000 utilities in all 50 states had radium in their treated water delivered to 173 million customers' taps.
As noted in the report, "California has the most residents affected by radiation in drinking water. From 2010 to 2015, about 64 percent of the state's residents were served by public water systems that reported detectable levels of the two radium isotopes. In Texas, which has a smaller population, about 80 percent of the population was served by utilities reporting detectable levels of those elements."
To make matters worse, Environmental Protection Agency, the government agency with oversight of our drinking water, has given the radioactive contamination a pass, stating that most toxin levels did not surpass "legal limit" guidelines; standards that were created more than 40 years ago.
The great American poet Wallace Stevens once wrote: "Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container." What all this distressing news about our drinking water tells us is that we need a tidal shift in our thinking about how we, as a country, are treating this most precious of resources.
To learn about what's in your drinking water, check out the The Environmental Working Group 's Tap Water Database.
Write to Chuck Norris ([email protected]) with your questions about health and fitness. Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook's "Official Chuck Norris Page." He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.