Mason welcomes building biologist Nicole Bijlsma, back on to the podcast today, to take a deep dive (pun intended) into the realm of water. The pair discuss the contaminants that lurk in the municipal water supply, the serious implications they can have on human health, and the things we can do in the home to reduce our exposure. Nicole delivers punchy truth bombs from the minute the tape starts rolling on this chat. Nicole is a woman who is fully loaded with information gathered from her thorough research and clinical practice. Nicole uses her insights as an arsenal against a system that is generally corrupt and ill-informed. Today's chat is juicy and eye opening. The speed and precision in which Nicole hits her target when sharing her knowledge is truly impressive. An important and informative listen for all.
"If you don't get a filter, your body and your kidneys will be the filter." So a water filter is absolutely necessary. It's not a luxury. " - Nicole Bijlsma
Mason and Nicole discuss:
- Nicole's upcoming 'Healthy Homes' 6 week e-course.
- The importance of water quality, not just quantity, in regards to health.
- Chlorine as an antibacterial agent, and the threat chlorinated water can have on microbiome diversity.
- The use of Fluoride as a pharmaceutical drug, and the health implications associated with its use in municipal water supplies.
- Australia as a minority in comparison to 95% of the global community who do not fluoridate their water supply.
- The common contaminants that can lurk in your local water supply, and how to reduce harmful exposure.
- Water filters, the ins and outs, and what to look for when purchasing.
- The obesogen hypothesis; how the body responds to a high exogenous toxic load.
- The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, and the loopholes that allow international products to enter into Australia without chemical testing.
- The correlation between tank water and lead exposure.
- The diet, supplement and lifestyle measures you can take to reduce your toxic load.
- Detoxication, prebiotic foods and dis-ease prevention.
- The dangers of recycled water.
- Alkaline water and low stomach acid.
- Water as an energetic medium.
Who is Nicole Bijlsma?
Healthy Home Expert, Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist, bestselling author, PhD candidate and CEO of the Australian College of Environmental Studies (RTO 21740) which she established in 1999 to educate people about the health hazards in the built environment. Nicole has published in peer reviewed journals, has written extensively for Body+Soul newspaper, is regularly consulted by the media to discuss mould, electromagnetic fields and toxic chemicals, and lectures in Australia and internationally at medical conferences about environmental health issues. Nicole's research involves identifying the impact of toxicants on human health, creating clinical tools to assist practitioners to identify health hazards in the built environment and investigating the impact of wireless technologies on brain and sleep function.
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Hey, Nicole, welcome back.
Thank you, Mason.
Our favourite building biologist and we're going to jump into the Water series. We're kicking off the Water series. It's been a few years now since I really been having the water chats with the SuperFeast community. And so there's a lot of new people on board, lot of people trying to sift through all the information and sift through the sediment in the water and just trying to understand whether they need a water filter, to begin with. I don't think anyone here's really questioning whether they want or need a water filter on a municipal supply. But as a building biologist what you'd be recommending people get on their house for bathing, gardening, all that kind of thing. And then also then we're going to go into the beautiful murky waters of drinking water filtration because that's one of the most confusing areas. I always say you get eight experts up on a stage, you get ten answers. But before we do that, how are you?
Yeah, I'm really good. Thank you. I'm about to, next year February, launch my Healthy Home course for the public, a six-week course on how to create a healthy home, room by room. So I'm looking forward to getting some really good, solid information and dispelling the myths that exist about mould and water filters and chemicals and how people can reduce that toxic load and reduce their exposure to things like mould and, of course, electromagnetic fields.
Mm. I mean, busting all the myths... It's something I like about talking to you, and it's something I like about your book, which you may know is regularly just sitting out there. And so you're basically taking that book and turning it into an online course?
Yeah. It'll be very much, "Here are the hazards," not getting too much into heavy technical research, which is what I do. I'm doing a PhD. I'm a researcher. But really making simple tips on how to create healthy homes from food packaging to cleaning. How can you clean the house and reduce the up allergen load, but while at the same time create a healthy home with fresh air, got some bacterial diversity. Why sanitizers are the antithesis of a healthy home. All that sort of stuff.
Well, what I like about that cool stuff is, you knock the foundations absolutely out of the park, and that's why I wanted to chat with you about water filters because I'm someone that will like fly past the foundational necessities of what we would need to do in order to have just a consistent healthy home or water supply that's going to ensure that the major toxins or the major, say like, deficiencies in terms of a bacterial diversity in the home... Those building blocks, those basic kind of like in the Buddhist term, "Chop wood. Carry water." if you have these present in your home, or if you have this present or not present in your water, based on what we know traditionally and what the data's showing, this is going to give you the best possible opportunity to have a healthy family and have a healthy body in yourself. Sometimes I get caught off flying in the absolute nuance of conversation when it comes to water and all these things. So I'm really I'm really keen to dispel a couple of myths around water right away. Are there any favourites that you just want to dive into?
Yeah. And my saying in relation to drinking water is, "If you don't get a filter, your body and your kidneys will be the filter." So a water filter is absolutely necessary. It's not a luxury. It's necessary. And it really got me, that five years into working as a naturopath, why we only spent at one three-hour lecture on how much water we should be drinking and nothing on drinking water quality, which, of course, can have enormous impacts on human health. I remember once giving this $40 probiotic to one of my patients and thinking, "If they drink this with chlorinated water, you're going to kill most of it on the way down, because chlorine is the strongest antibacterial you could possibly expose yourself to. What am I doing?"
I spent eight years at university doing an honours degree in Chinese Medicine and naturopathy, and we didn't learn about air quality, as I've discussed before or drinking water quality. So why would I prescribed a $40 probiotic when they get a drink with chlorine and kill most of it on the way down? And that really got me thinking about, "Well, what is in our drinking water?" So it depends on the source of the water as to what contaminant is likely to be present. As a result of the research I conducted on that, I then wrote a subject, which is part of the building biology course called Water Pollution, and it's really looking at all the sources of pollutants in our drinking water supply, and more importantly what filters we should recommend to our patients. But it actually is a 120 hours. It's quite in-depth. There's a lot involved, because it depends on the source of water.
Now if you look at these Australian statistics, most of us drink tap water. Around 10% of us drink bore well water, and that's only in the rural parts of Australia, especially in Western Australia and South Australia. And, of course, at least 20% drink tank water. And they all are associated with different pollutants in the supply.
So we start with tap water. We all know, of course, fluoride is the big one. A recent study by the Hach in 2017 was the largest study ever conducted on fluoride, and it identified the significant decline in children's intelligence or IQ if they are exposed in utero to drinking water that had fluoride in it. So we know that it has significant impacts. It accumulates in the pineal gland, which is about the size of a grain of rice. It affects the thyroid. There is so much data now on thyroid.
And I think there was a fantastic quote that was provided by... That I put into my book which I'll read, "No doctor would consider prescribing a pharmaceutical drug for a patient that he's never seen and whom he or she will never monitor for adverse reactions. Yet, this is precisely what water fluoridation does." And this is because fluoride is a pharmaceutical drug, and it's classified as a pharmaceutical drug because it treats a disease called tooth decay and plaque. So as a result of this, we're now putting a pharmaceutical drug in our entire water system that no one's monitoring, which is really an act of insanity. And the reality is most countries don't fluoridate, have never fluoridated their water supply, because giving this to the mass population and not monitoring this is an act of insanity and, of course, because of the growing body of evidence, it's now associating it with significant adverse health effects, especially in utero to an unborn foetus.
So as a result of that, very few countries actually continue to fluoridate their water supply. What the data is showing is that drinking fluoridated water doesn't actually protect teeth or bones. In fact, it displaces calcium and could increase the risk for hip fractures according to research by Colet in Canada. So what we're now realising is that we need a topical application of fluoride through toothpaste can provide some protection providing you spit it out, and that's why children that aren't old enough, you know below five, shouldn't be having fluoridated toothpaste, until they're old enough to be able to spit it out, because of course it's contaminated. It comes from a toxic slurry from either the phosphate fertiliser industry, which contains radioactive nuclides, lots of toxic metals in addition to fluoride, mercury, radium, lead, et cetera. So it contains other toxic contaminants, which is not tested before it is actually put into our water supply, and that alone is just insane.
So for Australians, which unfortunately are exposed to fluoridated water, unless you in some rural parts of Australia that aren't fluoridated, really the only options here are-
Yeah. You're not fluoridated, no?
Okay. And the fact that most countries... We're talking five countries that still fluoridate, which means hundreds of countries have never fluoridated, including most of Europe. You don't see tooth decay rates change, because they've introduced it into their water supply. What you do see in terms of improvement in dentistry is actually an improvement in diet and better dental hygiene, such as brushing your teeth with a little bit of fluoridated toothpaste and, of course, flossing and a good diet. That is the most important thing to prevent tooth decay.
So I want to make it really clear, most countries have never fluoridated. We're talking over 95% of countries, but those that do, such as capital cities throughout Australia, the only way you're going to get rid of fluoride is either with aluminium filters or with a reverse osmosis filter. Everything else, like carbon filters, may reduce the level, but the problem with water filtration is that they're all certified through a national body called the National Sanitation Foundation in the U.S., And most of the water filters are only tested after 20 litres is run through the water filter. So you don't really know, after thousands of litres, how effective that filter's going to because most the money to stood up for short time that what has been put through that filter system. And we certainly know things like carbon reduce very quickly in terms of their effectiveness to bind to organic matter like pesticides. But I'm jumping the gun. I don't want to get to water filters yet.
So in terms of tap water, we have fluoride. That's a big one. We have aluminium, and aluminium is added say, for example, in my water supply, we get it from Yarrow Valley Water, which comes from the Yarrow River. There's high levels of sediment in it. And in order to get rid of that sediment, they add aluminium in order to add as a flocculating agent, which gathers and sticks to the sediment and then sinks to the bottom. So they just get the water off the top and get rid of all the sediment. So you will have acceptable levels of aluminium in your water supply that we'll see, certainly in my water supply from Yarrow Valley Water, acceptable levels. So the Australian drinking water guidelines allow that.
The problem is aluminium, is it associated with dementia? We think so. It is associated with adverse health effects. The other area people can get aluminium exposure, apart from in their water supply, is if they have a hot water service and it has an aluminium anode in it. So basically, if you have a hot water service tank, steel tank, it normally has a stick in it, and it would normally contain... Aluminium would be the most common anode, and aluminium sacrifices itself in the water in order to reduce the corrosion of the tank. Once that aluminium anode has worn, that's when the steel tank starts to corrode and within seven years, you've got to get a new tank. What most people don't realise is that they can replace the aluminium anode at least every three years, and the tank will go on for at least double, maybe triple its life. Of course, problem is [inaudible 00:11:29]. People aren't going to earn money if they don't keep that turnover, dividends shareholders.
Yes. [crosstalk 00:11:34].
The problem with aluminium. Yeah, you don't want the aluminium. So the big thing there is never ever drink hot water from your tap if you have a hot water tank because it could have aluminium ions in it. And, of course, a lot of the elderly do this. They put hot water to save the kettle boiling and that energy. They put hot water into their kettle, and then they boil it up. Don't do that, because if you have [inaudible 00:11:56] tank, you could expose yourself to higher levels of aluminium.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). All right. Great. I love that tip. Where else we going with this? What are the myths?
Well, yeah, the other one of course... And. of course, aluminium can be high in just some areas or where they're getting bore or well water, where it's actually contained in the minerals. So as it's passing through the geology, and it could be exposed to high levels of aluminium, and that can be a big problem.
And another one, of course, in our water is that aluminium is very high in the fluoride slurry. So when they add fluoride, you can actually get significant levels of aluminium in the water supply just because it's part of that fluoride slurry, and that can be quite common as well.
I'm glad you brought that up because that's something I talk about here and there, but it'd been about five years since I clarified that that standard practise with of the inclusion of fluoride into municipal supply. I wouldn't have suspected it would have changed, that slurry containing all the metals and all the other... And it was fertiliser. Was that the fertiliser industry?
[inaudible 00:13:01] fertiliser industry or aluminium industry, yes.
That's right. The other thing you brought up, which I think is really important is whether you're on well water or, obviously, rainwater and especially if you're in a municipal supply is just getting it tested. I went through Rhys, one of your building biologists up here. He just brought in the sample. He sent it off to the lab. Boom. I knew exactly what type of whole house water filter I was going to be needing. But we get spring water delivered, so I wasn't really concerned on that level. But I got it for the business and then got it for the... Because even if people are showering, having a shower here, that's one of the times when you're going to be looking at that dermal crossover of the aluminium falling down onto your skin and into your mouth, and it's one of those things that freaks me out about travelling. Every now and then, I just don't quite get it together where I travel with my shifter and my water filter. I get to the hotel or the Airbnb, and it just doesn't work and my filter's a bit too fat to fit on the wall and-
... and so I'm like... Sometimes I'm just a little bit too scungy. Don't have a beach nearby, so I have a shower in the municipal supply and... Kind of not as full-on as I used to be. I take some charcoal or zeolites if I'm in those situations. But that's a little drop in the ocean. When you're talking about... You're talking about the build-up. That's just something people who consistently be doing is going, "Oh, when I'm cooking pasta, I'm just going to turn on the hot water."
Don't do that.
Yeah, well... And it makes me realise when doing a water tests as well, it might be useful to get a test of the hot water as well to see what's going on in that area if you're on the municipal supply.
Well, you mentioned an important point there. In terms of dermal exposure, you absorb more chlorine through your shower water in your body than potentially evening drinking it. And chlorine is the strongest antibacterial, which is why, for no other reason apart for fluoride and aluminium as I've mentioned, and many others I have mentioned yet, but chlorine's really strong antibacterial, which means it's an anti-human because you are more bacteria than you are human cells. So chlorine helped got rid of the waterborne epidemics which is great, but it needs to be sufficient in the distribution systems, so there's significant amounts of active chlorine by the time it comes out of your tap. And for that reason alone, you need a carbon filter. You don't want to be drinking, ingesting chlorinated water. We know chlorine combines with other organic matter to form trihalomethanes which are very strongly carcinogenic, and that happens a lot in the showers, and of course, you absorb a lot of chlorine in the showers.
Now when I started getting into naturopathy, I found over the years that it was cheaper for me to recommend a client to get a KDF filter for their shower than it was to give them $200 worth of herbs every month that tasted bloody awful and went on and on, and it didn't make much difference to their eczema, when, in fact, chlorine is a really strong skin and lung irritant. So this was surprised a $70 filter could make such a big difference in reducing eczema in these people, because all my eczema patients were saying, "I can't bathe. When I have a bath or shower, I'm always worse." Of course, they're worse. Chlorine is a strong skin irritant. So just getting a KDF, kinetic degradation filtration filter, not a carbon, because hot water will enable bacteria to grow on the carbon. But KDF filter, that made a huge difference to many of my patients with eczema and especially for the bath and the shower. So that is something I strongly recommend.
There's also data to say that drinking chlorinated water over 35 years or so could increase the risk for things like bladder cancer or colorectal cancer. Now, that's really not surprising when you think chlorine kills bacteria, and your gut microbiome is the most important aspect to your health. So that's why I'd say before you even look at your diet, get a water filter, because you should not be ingesting any chlorine whatsoever. Yep.
I just did my microbial report. Just wanted to get a real scope of what was going on in my microbial kingdom or queendom, whichever way we want to go. And I mean, I-
You're talking [inaudible 00:17:25], did you go up the bum for this one?
Well, it came out of the bum, and then actually, nothing went in the bum.
Just to clarify. I think I've got it up. I think went Microba. So they're local. And I was in that healthy range, and even though I was in that healthy range, right up in the healthy range, as well.
My biodiversity is still quite low, considerably low, compared to where, what is... But that's kind of like shooting for something pretty special, but, nonetheless, based on what's possible and what's been identified out there and what would be an ideal real biodiversity bacteria, I was quite low, and that's with all the healthy eating and the herbalism and all. And I also probably have gone pretty extreme on particular diets over the years that have been a little more restrictive, and so I'm on a big rebuild and still on my little discovery at the moment, but, nonetheless, for me who's kind of doing... I'm doing a lot for my health, and still on that low biodiversity, so if I was then adding in the consumption of chlorine and an antibacterial like several times a day, it just goes to show why we do have... Why that link between autoimmune conditions and eczema would be creating such immediate flare-ups in kiddies when they're so... And going into big, chlorinated, indoor pools as well. I know it was always a big one for people I'd talk to. I'd suggest same thing, get a filter, and then it would still be happening and I'd be like, [inaudible 00:19:10] investigate and, "Are you the swimmer?" And I used to be a swimmer, so now I remember the difference when I quit, and I didn't have to go in that chlorine biodome a couple of times a week, how much clearer I personally became.
So yeah, I think it's one of those ones that as you said... And the chlorine one I think is, it's too massive to ignore. Don't freak out you have to have a couple of showers here and there, and there's a little bit of chlorine going on is what I normally would put forward. I don't know what your take is, but just think about the consistency, just how many showers and baths are going to be having in your home. And we'll write down those filter recommendations that you have. Might grab some links off you to who you're currently investigating or maybe a couple with just the name or type of the filter, so people can get on to that, because it's an absolute. It's a necessity. We can't muck around with this anymore. It's too much of a foundational element of health. Were there any others that you wanted to go into?
Yeah, copper. Copper can be a big problem. Especially with old homes where you've got copper pipes. So it's not so much that it's in the drinking water system. It's actually coming out from the domestic pipe under the home. So if you've got copper pipe... Especially in the first five years, you've got shiny copper. What happens is that it leeches and releases copper ions into the water supply as its oxidising. So once you've got copper pipe that's been laid, good quality pipe for more than five years, and it's got that black dullness to which means it's oxidised and it's less likely to leech.
Now I had one particular patient who came to see me. Who put on 20 kilos of weight within two months, and hadn't changed her diet, didn't change her relationship, her job, anything. It eventually came down to she'd moved into a flat with her boyfriend in Melbourne, and within weeks, she had an acute abdominal pain and bloating, ended up in the hospital, and her appendix was removed even though it wasn't inflamed. And when I asked her about when the symptoms began, it was when she moved into this unit with her boyfriend. And I asked finally, after asking all these questions about the house, "Tell me about your drinking water. When you're away from the house for a good two or three days or more, what colour does it come out." She said, "It's a greeny-blue colour." Well, I said, "You need to get Yarrow Valley Water... Who was her water supplier... Out to check the levels of copper and lead. Don't turn your water on in the morning before they come."
She rang them that afternoon after the consultation. She saw me as a naturopath, and she said, "Look, my naturopath make me sick." They were there the next day. It was a free service. This was 15 years ago. And he said, "Look, the levels of copper are off the chart. I can't even give you a reading, because it's off our chart. It's so high." And it was a new apartment, which meant that the copper pipe had only been laid. It was still leeching high levels of copper iron. And you look at the symptoms of high levels of copper that's ingested, it's an acute abdomen. It reflects a similar scenario to an appendicitis. So I said to her, "I need you to get to the doctor to check the copper levels." And within two weeks the results came back [inaudible 00:22:18] said, "I've never seen anything like it. You've got high levels of copper in your body. I don't know what to do. Get back to the naturopath." And the problem was, because she...
We've got this hypothesis now, the obesogen hypothesis, that the way the body deals with toxins is to dump more fat, dump it into the fat tissue in order to shunt it away from the vital organs. This is something that Professor Bruce Blumberg from the University of California coined years ago, obesogens. That babies now are much more obese in Western countries before they've eaten eat food, because their toxic load is high, and they're probably shunting it to the fat tissue away from vital organs. Unfortunately, the foetus, their fat is only in their brain, because there's no fat on them when they're born.
So she had to detox over 12 months, because if she did detox quickly, then that would have exacerbated all the symptoms, because it would have loaded it into the blood. And that was copper, and that was in a new apartment. So if you're going to have copper exposure, it tends to be [inaudible 00:23:16] at high levels, acute abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, et cetera, but longterm, it can lead to things like miscarriages as well, and, of course, Alzheimer's. There's more data on that. Copper is used as an algaecide in spas. It's a very strong antibacterial like chlorine but also kills algae as well. So that's why it's not ideal to have in the water system, and that's why, again, it's really important that you have a filter, especially if you have copper pipe.
Now copper pipe, once it's oxidised and it's that dull nature, it's actually a good pipe to have, because it lasts for decades in the system, as opposed to the other pipes that are now available, like you poly pipes and your PVC, which is only used for sewerage. Sometimes you find the people's houses and they're drinking water, which is a disaster because it contains [inaudible 00:24:04] chemicals. But galvanised pipe is another one that with the lead solder you're getting potentially lead exposure. So sometimes the water contaminants have nothing to do with the drinking water supply. It's actually the pipes under the house that is contributing to the toxic load of these toxic metals.
And something that always blows me away about whether we're going to get over the line, it's often an indicator as a society for me or whether we're actually going to develop or going to come out of ignorance using things like an off-gassing, new plastics and copper pipes and these kinds of things. And now it's very well known we can't be using these things straight out of the factory. But we've got such a fast growth model, and we got such a model that everyone's gotten like, "You've got no time" and "You've got no time to do that" and "If you do that and your competitors aren't that, then you're going to lose your competitive advantage." Whether it's that kind of Western mentality or whether it's the mentality where we just don't have ethics because no one knows about it. You can just plead ignorance, and therefore, we have the subtle lack of ethics in industry that just continue to go and just continue with practises that throw people under the bus and then leave them, like this woman you were talking about. Several people, you as an investigative naturopath and Chinese herbalist... Chinese doctor or herbalist for yourself?
... would know how painstaking it is for people to have to go on this investigation, and all the years just going through this detoxification. Anyway, that's my little vent about is our society going to make it or not? Will we develop ethics. Yeah, okay. You've got me thinking there about someone I know, as well, living in the city. Not that I'm going to go, "Okay. It must be a copper overload, so on and so forth, but it's got me thinking a little bit outside the box. I feel like even I sometimes if someone's been going through something for so long, and you get a little bit of... Their little hopelessness comes in, and you can only keep on pushing so much, but then I kind of felt like as a supporter of them fell into, "Is this just too hard? Is this just accepting that new normal?" And then every now and then, I get my little kick up the bum to be like, "No, come on, keep digging. There's going to be a-"
There's always a reason why people are sick. That was my mentality from the moment I studied naturopathy. I wanted to figure out what caused cancer. That was my drive. [inaudible 00:26:37] I was obsessed with it, because quite a few of my parents' friends had died from cancer in their 40s and 50s, and I thought, "No, there has to be... There's always a reason you just need to ask more questions to get to the root cause." And what I discovered studying naturopathy and acupuncture is that the root cause is not often addressed. Yeah, naturopathy looks at diet, but that's only one small part of a big pie of root causes, and most of those recorded there in the environment, which is why I establish the building biology industry in the college.
