Doctor’s have been telling us to drink six to eight glasses of water everyday for a very good reason. As solid as appears to be, the human body is actually a vast sea. Two-thirds of it is made up of water which comprises 83 percent of the blood, 75 percent of muscle, 74 percent of the brain, and 22 percent of bones.

"Without water, humans would die quickly. While survival for several weeks without other nutrients is possible, people can live only a few days without water. Even a small loss of water in the body can be serious: a five percent loss makes the skin shrink and the muscles weak, a 10 percent loss causes major medical problems; and a 20 percent loss is associated with death," according to Dr. Susan Baker and Roberta Henry of the Boston Children's Hospital in “Parents' Guide to Nutrition.”

"In addition to comprising such a large proportion of the body, water serves many vital roles. It transports nutrients in the blood; plays an important part in digestion, nutrient absorption, and elimination of body wastes in urine and sweat; dissolves other elements needed in metabolism; maintains body temperature through sweating; lubricates joints and other body tissues; provides a cushion for the fetus; aids in growth and body repair; and helps eliminate solid waste," Baker and Henry added.

Because water is essential to life and performs several important functions, the amount we lose daily through urination and perspiration must be continuously replaced. And there's no better way to do this than by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables which are made of approximately 80 to 95 percent water.

Pollution, however, is slowly poisoning this life-giving liquid. Although tap water is normally treated and filtered to make it safe for drinking, old rusty pipes and illegal connections leave room for contamination.

Worse, chlorine, which is usually added to kill large numbers of bacteria in water, not only alters its taste but may not eliminate viruses, microscopic particles or cancer-causing industrial pollutants. This problem exists even in the United States with its modern treatment system.

"Thanks to chlorination of water supplies, first intro¬duced in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1908, epidemics of cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and other water-borne diseases are pretty much a thing of the past. But slips still occur, and experts report that more than 10,000 Americans become ill each year from infectious organisms ingested in drinking water. It is only the unusual outbreak that receives public notice," said Jane Brody, an award-winning columnist of the New York Times in her “Nutrition Book.”

The situation is probably worse in other countries where numerous leaks and illegal connections allow drinking water to be contaminated. Although local water authorities claim the water treatment system is modern and meets the standards set by the local health department, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of water-borne diseases like gastroenteritis, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and infectious hepatitis tell a different story. (Next: How to purify water.)

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Author's Bio: 

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine