When it comes to its healthiness, many people are divided. Some argue that it's too high in sugar, while others champion its high nutrient content.
This article reviews the 9 healthiest juices and discusses whether juice is a healthy choice in general.
Tart and bright red, cranberry juice offers many benefits.
- Calories: 116
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 31 grams
- Fiber: 0.25 grams
- Sugar: 31 grams
- Potassium: 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 26% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 11% of the DV
Cranberry juice is known for its ability to protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs). Though research on this effect has been mixed, a recent review found that drinking cranberry juice lowered the risk of getting a UTI by 32.5% (2Trusted Source).
This juice is also high in antioxidants, including anthocyanins, flavonols, procyanidins, and vitamins C and E, which may help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals (3Trusted Source, 4).
Cranberry juice is high in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins C and E. It may also help prevent UTIs, though research on this effect is mixed.
Tomato juice is not only a key ingredient in Bloody Marys but also enjoyed on its own as a delicious and healthy drink.
While many people consider the tomato to be a vegetable due to its culinary uses, it's biologically a fruit. Still, many companies classify tomato juice as a vegetable juice due to its flavor and low sugar content.
One cup (240 ml) of tomato juice provides (5):
- Calories: 41
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 9 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Folate: 12% of the DV
- Potassium: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 189% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 5% of the DV
It's also a good source of lycopene, a carotenoid and antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. In fact, 80% of dietary lycopene is reported to come from tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, or pizza sauce (9Trusted Source).
Lycopene may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. For example, one review linked increased intake of lycopene to a 13% lower risk of heart disease (10Trusted Source).
However, tomato juice can be very high in salt, a mineral that can increase blood pressure when consumed in excess. Considering that most people consume too much salt, try to select low-sodium options when possible (11Trusted Source).
Tomato juice is very high in lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant and may lower your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, 1 cup (250 ml) provides almost twice your daily vitamin C needs. Choose low-sodium tomato juice whenever possible.
Beet juice has gained popularity in recent years due to its associated health benefits.
This colorful juice is made by blending beets and water.
One cup (240 ml) of beet juice provides (12):
- Calories: 70
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 18 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 13 grams
It's relatively low in sugar, as most vegetables are naturally lower in sugar than fruits (13Trusted Source).
What's more, beets are a great source of betalains, which are pigments that give the vegetable its deep-red color. They act as potent antioxidants, potentially lowering your risk of heart disease, inflammation, and certain types of cancer (14Trusted Source, 15).
Beet juice is also high in inorganic nitrates, which have been shown to increase athletic performance and decrease blood pressure and heart disease risk (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Still, keep in mind that the inorganic nitrate content of beet juice depends on the variety and growing conditions of the vegetable, as well as the processing method (17Trusted Source).
Beet juice is rich in dietary nitrates and betalains, both of which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Furthermore, it's much lower in sugar than other juices.
There are two main types — cloudy and clear. Cloudy apple juice contains pulp, while clear apple juice has had the pulp removed (20).
A 1-cup (240-ml) serving of apple juice provides (21):
- Calories: 114
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 grams
- Sugar: 24 grams
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 3% of the DV
Although it's naturally low in vitamin C, many commercial varieties are enriched with vitamin C, providing up to 106% of the DV per cup (240 ml) (25).
Apple juice comes in both clear and cloudy varieties. Though both contain antioxidants, cloudy juice provides up to 2–5 times more. Most apple juices are enriched with vitamin C, furthering its antioxidant content.
Prunes are dried plums. They're often enjoyed as a snack, but prune juice is another popular option.
One cup (240 ml) of prune juice provides (29):
- Calories: 182
- Protein: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 45 grams
- Fiber: 2.5 grams
- Sugar: 42 grams
- Iron: 17% of the DV
- Magnesium: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin B2: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B3: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 33% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
Furthermore, it's widely used as a remedy for constipation, especially in older populations. Its fiber content appears to help soften stool and acts as a mild laxative (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
It's also a good source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds (34Trusted Source).
Though prune juice is a natural source of sugar, it's best to limit your intake to a small glass per day or dilute it with water.
Prune juice provides a rich source of iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. It's commonly used as a remedy for constipation due to its stool-softening effect.
Pomegranate juice has gained popularity in recent years due to its nutritional benefits. Plus, it adds a vibrant splash of color to your day.
- Calories: 134
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 33 grams
- Fiber: 0.25 grams
- Sugar: 32 grams
- Potassium: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin C: less than 1% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 22% of the DV
It's also high in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which gives pomegranates their characteristic dark-red color (37Trusted Source).