One thing I want to mention is that copper can often be in brass faucets and taps. And, in fact, in 2017, 1200 brass [inaudible 00:27:17] were found to have very high levels of lead in the Children's Hospital in Perth, in the new Children's Hospital in Perth. So these are things that you know... Lead can be... Sorry, lead can be in the brass taps and stuff, especially if they're imported overseas, because NICNAS, National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, who regulates industrial chemicals, doesn't regulate imported goods. They're massive loopholes. That's why I wrote it in the book. You know, it's all very well to have your manufacturers in Australia that have to follow legislation and get rid of some toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and other things like this, but you can import those furnishings loaded with formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen because that's not a regulated imported good. Most people buy stuff from overseas and Asia, so... This is the ridiculousness of the whole process. So even brass taps can be high in lead, and that's why it's really important that you don't have brass taps, or at least that they're tested or all have been in manufactured in Australia.
PVC pipe... So people drinking tank water and they have PVC, polyvinyl chloride, pipes from the tank to their domestic water, they could expose themselves to lead, because a lot of PVC uses lead as a stabiliser, not just phalates the chemicals I mentioned before with PVC, but also lead stabilisers is a big problem. Kettles have been largely the cause of kettles that have lead in the element that exposed people when they were buying and using these kettles [crosstalk 00:28:47]-
You mean electric kettles??
Yeah. It's not such a problem now. It was a big problem 10 years ago. But if you just look at, there's a website by the government on recalls, and I like to look at that from time to time, to go, "Hmm, a 150,000 toys recalled from lead exposure accidentally that were imported. That's a problem." And that's not the only ones. They're the ones they've checked. Most of them they don't check. So I'm always saying to people, "Buy things that are made in Australia, because these toxic metals and chemicals are less likely to be present in our furnishings, in our toys and other things like that."
The other thing about lead is that if you... In Melbourne, the city of Melbourne or Sydney, they could still have pure lead pipe under the city, because that's what they used in early 1900s up to 1930. They used pure lead pipe. Now this is what they thought was the demise of the Roman Empire was the use of lead pipe, because it makes the men infertile, it affects their prostate, it make them mad, and, of course, drop their IQ. So this part of the reason, because they used lead as a seasoning, as a salt on their food, if you were in the upper echelons of the Roman Empire. They were exposed to very high levels of lead. And, of course, in your crystals... Could be lead crystals, your fine crystalware that you have for your port or your expensive wines, et cetera, that you keep in your crystal decanters. That could be very loaded with lead.
So lead is a big one, especially with ingestion and drinking water and, of course, the biggest exposure to lead happens in tank water. And time and time again in Australia, they're finding high levels or elevated levels of lead in people's tank water, simply because they're gathering the water from the roof catchment area where there's lead flashing around the chimney or anything that's poking out of the roof. They used lead flashing in the past. And, of course, if they're getting their water from this roof catchment area with the lead flashing, then it's going to increase the lead levels in their tank.
The second source of lead in tank water is the fact that we use thousands and thousands of leaded petrol for decades in Australia, and that lead dust, as the result of the car exhaust, is sitting along all our roads, all our major freeways, still. So if you've of tank water, and you're close to these major freeways, you could have significant or elevated levels of lead in your drinking water, because it's sitting as dust on the tank and getting into the tank that way.
Just a little sidestep from water... Just curious, because lead's always been one of those ones in the back of my mind, knowing it's ever present. And if I ever get really present to the actual reality of how much there is in the environment, it can get a little bit overwhelming at times, so I have my little things, whether they're placebo or effective that I do to try to ensure that I'm... Whether I'm chelating or just keeping my detoxification channels open. But do you have a couple of little things that make you feel, whether they're clinically proven and you feel that you've proven them in clinic with clients, whether it's a supplement you're taking or a practise that you have to ensure that you're maintaining an ability to remove lead inevitably coming into the body?
Well, the main way I reduce is to avoid exposure, so I'm very cautious about the type of fish I eat. I don't eat fish more than once a month. Like the Nordic countries state for a woman of reproductive age not to eat fish more than once a month, because it's loaded with PCBs and mercury and other things like that. This is especially the larger fish.
Supplements very important. Supplements are critical, especially your antioxidants, because they help you deal with a lot of the toxins that we're exposed to, and let's face it, every generation is born with more pre-pollution, so our toxic load has increased significantly. So supplements is something I take every day. I get a compounding pharmacist to make those supplements, multivitamins and minerals for me, because I react to the reagents and the binders and the fillers in them. So they tailor it for my height, my weight, where I am in my hormonal cycle, et cetera. So that's an absolute, critical thing for me.
I also eat a lot of prebiotics and a lot of fermented foods. My parents are Dutch, so we were brought up on wog food like sauerkraut, which we used to hate, but you know it was normal food for us. Fermented cabbages and other things like this and yoghurts, et cetera, and Karnemelk, which was like a yoghurt, but it's very sour. It's like fermented milk. We were brought up on all that. And I think fermented foods and bacteria is now found that it's more effective than the liver at detoxing.
So the weight in detox chemicals is fermented foods, and especially prebiotics as opposed to probiotics. I've moved our way up to going to all these medical conferences that I've spoken at around the world, a lot of them, especially specialists in probiotics are saying they can cause ulcerative colitis and other colonic-related problems. You're much better off to focus on the food that the bacteria need for the short-chain fatty acids, butyrate for example, for this bacteria in the gut. So prebiotics, fermented foods are really, really important, and I think that's probably the most important advice I can give to help you detox... Support the bacteria to produce the B vitamins and to toxic chemicals at the same time.
