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Osmio Water Technology Blog

Read our knowledge and advice on water, health, medicine, nutrition and more

  • What is California’s Proposition 65? 

    In 1986, California voters approved the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act known as Proposition 65. https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65 The purpose of Proposition 65 is to ensure that people are informed about exposure to chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm. 

    Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicalshttps://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987. It must be updated at least once a year. 

    It also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water. 

    Additionally, it requires businesses who sell products in the State of California to notify Californians about significant amounts of these listed chemicals that may exist in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. 

    The List  

    The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be by products of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust. 

    Over 800 chemicals https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals have been listed under California Prop 65. They include pesticides, heavy metals, and Vitamin A at certain levels. 

    Certain listed chemicals, such as lead, are widely distributed through the environment in air, soil, water, and rocks. As a result, these types of chemicals are often found in commonly eaten foods and throughout the food supply even though these chemicals are not intentionally added to foods or nutritional supplements. 

    To check the whole list click here. https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals 

    Who is listing them? 

    A chemical can be listed if it has been classified as a carcinogen or as a reproductive toxicant by an organization deemed "authoritative" on the subject. For carcinogens, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer are deemed authoritative. With respect to reproductive toxicants, the authorities are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. A chemical can also be listed if it is required to be labeled or identified as a carcinogen or as a reproductive toxicant by an agency of the state or federal government. 

    How are chemicals added to the list? 

    There are four ways https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/how-chemicals-are-added-proposition-65-list for a chemical to be added to the Proposition 65 list. 

    First way: 

    A chemical can be listed if either of two independent committees of scientists and health professionals finds that the chemical has been clearly shown to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These two committees-the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) and the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART) Identification Committee-are part of OEHHA's Science Advisory Board. The committee members are appointed by the Governor and are designated as the "State's Qualified Experts" for evaluating chemicals under Proposition 65.  

    When determining whether a chemical should be placed on the list, the committees base their decisions on the most current scientific information available. OEHHA staff scientists compile all relevant scientific evidence on various chemicals for the committees to review. The committees also consider comments from the public before making their decisions. 

    Second way: 

    A second way for a chemical to be listed is if an organization designated as an "authoritative body" by the CIC or DART Identification Committee has identified it as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. The following organizations have been designated as authoritative bodies: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Toxicology Program, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. 

    Third way: 

    A third way for a chemical to be listed is if an agency of the state or federal government requires that it be labeled or identified as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. Most chemicals listed in this manner are prescription drugs that are required by the U.S. FDA to contain warnings relating to cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. 

    Fourth way: 

    A fourth way requires the listing of chemicals meeting certain scientific criteria and identified in the California Labor Code as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This method established the initial chemical list following voter approval of Proposition 65 in 1986 and continues to be used as a basis for listing as appropriate. 

     

    How does Proposition 65 influence on business? 

    If a Proposition 65 warning is posted, it means that the business issuing the warning knows that one or more listed chemicals is merely present in its product. A warning must be given unless a business demonstrates that the exposure it causes poses "no significant risk." 

    With respect to carcinogens, the "no significant risk" level is defined as the level which is calculated to result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed over a 70-year lifetime. In other words, if you are exposed to the chemical in question at this level every day for 70 years, theoretically, it will increase your chances of getting cancer by no more than 1 case in 100,000 individuals so exposed. 

    With respect to reproductive toxicants, the "no significant risk" level is defined as the level of exposure which, even if multiplied by 1,000, will not produce birth defects or other reproductive harm. In other words, the level of exposure is below the "no observable effect level," divided by 1,000. (The "no observable effect level" is the highest dose level which has not been associated with observable reproductive harm in humans or test animals.) 

    The California government has also clarified that “The fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe.”  The government has also explained, “You could think of Proposition 65 more as a ‘right to know’ law than a pure product safety law.” 

    Because businesses do not file reports with OEHHA regarding what warnings they have issued and why, OEHHA is not able to provide further information about any particular warning. The business issuing the warning should be contacted for specific information, such as what chemicals are present, and at what levels, as well as how exposure to them may occur. 

    To further assist businesses, OEHHA develops numerical guidance levels, known as “safe harbor numbers” (described below) for determining whether a warning is necessary or whether discharges of a chemical into drinking water sources are prohibited. 

    OEHHA has developed safe harbor levels to guide businesses in determining whether a warning is necessary or whether discharges of a chemical into drinking water sources are prohibited. A business has "safe harbor" from Proposition 65 warning requirements or discharge prohibitions if exposure to a chemical occurs at or below these levels. These safe harbor levels consist of No Significant Risk Levels for chemicals listed as causing cancer and Maximum Allowable Dose Levels for chemicals listed as causing birth defects or other reproductive harm. OEHHA has established over 300 safe harbor levels to date and continues to develop more levels for listed chemicals. 