Pomegranate juice is rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that give pomegranates their rich, dark-red color. The juice is also high in vitamin K, which is important for heart and bone health.
7. Acai Berry
Acai berries are small, circular berries that come from the acai palm tree.
Their delicious juice has an enticing, deep-purple color.
A single cup (240 ml) of acai berry juice provides (39):
- Calories: 91
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 9 grams
Given that it has only gained popularity recently, nutritional data for this juice is limited. Still, the fruit's antioxidant content has been widely studied.
Acai juice is rich in various antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, ferulic acid, and chlorogenic acid. A diet rich in these compounds has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and mental decline (40, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).
In fact, acai berries contain significantly more antioxidants than blueberries, which are well known for their disease-fighting compounds (43Trusted Source).
Finally, a study in 14 participants with osteoarthritis found that drinking an acai-based fruit juice for 12 weeks significantly lowered perceived pain. However, larger studies are needed to better understand this relationship (44Trusted Source).
Acai juice is rich in potent antioxidants, such as flavonoids, ferulic acid, and chlorogenic acid. A diet high in these compounds has been linked to a lower risk of chronic disease.
Orange juice is a classic breakfast staple around the world and well known for its nutritional properties.
A single cup (240 ml) of orange juice provides (45):
- Calories: 112
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 26 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 grams
- Sugar: 21 grams
- Folate: 19% of the DV
- Potassium: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 138% of the DV
It's also high in phenolic compounds, such as cinnamic, ferulic, and chlorogenic acids. These antioxidant compounds help fight free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to disease (46).
A study in 30 people found that drinking orange juice after a high-fat, carb-rich meal led to significantly lower inflammation levels, compared with drinking water or glucose-water. The researchers attributed this to the antioxidants in orange juice (47Trusted Source).
You can purchase orange juice with or without the pulp. The pulp adds a bit of fiber, though not a significant amount.
Plus, many orange juice varieties have added calcium to support bone health.
Orange juice is naturally high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. In one study, drinking orange juice after a high-fat, carb-rich meal reduced inflammation.
Grapefruit juice is a tart drink that many people enjoy.
One cup (240 ml) of grapefruit juice provides (48):
- Calories: 95
- Protein: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 19 grams
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Sugar: 20 grams
- Folate: 9% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 96% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 4% of the DV
This is due to compounds in grapefruit known as furanocoumarins, which interact with your liver's ability to process medications. Therefore, it's crucial to speak with a healthcare professional before eating grapefruit and its derivatives (52Trusted Source).
Grapefruit juice is rich in antioxidants, such as naringin and vitamin C. However, grapefruit and its products interact with numerous medications. Consult a healthcare professional if you're taking any medications that may interact with grapefruit.
Potential Downsides to Juice
Though juice contains many important nutrients, there are some downsides to drinking it.
Low in Fiber
Unlike whole fruit, fruit juice is low in fiber. During processing, the juices are extracted from the fruit, and the remaining flesh and fiber are discarded.
Fiber helps manage your blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Without fiber, sugar can easily enter your blood and lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin (53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source).
High in Sugar
Both whole fruit and fruit juices are high in sugar, but they differ in the type of sugar they contain.
The sugar in whole fruits is intrinsic sugar that exists within the cellular structure of a fruit or vegetable. These sugars aren't absorbed as quickly as free sugars (55Trusted Source).
Free sugars are simple sugars that have either been added to food or exist naturally in some foods and beverages, including fruit juices and honey. Unlike intrinsic sugars, they're absorbed quickly, as they're not bound within a cell (55Trusted Source).
A diet high in free sugars — especially sugar-sweetened beverages — is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity (56Trusted Source, 57Trusted Source, 58Trusted Source).
However, most free sugars in the diet come from sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and energy drinks. In fact, a 2017 study found that fruit juice only accounts for an average of 2.9% of total sugar intake (55Trusted Source).
Unlike other sugar-sweetened beverages, 100% fruit juice is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, many experts argue that it's a much better alternative (59Trusted Source).
Nonetheless, focus on getting your daily nutrients from whole fruits and vegetables, which often boast high fiber contents. Aim to not drink more than 1–2 cups (240–480 ml) of juice per day (59Trusted Source).
Finally, if you decide to drink juice, try to purchase 100% real fruit juice. Many people mistake fruit cocktails or fruit beverages as real juice. Yet, these drinks usually contain added sugar, colorings, and flavors.
