Sunday, April 6, 2014

Water Filtering with Activated Charcoal

Thanks for bearing with me while I let the Tchazo post sit front and center on the blog for a while. As we gain more distance from the loss, we are finding our new normal in our much quieter house. I have been doing a lot of cleaning and in doing so I have come to realize that cleaning is my form of burning sage. I went on a cleaning jag when we lost Jack, too and it really seemed to help me. There is something about a good deep clean that resets things and eases transitions for me. Thanks to those who shared words of supports on the post, on facebook, and in real life and to those that kept us in their thoughts. It was a comfort to have our loss recognized and to know that others understand that pets are family members, too. Now, let's shift the focus to something life sustaining, like water!

When I was evaluating what I needed to change after my allergy testing results, I started to research our city water. I found out that as far as municipal water goes, Minneapolis does a great job. There is even a local organization promoting tap water over bottles water, which I totally support. However, I also found out that to meet regulations, the city has to treat the water with chloramines. (I called the treatment center and spoke to a staff person there to verify.) For the ultra-sensitive like myself, this could pose a problem.

After I found that information out, I began to research filtration options that would not introduce other risks/exposures and that had a low cost of entry.  I settled on activated charcoal/carbon as a option that would be easy to implement and well supported in studies (this is what many filters like Britta are made out of).  Sadly, I could not find a way to filter shower water without plastic being involved, so I settled on the simplest activated charcoal filter I could find.  For drinking water, I was able to find an exciting option: Kishu charcoal!  It is a pleasingly minimalist solution:      

In the package I ordered, I got 3 sticks.  I opted for using the smallest one in a drinking glass on my bedside stand, the middle sized one in a small pitcher on the dining table and the largest in a pitcher in the kitchen.

I refresh them every few weeks in boiling water and will eventually need to buy another round after a few months.  But, when that time comes, I can use the sticks in the garden or as a deodorizer in the fridge. Win-win!

As for the taste of the water, it could be a placebo effect, but I love it!  I think it tastes really good! Plus, having a pitcher of room temperature water in plain site has meant I drink more water and that the water I am drinking is at a temperature my acupuncturist would approve of.

In the research I did, I read what the Environmental Protection Agency had to say about links between chloramine and skin issues.  If you would like to read it yourself, it can be found here and here.  You don't have to read it, though, because I can sum it up for you.  This is what I took from it, "We haven't done much research.  Skin issues are complicated.  That said, we haven't been able to prove chloramines are a problem so we are going to assume they are safe."  Well, EPA, you are right that skin issues are complicated, but I am going to make the opposite assumption.  I am going to assume the less chemicals I drink and shower in the better off I will be.  So, I am going with the filters for now.


  1. Good morning! First, I'm so sorry about your loss, I'm a long time reader but don't think I've ever actually commented. I think your post on Tchazo was beautifully done and I hope you are feeling better every day.

    I, too, have been struggling with sensitive skin - I have been breaking out in a hot blotchy red face after every shower and despite occasionally going down to just water (no products) I still seem to have trouble. I'm trying the shampoo/conditioner set from the makers of Vanicream right now and I think it might actually be making a big difference. Maybe I need to actually wash out all those offending agents? Anyway, thanks so much for putting all the information that you are learning on the blog, it has been really helpful to me. Also, as a new resident of Saint Paul (since last summer) your blog has been immensely helpful in getting an idea of some interesting things to do in town. It has been a doozy of a winter, being the first one, and clicking through your old posts yesterday was a real fresh breath and calmed me right down that it might actually be fun to live here. :)

    1. Hello and thanks for the comment. I am indeed feeling a little better each day. Distraction is helpful :)

      Welcome to the Twin Cities and I apologize for the rough winter it laid on you right from the start. I guess if you can make it through this one, the rest will seem easy. Spring here is beautiful! You are about to witness the wonder that is everyone emerging out into the world full of joy and gratitude that the winter is over.

      I hope you find some relief soon. I personally had a terrible experience with the Vanicream products (they contain my main allergen), but I know a lot of dermatologists favor them.

      Here's to finding bits of comfort when and where we can :)

  2. Hi Trinity, I agree that deep cleaning your house is the best thing to take your mind off of things. It is a big adjustment loosing a loving pet. It took me three months to talk about Riley with crying. So here is our update. We have a new puppy. HIS name is Coal and our other two older pups (16 and 14) are happy (most days) that he is here. It has been 14 yrs since we had a young puppy and it is a huge adjustment and at times, I call him Riley.

    My cousin, Sandy, had messaged you about a month ago as she is troubled with skin issues, too. I will let her know about the Charcoal. Thanks for keeping us informed about the different products and hopefully, you are finding some relief.

    Happy Spring

    Hugs, Mary Lynn

  3. The use of carbon extends so far back into history that its origin is impossible to document. Charcoal was used for drinking water filtration system by ancient Hindus in thanks.

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  7. issues with bloating or even a possible food poisoning issue, then you should always have this Activated Charcoal in hand. charcoal


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