     

    Warning labels 

    Businesses are required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This warning can be given by a variety of means, such as by labeling a consumer product, posting signs at the workplace, distributing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with warning requirements 

    Sometimes you will see a product for sale that has a label with a warning along the lines of the following:

    This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm. 

    You may also see this warning at the point of purchase at an online retailer or for a catalog item. 

    California has two different types of warnings – those for cancer and those for reproductive health effects. Some products have one or the other of these warnings and some products have both warnings.  

    These warnings are required by California labeling law Proposition 65 (or Prop 65 for short), which is meant to notify individuals in California of exposures to Prop 65-listed chemicals. Prop 65 does not ban the sale of any products containing these chemicals; it only requires warnings. 

     

     

    What’s the difference between cancer and reproductive toxicity? 

    A chemical listed under Prop 65 as a carcinogen has been shown (often in laboratory animal studies) to cause cancer. A chemical listed under Prop 65 as a reproductive toxin has been shown (again, often in laboratory animal studies) to cause male or female reproductive toxicity or developmental toxicity. These tests are often performed with very high doses of chemicals. NOTE: NOW Foods does not test its products on animals. 

     Why do I see Proposition 65 if I don’t live in California? 

    Modern supply chains typically distribute products throughout the U.S. or a region of the U.S. It can be very difficult for companies whose products are distributed both inside and outside of California to arrange for the warning to be delivered only to customers in California. Many companies include the warning on their product label itself, in other widely-distributed literature or on their website, in which case the warning may appear no matter where the actual sale occurs. 

    Food grown near roads or old buildings may be contaminated with lead due to historical use of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint18, 19. Food grown near, downstream, or downwind from industrial sites, landfills, and military bases may also be contaminated with various chemicals; for example, much of the U.S. mid-west is contaminated with traces of radioactive fallout from the nuclear tests in Nevada in the 1950’s20, 21. Food from the ocean, lakes, and rivers often contains trace levels of various contaminants, such as mercury and pesticides in fish.  

    Since everyone consumes water each day in one form or another, drinking water can be a source of daily exposure to Prop-65 listed chemicals. Lead, arsenic, pesticides, radioactive isotopes, chlorination by-products, and other chemicals may be found at low levels in many water supplies. 

    When a food product or any other consumer product made with drinking water contains a Prop 65-listed chemical, any portion of the chemical contributed to the product by drinking water is not used to determine whether a Prop 65 warning is needed. 

    Where to get more information? 

    A great deal of information is available from authoritative sources regarding chemicals in food. Here are a few sources to consider. 

    This information is provided by the American Herbal Products Association 

  • Plastic chemicals in bottled water

    All of plastic water bottles are made with chemicals known as plastcizers which makes plastic  that we use everyday durable and flexible. There are two main forms of plastic.
    First one is called Polyvinil chloride (PVC) and the other one is polycarbonate plastics.
    PVC contains the most common used commercial plasticizer called phthalates.

    Polycarbonate plastics contain a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA).  On the bottom of most products you can find out from which kind of plastic they are made.

    Commercial products like water and soda bottles are made from PETE or PET – polyethylene terephthalate. The ingredients have flame retardants and UV stabilizers added. It’s the most commonly recycled plastic by most cities.

    Some cling wrap you use to preserve food, plastic containers, plumbing pipes, soft beverage bottles, shower curtains, some children toys, vinyl windows, and many other items are made from PVC or V - polyvinyl chloride. Made from petroleum resins and have flame retardants added too.

    Polycarbonate plastic is mostly used for electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment and medical devices, for reusable bottles and food storage containers that can be conveniently used in the refrigerator and microwave. Also used in tableware, 5 gallon water bottles, some baby bottles, and lining of metal food cans and others.

    The primary building block used to make polycarbonate plastic is bisphenol A (BPA).
    Many researchers have studied the potential for trace levels of BPA to migrate from polycarbonate into food and beverages under conditions typical for uses of polycarbonate products. These studies include ones conducted by government agencies in the US, Europe and Japan, as well as studies conducted by academic researchers and by industry.

    Although the study data and analyses shows that potential human exposure to BPA from polycarbonate products in contact with foods and beverages is very low and poses no known risk to human health there are opposite reactions from the public and some free media.

    You probably can’t avoid bisphenol A (BPA). They are all around us, in compact discs, car parts, carpets, floor tiles, cosmetics - the list is endless. If you see plastic that is soft and pliable, then it is because of phthalates.

    Have you ever noticed how a re-used water bottle becomes brittle over time? That is because the phthalates have leached out of it - and you have drunk them.

