Originally published October 8 2014
Mother campaigns for clean water after arsenic-associated cancer took son's life
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Arsenic is considered a carcinogen and is linked to various cancers and other diseases. High doses have been used to poison people surreptitiously, because it is colorless and odorless. There are two types of arsenic, organic and inorganic.
The most insidiously toxic is inorganic, but low levels of either or both types consumed in drinking water can lead to cancer. The EPA has lowered the threshold of arsenic in municipal drinking water from 50 to 10 parts per billion, but there are no guidelines for well water.
The "water lady's" story There's a woman in rural southern Georgia who is on a personal crusade to inform others of the dangers of arsenic poisoning from well water. It so happens that wells provide a lot of water for personal use, and it also happens that cancer cases and arsenic toxicity are high there.
Janet McMahan became known as the "water lady" after her own illness and the loss of her son made her aware of arsenic in their drinking water as a major issue. Around 2008, she was plagued by skin cancers on her body where there was no sun exposure, and both family dogs had developed cancer.
As part of her preparation to deliver a speech in her local church on world hunger, she researched Bangladesh and discovered that many people there were suffering from chronic arsenic exposure from well water supplies.
She contemplated her experiences and the fact that she and her family were using well water, and had an "aha" insight. The source of her skin cancers must be linked to their well water.
She and her husband, family physician and past president of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians Dr. Howard McMahan, had their tap water tested. Nothing too unusual was detected. But then they decided to test water from their hot water heater. The arsenic meter spiked.
The McMahans pointed out that, since arsenic can accumulate in body tissues over time if it isn't completely eliminated, the hot water heater served as an example of what was going on with daily consumption of arsenic in water.
More and more cases of cancers and arsenic poisoning from well water users in that region were analyzed to detect a pattern in that area. Meanwhile, by no longer using that water, Janet's health improved.
But their abstinence was too late for their college student son Ben, who was diagnosed with gastro-esophageal junction adenocarcinoma at the age of 24.
All the best mainstream approaches at Sloane-Kettering in NYC probably hastened young Ben's death, which was attributed to cancer instead of removing vital organ parts or chemotherapy.
Janet feels certain that his death came from the water. This inspired her tireless crusade of getting others in southern Georgia equipped to isolate and contain the arsenic-water issue. But it's not just well water that contains arsenic. Various factory farm and Big Ag practices have soaked the ground with arsenic that seeps into ground water.
Chicken feeds contain compounds that morph into arsenic, and factory farms have used chicken poop as fertilizer. Southern states that had focused on cotton crops used pesticides and fertilizers that contained arsenic compounds. Now, the rice that they grow is rife with arsenic.
Once arsenic is absorbed into the soil, it doesn't break down into harmless compounds.
Around the time when Janet's son Ben was undergoing conventional cancer treatments, a high-ranking Georgia state health official wrote Janet with the explanation that a recent drought had caused groundwater in the area to become more concentrated with arsenic.
With all this happening in addition to water fluoridation, it's wise to use reverse osmosis/carbon-filtered water with added ultraviolet light that's available in most food stores at 25 to 50 cents a gallon.
That system handles both types of arsenic and most of the fluoride. Simply adding a pinch of sea salt per pint of water restores much of the mineral content filtered out.
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