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Emergency Survival / Prepping >
Storing potable water can be one of the trickiest parts of prepping. It is crucial to have water on hand, though, if the local water supply becomes contaminated or simply isn’t accessible. The problem with storing water is that the shelf life is typically short, and there’s a risk of chemicals from the packaging leaching into the water. Filtration and purification systems are good to have on hand, but they only benefit when there is an actual water supply.
Luckily, there is a company that figured out how to can pure water so that it has a 50 year shelf life. Blue Can Premium Emergency Water is packaged in 12 ounce cans, and can be stored between 33 degrees F to 150 degrees F for up to 50 years.
We’re of the mindset that clean water is safe water. Unfortunately, that can’t be said of those trying to make a buck by selling the “health conscious” on what they’re calling “raw water”: untreated H20 (often sourced from who knows where). While straight-from-the-spring water can be safe, experts point out that “the cleanliness of the water depends on things you can't see—whether herds of elk or moose or caribou have relieved themselves in a stream that you're drinking from and left it full of parasites” (that can cause a very unpleasant gut disease called giardia). Or “whether there has been groundwater contamination from naturally occurring elements such as arsenic, radon or uranium, or from pesticides and other chemicals.” So think twice before paying for a “health” product that might just make you sick.
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By Guest Nicole
A tardigrade, known as a water bear, is shown magnified 250 times. These tiny aquatic invertebrates can go without water for 10 years, surviving as a dessicated shell.
Steve Gschmeissner/Getty Images
Microscopic, bear-shaped animals called tardigrades are one of the most resilient animals on earth. Known colloquially as water bears, they can survive freezing temperatures, radiation, even a trip to outer space.
The creatures are famous for their ability to withstand extremely dry conditions. Water bears can go without water for 10 years, surviving as a dessicated shell. Just how they come back to life when their environment is friendlier has baffled scientists for years.
Now researchers think they have the answer, and it may someday help us ship pharmaceuticals more efficiently.
Scientists initially thought tardigrades were surviving desiccation by using a sugar called trehalose. In bacteria and fungi, trehalose can turn the inside of cells to a glass-like matrix that keeps proteins from being damaged in super dry conditions. The process, called vitrification, allows dried-up organisms to hold proteins and molecules together until the organism is rehydrated and can get back to business.
But when they looked closely, researchers found that trehalose was barely detectable in water bears, and that some species don't have the ability to make the sugar at all. So researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set out to find what the tardigrades were doing to regenerate.
Led by UNC postdoctoral fellow Thomas Boothby, the team of biochemists started by drying out tardigrades and determining which genes were "switched on" in response. One group of proteins called IDPs, or intrinsically disordered proteins, stood out. "When we looked at which genes are activated most during that drying stress, the genes that encode the disordered proteins jumped right to the top of the list," Boothby said.
IDPs are the oddballs of the protein world. Most proteins have a stable 3-D structure that's important for their function, but intrinsically disordered proteins have no set shape. That means they're flexible and can wiggle and move to bind things in the cell. Boothby says IDPs are like "wiggly spaghetti springs where they are constantly changing shape."
Water bears that lacked functional IDPs couldn't survive extremely dry conditions, as the biochemists noted in a study published Thursday in Molecular Cell.
Boothby found that IDPs form bio-glass much like trehalose does in bacteria and fungi. Essentially, when the water bears get stressed, they start cranking out IDPs that fill up the cells and form the protective matrix.
Once they determined that IDPs prevented tardigrades from drying up and dying, the researchers put IDPs in yeast and bacteria to see if it could protect them as well. The borrowed tardigrade proteins increased the ability of some bacteria and yeast to survive desiccation by 100-fold. That means that tardigrade proteins are functional even when you put them in other organisms.
Boothby thinks these proteins could be useful in pharmaceutical storage. "A lot of protein-based pharmaceuticals are very effective but also very unstable," he says.
To keep them stable, some drugs need to be kept very cold as they're transported and stored. This makes shipping and storage very expensive – which can be an insurmountable challenge in developing countries.