    They mimic estrogen, which can change the way your endocrine system functions. In humans, exposure has been linked to chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma, and cancer
    Some of the researches that are known in US are influencing people’s opinions.

    Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD, associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Washington /Seattle Children’s Research Institute who researches endocrine-disrupting chemicals, says that although more research is needed, the results suggest that when BPA imitates estrogen, it interferes with different stages of pregnancy, such as fertilisation and implantation.

    So prevalent is BPA that tests by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention in 2004 found it in 93 per cent of urine samples taken from a group of 2,517 people.
    Furthermore, a landmark report on BPA published in 2008 by the U.S. National Toxicology Program concluded that there were concerns over BPA’s effects on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland development in foetuses, infants and children. It also found that because of the ratio of body weight to exposure, ‘the highest estimated daily intake of Bisphenol A in the general population occurs in infants and children’.

    Over the past few decades an estimated £150million has been spent on research into BPA, resulting in the publication of more than 5,000 papers - and scientists are still arguing over whether or not it is harmful.

    Such concerns also extend to phthalates - there are 25 different kinds and several are already banned in children’s toys in the EU and for certain types of food packaging.

    If you are concerned, you could avoid plastic mineral water bottles and use glass or stainless steel bottles filled from your tap or purifier. You could microwave meals in ‘microwave safe’ glass or on a plate instead of plastic containers. And if you want to store food in plastic containers, hunt down those that are labelled as BPA-free.

    After all, it's ridiculous (economically and environmentally) to constantly buy bottled water only to throw the bottle away each time. And even if you end up reusing those bottles, they could still potentially be harmful due to the leaching of chemicals into the water.

    In fact, a Harvard study showed participants' BPA levels increase after just one week of drinking from plastic bottles. But even removing just this one compound may not be enough.
    Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the main polymer used to produce plastic bottles, and has previously been shown to affect the hormonal system.

    How can you reduce your exposure to toxins released by plastic?

    • Exchange your plastic bottles for stainless steel or glass
    • Invest in a good quality carbon water filter and filter your tap water and store it in glass or ceramic containers
    • It takes years for nature to completely break down these products even though manufacturers claim that they have a half-life of ten days.
    • But have you seen plastic water bottles disintegrate in a few weeks? Rather, they seem to accumulate over a number of years. It takes a significant length of time for nature to disassemble the components of plastic. Then all the toxic matter is released into the surrounding environment to further poison soil, water, and air.

    Osmio Water offer a variety of choice for you to have the purest water possible by technology.

    Our whole house filter systems are designed to remove a wide array of water impurities (chlorine, toxins, heavy metals, etc) and to also remove any unpleasant tastes or odour issues which may be present in your water supply.

    Glass and stainless steel bottles are reusable and do not contaminate the environment, also using filter systems is an alternative we all need to embrace with diligence.

    Terrible to the environment:

    Around the world, people throw away roughly four million tons of trash every day; that's enough to fill 350,000 garbage trucks or 10 Empire State Buildings. About 12.8 percent of that waste is plastic, which causes big problems for wildlife: some animals mistake plastic for food, while others can become entangled in the trash. But all those plastic bottles use a lot of fossil fuels and pollute the environment.

    In fact, Americans buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world, adding 29 billion water bottles a year to the problem. In order to make all these bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s enough oil to keep a million cars going for twelve months.
    Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle.

    So why don’t more people drink water straight from the kitchen faucet? Some people drink bottled water because they think it is better for them than water out of the tap, but that’s not always true.

    People love the convenience of bottled water. But maybe if they realized the problems it causes, they would try drinking from a glass at home or carrying water in a refillable steel container instead of plastic.

    Unfortunately, for every six water bottles we use, only one makes it to the recycling bin. The rest are sent to landfills. Or, even worse, they end up as trash on the land and in rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Plastic bottles take many hundreds of years to disintegrate.

    Osmio Water offer reverse osmosis filters that provide a unique filtration method used to produce clean good tasting water for the whole house and even the garden - for plants, paddling pools and so on, keeping your environment safe too.

    Contaminants bottled water may have in it

    There’s no official list of contaminants of bottled water, but you can find some unofficial reports in the US under FDA standards.
    FDA allows certain levels of contaminants in bottled water under the standard of quality (21 CFR, 165.110[b]).

    1. Coliform. Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria, such as E. coli, that are normally present in the human intestine. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 9.2 coliform organisms per 100 millilitres. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    2. Arsenic. Arsenic is a poison. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 0.05 milli-grams per litre of arsenic. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    3. Chloride. Chloride is a compound of chlorine, a substance used to disinfect tap water. The FDA allows up to 250.0 milligrams per litre of chloride in bottled water. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    4. Iron. Iron is a metallic element. Your body needs some iron, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 0.3 milligrams per litre of iron. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    5. Manganese. Manganese resembles iron and is used in fertilisers. Bottled water may contain up to 0.05 milligrams per litre of manganese. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    6. Phenols. Phenols are corrosive, poisonous acidic compounds. Your bottled water may contain up to 0.001 milligrams per litre of phenols. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    7. Dissolved solids. “Dissolved solids” is a catch-all phrase. The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 500 milligrams per litre of dissolved solids, of whatever type. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    8. Zinc. Zinc is a metallic element. Your body needs some zinc, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 5.0 milligrams per litre of zinc. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    9. Fluoride. Fluoride is purposely added to some bottled water. If so, the label should say so. In addition, bottled water that is not labelled as containing fluoride may contain up to 2.4 milli-grams per litre of fluoride. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

     

    Chemical contaminants bottled water may have in it.

    The FDA allows set levels of the following chemical contaminants in all bottled water. Amounts vary, but some are shocking, such as Barium or Cyanide.
    Here is a sampling of chemical contaminants bottled water has in it, along with the permitted milligrams per litre.

    • Barium……………………………… 2.0
    • Chromium……………………………. 0.1
    • Copper……………………………… 1.0
    • Cyanide…………………………….. 0.2
    • Nickel……………………………… 0.1
    • Ethylbenzene (100-41-4)………………. 0.7
    • Monochlorobenzene (108-90-7)………….. 0.1
    • Styrene (100-42-5)…………………… 0.1
    • Toluene (108-88-3)…………………… 1.0
    • Xylenes (1330-20-7)………………….. 10.0

     

    Bottled may have Pesticides in it.

    The FDA allows set levels of pesticides in bottled water. There are set limits for each of 29 different pesticides. People who purchase bottled water believe, normally, that they are avoiding pesticides by doing so. For a listing of these pesticides, see 21 CFR 165.110[b].
    Disinfectants bottled water may have in it.

    The FDA allows bottled water to contain set levels of residual disinfectants and disinfection byproducts. Examples from 21 CFR 165.110[b]:

    Disinfection byproducts
    • Bromate…………………………… 0.010
    • Chlorite………………………….. 1.0
    • Haloacetic acids (five) (HAA5)………. 0.060
    • Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM)………… 0.080

    Residual disinfectants
    • Chloramine………………………… 4.0 (as Cl2)
    • Chlorine………………………….. 4.0 (as Cl2)
    • Chlorine dioxide…………………… 0.8 (as ClO2)

    Bottled water may have Radioactive materials in it. 

    The FDA allows bottled water to contain set levels of radioactive material. See 21 CFR 165.110[b]. Three examples:

    •  “The bottled water shall not contain a combined radium-226 and radium-228 activity in excess of 5 picocuries per litre of water.”
    • “The bottled water shall not contain a gross alpha particle activity in excess of 15 picocuries per litre of water.”
    • “The bottled water shall not contain uranium in excess of 30 micro-grams per litre of water.”
      Bottled water has in it more than regulations allow.

    When bottled water does not meet the standards set out by the FDA, it might still be sold. By law in , it should bear a suitable label.

    Examples:

    1. “Contains Excessive Bacteria”
    2. “Contains Excessive Arsenic”
    3. “Excessively Radioactive”

    Water is good for you, so keep drinking it. But think about how often you use water bottles, and see if you can make a change.

  • A guide to aquarium water quality

    aquarium water quality

    Aquarium water quality can be a difficult topic especially for people new to fish keeping. pH measures the water's acidity/alkalinity. The pH scale runs from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline) and pH7 is an ideal level for the majority of fish (and also humans as our blood pH is around 7.3). Some fish do prefer different pH levels so make sure you check this before you buy.

    A temperature of 24-26 degrees is standard for a tropical aquarium and is regulated by a thermostat in the heater.

    A thermometer should be visible in the tank to ensure the temperature does not fluctuate. Ammonia and nitrite levels should be regulated and although they both occur naturally from fish waste, bacteria living inside your filter convert these dangerous chemicals intro nitrates which is less harmful.

    Regular water changes should keep these levels close to zero. However, bacteria take time to build up and new tanks are particularly susceptible to high levels of dangerous chemicals. A filter boost can be added to promote the growth of bacteria and speed up the process.

    To maintain ideal water conditions and prevent the build-up of dangerous chemicals in the new aquariums, perform water changes at least once per week removing 20% of the tank's volume and replacing it with clean and dechlorinated water. You can reduce the frequency of water changes to once fortnightly when the chemical levels have settled down. You will need to rinse the filter media on a regular basis to remove large sediment and the impellor inside the filter from sludge, but in both cases you must ensure you rinse with water from your tank and not from the tap.

     

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