Yeah, after I did a podcast just recently with a mate of mine, Dan. We basically just went diving into that. He's learning off that... He's a naturopath that's, basically, really spearheading a lot of this research and presenting on that shift towards prebiotics. He's down in Tasmania. I can't remember his name right now. But it's gotten me-
Yeah, that sounds about right. After a while I realised if anyone's been studying this stuff, they're studying with him. He's one of those guys. Got me really thinking about taking at least an aspect of my diet towards building up, obviously, as I said, the microba report, building up that biodiversity. And it's got me challenging a couple of my own belief systems around food. I'm kind of gonna go in that direction, because after looking at the research and looking at the practicality and the fact that just my own instinct and my own survival Instinct around building and eating for a strong biodiversity there in my microbial kingdom. I'm with you. It just seems like it needs to have just as much focus now as the liver would or the colon would and way more than the colon would and its flushing or anything like that. Just create that system that's going to keep you singing along. It's like your own health insurance. You could-
Absolutely. And that's why a water filter is critical, because you don't want to be ingesting things like copper or chlorine that you know are very strong anti-bacteria. You want to make sure it's not going to do the opposite to what you're trying to do with your diet by enhancing your bacterial diversity in the gut. And what we now know with the healthy home is that the more diverse the bacteria is and household dust, the healthier the kids are and far less likely they're going to develop asthma allergies. That's why using sanitizers in the home is an act of insanity, because it's the antithesis of what the research is saying. The kids in the Amish community have very low rates of asthma and allergy, and they have very high bacterial diversity, because they have farm animals and pets. They have big families. So they're shedding [inaudible 00:36:14] to 37 million bacterial genome copies. Every person sheds that every hour into the household dust. And the more diverse that bacteria is the lower the risk of asthma and allergies.
So I don't want to be starting to use the sanitizers all over the house et cetera. If you've got any gastro or someone's sick, you're much better off to get a microfiber cloth and wipe those surfaces like your handles, door handles, fridge handles, et cetera with a microfiber cloth just to reduce the load and lift it off the surface. You don't want to chemically mutate by using chemicals and sanitizers that are high in these petrochemical solvents and, of course, potentially hormone disrupting chemicals to the family.
That's a good tip. And what you were saying just using that cloth to reduce the load, the bacterial load that you're potentially going to take it in with-
Which is unusual. Most of the time people don't have gastro, unless I've got a cold or flu and I want to reduce cross infection, then you're using a microfiber cloth on your high-usable areas, like your door handles, for example... especially your fridge handles, to prevent cross-contamination. But the most important thing is why is it that you could swab that entire family, and they've all got the virus or the bacteria, but only one person has symptoms? Because they're run down. So the big question is, "Why's everyone got that?"
Potentially, we all have coronavirus, but very few of us will show the symptoms. And that the real question is, as naturopath, "What is it that enables you to be exposed but not develop symptoms?" So how much sun exposure do you have? What is your diet like? How much clean air and clean water do you ingest? And what is your attitude like? And what's your stress levels like? And that's really the important questions to stimulate good health. It's a combination of all those issues.
You know Epstein-Barr virus, glandular fever, 90% of all [inaudible 00:38:09] to be exposed to the virus. I didn't get Epstein-Barr virus. Have you had glandular fever?
No, exactly. And I'm not sure if they swabbed you, they'd go, "Yeah." If they took your blood samples, they'd say, "Yeah, you've actually got the antibodies." Most people were exposed. The very few, a very tiny percentage actually develop it, and it's normally when they're immunocompromised because they're doing BCE or high school, year 11 and 12, because they've had a major stress. Someone's died. They're separated or a major trauma or poor diet or something like that that made them susceptible to that bug that their immune system couldn't get over it. And that's the reality of the viruses.
Yeah, the fact that these questions... I understand why they're not being asked on a larger level of if we want to... People are going, "It's such a mystery why some people aren't presenting any symptoms," and I'd assume that's terrible science if they just going to leave it there and then shrug their shoulders and go, "All right. Move on." They're not doing any tests on what's going on hormonally, what kind of level of health you're seeing in the nervous system, as you're saying, some exposure. It's all a bit ridiculous, and some would say that viral exposure and bacterial exposure is somewhat how we've evolved to become who we are today. So changes [crosstalk 00:39:19]-
Yes, well, mitochondria are bacteria, so we are bacteria.
Yeah, that's [crosstalk 00:39:24].
And there's some things we haven't discussed, like pesticides in our drinking water supply are really common in our tap water, for example. In bore well water, you don't know how much pesticides. My big concern with bore well water, which is only a small proportion of Australians who drink from bore water and a very high proportion of the U.S. that do. That's why they've had all those problems with the Love Canal, and towns in America where they're being exposed to all these flame retardants and other things like this... Is that with bore water you have to test on a very regular basis, because what the contaminants that could be, it can be naturally dry, because it's gone through rock that's highly radioactive or has high levels of arsenic, for example, in it. So you need to test. Or it could be upstream from a farm 200 kilometres away, but it's going into the aquifers, and it's now affecting the water supply. So with bore water, you really have to have a filter, because you don't know the fluctuations of what could be in it from any given moment in time, especially [crosstalk 00:40:22]
Yeah, that's the reality of spring water as well now, unfortunately as well, but I think we've got the ability to test, so we might as well do it. Yeah, the pesticide factor's a huge one. I don't know where it's at in terms of... Again, I've stopped mentioning where the data is at, because I don't understand, you know, via each municipal council as well, where the pharmaceutical levels are, I know at one point everyone was saying, whether it's the radioactivity of people... Whether it's the recycling of water from the people on chemotherapy and radiotherapy and antidepressants and all that kind of stuff staying in the water supply. How much truth is there to that still?
Well recycle waste water. We know we can't get rid of phthalates and antidepressants and a lot of pharmaceuticals they can't get out of it if it's recycled. So I'm very anti-recycling water. Britain's water supply, most of that is recycled, and a lot of Arab countries also have recycled water, because they're water poor, in so far as water isn't common in their countries and deserts, for example. It just shows that the antidepressants in a lot of the pharmaceutical drugs and the pill, for example, you can't actually filter it even with reverse osmosis filter, which is considered to be the queen of all the filters. So that is certainly a problem and continues to be a problem. So you would be having detectable levels of antidepressants in Britain's water supply by drinking their water, because you actually can't filter a lot of those pharmaceuticals out of, and many of them are things like antibiotics, from contraceptive pill, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs and, of course, you mentioned chemotherapeutic drugs which are highly toxic medications that are found in small levels, but they're still found in recycled water. That's why I would not ever drink recycled water.