Boothby thinks that using the tardigrade proteins to help stabilize the medicines could eventually bring down that cost. "Essentially, what we envision is using these tardigrade proteins to stabilize sensitive proteins in a dried state, and then being able to ship and store these lifesaving drugs all over the world at room temperature."
So water bear proteins might bear benefits for humans, too.
When a tardigrade is stressed, it enters a quasi-death state. The animal retracts its head and its eight legs and curls into a dried-up ball.
Thomas Boothby/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
By Guest Nicole
Diet sodas may undermine weight loss efforts, a new study suggests.
Researchers put 81 overweight women with Type 2 diabetes on the same weight-control diet, except that half drank diet beverages five times a week after their main meal at lunch, while the other half substituted plain water. The study is in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
After 24 weeks, the water group had lost an average of 14 pounds, while the diet soda group lost 11.5 pounds. Average body mass index declined by 2.49 in the water group compared with 2.06 in the diet-drink group. Compared with the diet soda group, the water group also had greater improvements in fasting insulin, postprandial glucose level and other measures of diabetes severity.
Waist circumference declined in those who drank water or diet beverages, with no significant difference between the two groups.
According to the senior author, Dr. Hamid R. Farshchi, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Nottingham, the mechanism remains unclear.
But, he said, “The best drink for your health not only for weight loss but also for carbohydrate metabolism is water. Still, obese people are used to a sweet taste, and it’s very difficult for them to just say goodbye to sugary food.”
By Guest Nicole
TRENTON (CBSNewYork) – Thirty Newark Public Schools have been ordered to use alternate water supplies due to elevated lead levels.
The Department of Environmental Protection said it found elevated lead levels at various taps in recent tests. CBS2’s Meg Baker reported officials first realized there was an issue at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School last Thursday where there were reports of discolored water.
“How long ago was this report done? How long did Newark Public Schools sit on this information?” community advocate Donna Jackson asked.
Christopher Cerf, superintendent of Newark Public Schools, told CBS2 he was first briefed on the issue on Monday. However, parents were not notified until Wednesday afternoon.
“Well, we needed to put a plan in place… By the way, we received assurance this was not high-level emergency nature that a day would make,” Cerf said.
Parents were alarmed by the delay.
“I was not aware. I didn’t know until you told me,” Sabrina Olivier told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “The children do need water to stay hydrated during the day. That’s very alarming. As a parent, not knowing, that’s even more alarming.”
The Newark Public Schools system is supplying the schools with alternate water for drinking and for food preparation.
WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported residents are being asked to drop off cases of bottled water at their local recreational centers.
All drinking fountains at the impacted schools have been shut down. Notices have been put up in bathrooms telling students not to drink water from the taps.
“In 30 schools, no more than four of 10 points were showing elevated lead levels,” Newark Schools Superintendent Christopher Cerf told WCBS 880.
Water points of entry and taps at all public schools – including charters – will be tested.
“I understand in the Flint environment that any sign of elevation is going to make everyone go haywire,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “But here, the water system in Newark is still safe, it’s still drinkable. There have been some high detectable levels of lead in about 30 of the schools.”
Baraka said the lead is coming from within each school, not from the public works water source.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., told CBS2 in a statement that he is “deeply concerned” about the elevated lead results.
“Lead in our drinking water is a national issue that requires a robust response from every level of government. Under no circumstance should the health and safety of our children be jeopardized, particularly when they are supposed to be in the confines of a safe learning environment. My staff and I will continue to monitor this situation closely and offer any and all assistance we can to help remedy this problem,” Booker said.
The DEP says no lead has been found in the Newark Water Department’s source water. Lead found in drinking water often due to leaching from lead pipes, household fixtures that contain lead, or lead solder, the DEP said.
“A lot of these are older schools with older piping, with lead piping, or solder, that we need to address long-term,” Bob Constantine of the DEP said.
Concerned parents can have their children take a blood test for lead at the Newark Health Department.
Officials have also begun sending out robocalls to alert parents to the matter.
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