Why You Still Shouldn’t Cook With Hot Tap Water

I grew up not drinking hot water from the tap (my parents didn’t, and I eventually looked it up and found out that in old homes, lead can leach from solder). Now that I have a high-efficiency tankless hot water heater and replaced the copper piping with PEX, can I safely use hot water from the tap for cooking? I must be able to save some energy vs. boiling cold water for pasta.

Source: Is It Safe to Cook With Hot Tap Water?

Good time to bring up that you can boil water faster if you microwave half of it

Surprising news, considering that home insurance gives discounts for having PEX because PEX is less likely to fail.  Water damage in a house is admittedly bad for everyone.

Always check your Water Tank Anode if your tank is more than 5 years old, and replace it ASAP. The minute that anode is corroded enough to be ineffective, that water is eating at your tank – not the rod. You should also drain the tank once a year till it runs clean too.

Lead Exposure in Mothers can Affect Future Generations

A human girl develops their eggs while in the womb. A mother not only holds her daughter but the eggs of her grandchildren…

A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

Source: Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations

Lead-based paint and leaded gasoline weren’t banned until the late 1980s and still pose a significant health risk to many vulnerable populations (e.g. young children). Interestingly, leaded gasoline was actually phased out because it was causing the newly invented catalytic converters to get clogged. It wasn’t until after leaded gasoline was banned that people made the connection between high blood lead levels and leaded gasoline use.

Lead mostly poses a health risk to minorities and low-income residents though. Areas where homes are still coated with untreated lead-based paint that has now began to peel off and contaminate the soil. Children that are crawling on the floor/ground will get lead on their hands and later put their fingers in their mouths–this is the most common way.

Lead poses a unique risk to women (and children) due to the fact that lead is stored in the bones. During pregnancy, lead becomes agitated and will re-enter the bloodstream and be passed on to the child.

Today, researchers still have not found a toxicity threshold for lead, which essentially means that any amount of lead will have adverse health effects. Low-level lead poisoning negatively effects cognitive functioning and can cause individuals to exhibit lower IQs.

Bonus Time!

The Thrifty Phenotype (AKA Barker Hypothesis) – intergenerational disease risk in an elegant little bundle. First documented in Dutch children born in times of famine during WWII I think it was, but recognized all over now.  You could use known week of conception and a chart showing just when citrus became hard to come by in a given region to predict weight or head-to-waist circumference ratio at birth. And while that’s cool on its own, you could also use similar info to predict an individual’s risk for heart disease or or diabetes in adulthood.

Getting a Tiny Bit of This Element on Your Skin Will Make You Reek of Garlic for Weeks

Tellurium is usually found stuck to various metals in the ground. It forms ores with gold, silver, copper, and lead. When refining these metals, some unfortunate people have come into contact with purified tellurium—and exposure means you reek of garlic for weeks.

Source: Getting a Tiny Bit of This Element on Your Skin Will Make You Reek of Garlic for Weeks

It’s standard practice to dissolve drug candidates in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) when they are used. If you ever taste garlic, you’re instructed to drop what you’re doing and get to a hospital.  😉

Chemicals Not Considered Carcinogenic May Still Cause Cancer When Combined

It’s well-known that certain substances like asbestos cause cancer. Now, new research shows that combined effects of chemicals not thought to be carcinogenic on their own may be a significant cause of the deadly disease.

Source: Chemicals not thought to be carcinogenic may still cause cancer when combined

It makes sense, and some have raised the alarm about beauty products in particular.  But you’d have to figure we’d have seen a rise in cancer and some sort of correlation, rather than someone trying to backtrack.

There’s Lead in Your Farm, But Here’s How to Get It Out

Urban farmers who have their soil tested for heavy metals and other contaminants can get a nasty shock when they realize what would be coursing through the food they grow on their land. Establish an innocent little vegetable patch and you’ll be serving your family a salad full of fresh lead.

Happily, contaminated soil doesn’t mean farming is out of the question. A relatively small investment in compost and new topsoil can mean a relatively large drop in contaminants. Some urban farmers put in raised beds that keep the plants they intend to eat out of contact with the soil. And then there’s another solution: phytoremediation.

Source: There’s Lead in Your Farm, But Here’s How to Get It Out

I do not recommend eating Indian mustard, or mustard greens in general.  3.5 oz/100 grams of mustard greens contains 592.7 mcg of vitamin K, or 564% of the Daily Value (DV).

Same recommendation goes for Chinese cabbage.  100 grams of Chinese cabbage contains 42.9 mcg of vitamin K, or 54% DV.  It’s not as bad for us as mustard greens, but certainly higher than most what I’ve profiled to date.

Why Lead Is Bad For Humans

Given that humans have been using lead in various product for over 8,000 years (with the first known mining of it in Anatolia around 6500 BCE), you might be surprised to learn that we have known that lead is dangerous and shouldn’t be trifled with since at least 150 BC, when its effects on the human body were noted by famed Greek physician Nicander of Colophon. Nicander even went so far as to describe the metal as “deadly”, writing extensively on the crippling effects it has on the human body in his work, Alexipharmaca.

Source: Why is Lead Bad For Humans?

Part of the reason for so many jokes about slack jawed yokels, pre-meth era, was that cider presses and stills tended to be made of lead.

Arsenic in the Water: Heart Risk

Ana Navas-Acien can’t quite recall the moment when she began to worry about arsenic in drinking water and its potential role in heart disease.  Perhaps it was when she read a study suggesting a link among people in Bangladesh.  And a similar study in Taiwan. And in Chile.

Several years ago, Dr. Navas-Acien, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, decided to see if similar links could be found in the United States.

Source: A Heart Risk in Drinking Water

Sadly, the article doesn’t have any suggestions for preventative measures.  Only that they were looking at filters on wells.  Ground/well water is largely the focus.