No. It must be why they're so happy, all those antidepressants in the water. So lets some jump into water filters. So would you suggest we talk about in a two-tier in terms of what we would use potentially on the house and then what we'd use for drinking water?
Sure. So it depends if you've got tank water, then you needed UV filter, because microbes in the tank and the mosquito larvae and the animals getting the tank, can cause E. coli and faeces and you don't want that, so they definitely need the UV filters as part of the water filter system. But the main thing is that... Water filter, it's not magic. It's proper, hardcore science.
If you have a particle filter, like what we call a "sediment filter," it will filter down to about 20 microns or so. So it gets rid of all your dirt and your sediment and your sand and other things like that. And that's normally the filter you would use prior to then going into a carbon filter.
The carbon filter is mainly filtering organic matter, like pesticides and petrochemicals and chlorine. So that's getting rid of a lot of the chemicals that have a carbon as part of their atomic structure. That's what we call organic, so we mean "organic" in scientific terms. That means it contains carbon, not that it's free from pesticides. So sediment filter, which is normally a white, pleated filter, will get rid of the larger particles and dirt, and then it protects and increases the service life of the carbon filter, which it'll move next going through. Depending on how the granulated activated carbon is activated as to what micron size it is, as to how small these sediments can pass through, and how effective it is at filtering organic matter, like pesticides and petrochemicals and chlorine. So you can get different types of carbon filters, depending on whether they're one micron, five microns, ten microns. So one micron is going to be 10 times more forgiving than 10 microns, because the pore sizes are much smaller in the way that it's been activated in a oxygen-free environment when they're creating these carbon filters. So carbon is really, really important. In fact, it forms the two or three stages of carbon in a reverse osmosis filter.
Reverse osmosis is normally a five or six stage filtration system, contains pre-sediment filters, which is the particle filters I mentioned, then a carbon filter, I believe at least one or two carbon filters, and then ultimately it'll have an ultra filter membrane, which is in the angstrom, which is less than microns. It's so tiny that it will get rid of the smallest atom, which is fluoride, out of the water supply. But that ultra filter membrane costs about a couple hundred dollars to replace every five years or so, as opposed to the pre-sediment filter which might cost you $10 to replace every six months. Carbon filters you might replace every six months or so.
So yeah, water filtration is not rocket science. It's about physically removing the particles and then chemically removing the particles, so you sediment filters for particles, and then you use carbon filters to get rid of the chemicals, and then the ultra filter membrane will get rid of the very small atoms like all your toxic metals and your things like fluoride.
You also have alumina or aluminium type of filters that will help or iron exchange, that will attract toxic metals that will reduce them out of the filter. I don't like iron exchange filters, because they can impart the resins back into the water supply.
The other issues with all water filters, especially if they have carbon is that once the chemicals are sitting on the carbon filter, if that's full, it starts putting it back into the water supply. So you have to replace the water filters. I don't like water filters that say you never replace them. You need to replace the sediment filter. You should replace your carbon filter, because once those sites are taken up by those chemicals, you need to get rid of it and put in a new water filter.
So you're starting off, basically, with a reverse osmosis with that triple action, or is that third microfilter something additional?
Ultrafilter membrane? No, it's a part of reverse osmosis filtration system. I think reverse osmosis, it's the best in terms of physically getting rid of all the contaminants. There's no doubt about that. Some people would argue that it leaves acidic water. I would argue that everything in nature is acidic. If you look at the ocean, if you look at the lakes, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air from carboxylic acid and hydrogen ions, which actually makes everything in nature is slightly acidic.
I am really not into alkalizing the water, because your stomach has a pH, depending on before or after eating, of around 3, pH 3. And it needs to be to activate intrinsic factor, proteins to be able to create hormones and in order to digest proteins is really important. I don't want to alter that by drinking a whole lot of alkaline water and creating a buffer system in my gut, because most adults have low stomach acid, and their ability to digest proteins is already compromised, let alone drinking heaps of alkaline water and affecting your stomach acid even more. it doesn't make sense scientifically to drink alkaline water and equate that to alkaline blood. Blood alkaline is a very narrow range and to alter between it means you're probably going to be dead.
The only way to slightly alkalize your body in the blood is to go to a vegetarian diet. It's not by drinking alkaline water. So I'm not into alkaline water for that reason. I think most adults are low in stomach acid, and they need to be higher, and that's why apple cider vinegar, again, another fermented food is very useful and very useful for people with arthritis, because they don't digest proteins, so the apple cider vinegar helps them digestion helps them digest proteins, and suddenly their arthritis is better, because they're not absorbing proteins and polypeptides. It breaks it down into amino acids.
So I don't think we need to add another filter to the RO system in order to alkalize it at all. I think our nutrient should be coming from our food, not necessary from our water.
Now, of course, I haven't discussed the whole thing on the energetics of water, Masaru Emoto's research and all that stuff. You're at least 70-80% water, probably closer to 90%, now that we understand that we're bathed in this fluid. And I do believe how we think can affect the vibration of the water within us, without any shadow of a doubt. So in terms of the water and putting love and energy to it... I think we need more love and energy. We can take a lot more of that in the world-
... But I think it's very hard to quantify that.
It's one of those funny ones that it's not it's nice to... In order to be a real integrated person in this world, you need to have some real reality underneath your feet in terms of what you're saying and looking at the data and being able to actually back up your actions with some like, "Well, I'm using these filters in order to actually get these toxins out." But then otherwise, you're going to become a boring, stale, mental person if you just stay in that world altogether. And that's when you get like that... You shower it with that Earth poet love vibration that we can bring into us, just sending a little prayer into our waters before we drink it and appreciation for the fact that we've got access to water like this. I'm with you on that.
And I'm also with you on the alkaline water. I've never been into alkaline water. And I've been an advocate for spring water for so long, and spring water's generally always acidic, and river water's always neutral, generally. And so, you've absolutely knocked it out of the park in describing why that's not such a great idea long-term. I can't say for sure that it's not good in short-term healing protocols, but I actually... I wouldn't be going there first, as you said, there's other ways to do it... And breathing as well. Breathing is one of the most effective ways to alter alkalinity in the body, whether or not you're doing that so fast or not.
So do you go... Because the other argument around reverse osmosis is that it's demineralizing, it strips everything out and therefore, you need to go and add the things back in. It's one of the narratives around reverse osmosis. And sometimes I get a sense of it where if I've ever been in the city and getting those cartons of pure water that's reverse osmosis, sometimes feeling like it's... I feel like sometimes I'm left a little bit more... I'm wanting. Do you have any other strategies that you go-
Yeah. That's certainly an argument, and I think that's valid. I think adding a bit of salt, really good quality sea salt that's naturally full of lots of electrolytes and minerals are great way to enhance that. Yeah, it is something that you can do just by adding tiny little bit of really, really good quality salt to remineralize the water that way, especially when you're cooking. So, most of my water comes from... I do drink a lot of water... Would be I cook a lot of soup. So I'm adding all the minerals that are naturally in my organic veggies, et cetera, to the water supply and then really good quality salts to it that way. And I think that's where I mainly get a lot of those nutrients, just in the foodS that I'm cooking, and in the fact that I do it a lot... We eat a lot of soup here at home. So yes, I would certainly encourage people to maybe consider that, providing they don't have blood pressure, to add a really good quality, a little bit of salts to their water supply, especially if you're going to keep it in the fridge, too.
Yeah. Good to hear. That's normally what I travel with. I travel with my little sea salt, and I just splash that in there to keep me going book. Just kind of bringing it home. Do you have anything in terms of a whole house filter or maybe just a shower filter as a minimum requirement that people could go and investigate?
Yeah, absolutely. So on my website, buildingbiology.com.au, there's a list of water filtration systems that I recommend. With the showers filters, I don't sell them, but you can get them through a lot of the plumbing stores, Arcadia Showers. I do have a list of water shops that people can go to, and they're everywhere really, but KDF, mentioned in the book, is a really good one. It's about seventy odd dollars, and you put it to your shower. The only problem is, it screws into the walls. So you may not have [inaudible 00:52:45] in your shower to be able to do it as you mentioned, but that's a really simple one to stop the water... to get rid of the chlorine, so it's not irritating your skin.
Obviously, a whole-house system is ideal, and there is an Extreme Wellness whole-house filter system that I'm about to get involved with, which it looks fantastic. And you're not changing the filters as often as the ones that I've had before. I've had whole-house filter systems before, and every six months I have to replace these massive filters that are $50 each, and that's the wholesale cost, which shows me how clogged our system gets very, very quickly. As I said, "If you don't get a filter, your body's going to be the filter." So it's really important as often as you can is to filter the water system, especially what you're drinking, because you don't want to put that extra burden on the gut and certainly onto the kidneys. So there's the list there online, on my website and, of course, my book describes the different types of water filter systems.
Okay. We'll put that in the show notes. Jump over to the website. Always get the book and it's one of those books, I think I say it every time we talk, get a couple of them, because it's one of those ones, "Yeah, Healthy Home Healthy Family..." When you've got friends coming over, especially if it's... I think it's that pivotal time like when a mum or dad when they're starting to awaken to everything that's going on in terms of the toxic load within the house, and it gets really overwhelming... It's a really good book to just be able to go to your bookcase and just give them a copy. I highly recommend that. I've done that with [inaudible 00:54:20] couple, and I've done that, and I think everyone should... I got that habit from my mum years ago. She used to have a clinic, and then every now and then, someone would come in and start crying about the fact that they couldn't.. They were addicted to this or that, and she'd always have her favourite book to help him get over their addictions, and I always remember that. And those are the few books that sit in the back of my mind as one of those and yours definitely is.
Now is the best way to get informed of when say you... It would be great when you're working with the whole-house filter, people to be informed of that or just when the course is going to be launched. Is the mailing list the best way to do that?
Yeah, so I'll let you know. As we discussed prior to this interview that I'm developing a six-week Healthy Home course for the public, which will be really affordable and to dispel a lot of the myths, how to reduce the toxic load in the house, how to clean, simple things like how to get rid of mould that doesn't use [inaudible 00:55:17] and how to reduce exposure and prevent mould in the first place. Exposure to wireless technology, how to live technologically without exposure. So yeah, I'm really excited to launch that, a lot of simple tips for mums and dads and to dispel a lot of the myths that are out there on all of these things in the house.
That's so good. Yeah. I'm going to... We're going to Make sure we blast that out there to the SupestFeast crew aswell, because it's one of those things as well, we're doing tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms and trying to look for immunological sovereignty, and building back Kidney. You know everything about that. And Jing deficiency in this world, but at the same deal, it's why we like having these chats, because... That's Goji in the background, coughing up a lung... A dog, not a human coughing up a lung.
I'm just glad you clarified it wasn't your backside.
Sneezing, sneezing out a lung, weren't you, Goji. Sorry, I don't want to misrepresent you.
If we can match all these beautiful things we're doing with herbalism and food and movement with... And something, it's really... It's underrepresented, ramping up creating bacterial biodiversity in your home and getting the chemical out of your home with these very simple tips. Understanding how to remove mould. It's huge and it just takes us to another level. So we're going to stay in the loop, make sure everyone goes and jumps on the mailing list over at buildingbiology.com?
Beautiful. Thanks so much for coming on again-
... and learning us up about water.
Thank you so much for inviting me. Anytime.
See you next time.