Unlike whole fruits and veggies, fruit juice is a poor source of fiber and can spike blood sugar levels. While juice can be a great source of nutrition, limit your intake to 1–2 cups (240–480 ml) per day, and try to opt for whole fruits and vegetables more often.
The Bottom Line
Juice can be an excellent source of nutrients, especially antioxidants.
While there is controversy surrounding the sugar content of juice, it's a much healthier option than other sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda or energy drinks.
Try to limit your intake to 1–2 cups (240–480 ml) per day, and opt for whole fruits and vegetables instead whenever possible.
If you're looking for a quick, convenient source of nutrients, juice can be a part of a healthy diet — as long as you enjoy it in moderation.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton
Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.
Blackpoll warbler. PJTurgeon / Wikipedia<p>We used this information to determine how the number of migratory bird species varies based on each city's level of <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/light-pollution" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">light pollution</a> – brightening of the night sky caused by artificial light sources, such as buildings and streetlights. We also explored how species numbers vary based on the quantity of tree canopy cover and impervious surface, such as concrete and asphalt, within each city. Our findings show that cities can help migrating birds by planting more trees and reducing light pollution, especially during spring and autumn migration.</p>
Declining Bird Populations<p>Urban areas contain numerous dangers for migratory birds. The biggest threat is the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-13-090.1" target="_blank">colliding with buildings or communication towers</a>. Many migratory bird populations have <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw1313" target="_blank">declined over the past 50 years</a>, and it is possible that light pollution from cities is contributing to these losses.</p><p>Scientists widely agree that light pollution can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708574114" target="_blank">severely disorient migratory birds</a> and make it hard for them to navigate. Studies have shown that birds will cluster around brightly lit structures, much like insects flying around a porch light at night. Cities are the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2029" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">primary source of light pollution for migratory birds</a>, and these species tend to be more abundant within cities <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.13792" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">during migration</a>, especially in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103892" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">city parks</a>.</p>
Composite image of the continental U.S. at night from satellite photos. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
The Power of Citizen Science<p>It's not easy to observe and document bird migration, especially for species that migrate at night. The main challenge is that many of these species are very small, which limits scientists' ability to use electronic tracking devices.</p><p>With the growth of the internet and other information technologies, new data resources are becoming available that are making it possible to overcome some of these challenges. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07106-5" target="_blank">Citizen science initiatives</a> in which volunteers use online portals to enter their observations of the natural world have become an important resource for researchers.</p><p>One such initiative, <a href="https://ebird.org/home" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eBird</a>, allows bird-watchers around the globe to share their observations from any location and time. This has produced one of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04632" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">largest ecological citizen-science databases in the world</a>. To date, eBird contains over 922 million bird observations compiled by over 617,000 participants.</p>
Light Pollution Both Attracts and Repels Migratory Birds<p>Migratory bird species have evolved to use certain migration routes and types of habitat, such as forests, grasslands or marshes. While humans may enjoy seeing migratory birds appear in urban areas, it's generally not good for bird populations. In addition to the many hazards that exist in urban areas, cities typically lack the food resources and cover that birds need during migration or when raising their young. As scientists, we're concerned when we see evidence that migratory birds are being drawn away from their traditional migration routes and natural habitats.</p><p>Through our analysis of eBird data, we found that cities contained the greatest numbers of migratory bird species during spring and autumn migration. Higher levels of light pollution were associated with more species during migration – evidence that light pollution attracts migratory birds to cities across the U.S. This is cause for concern, as it shows that the influence of light pollution on migratory behavior is strong enough to increase the number of species that would normally be found in urban areas.</p><p>In contrast, we found that higher levels of light pollution were associated with fewer migratory bird species during the summer and winter. This is likely due to the scarcity of suitable habitat in cities, such as large forest patches, in combination with the adverse affects of light pollution on bird behavior and health. In addition, during these seasons, migratory birds are active only during the day and their populations are largely stationary, creating few opportunities for light pollution to attract them to urban areas.</p>
Trees and Pavement<p>We found that tree canopy cover was associated with more migratory bird species during spring migration and the summer. Trees provide important habitat for migratory birds during migration and the breeding season, so the presence of trees can have a strong effect on the number of migratory bird species that occur in cities.</p><p>Finally, we found that higher levels of impervious surface were associated with more migratory bird species during the winter. This result is somewhat surprising. It could be a product of the <a href="https://www.epa.gov/heatislands" target="_blank">urban heat island effect</a> – the fact that structures and paved surfaces in cities absorb and reemit more of the sun's heat than natural surfaces. Replacing vegetation with buildings, roads and parking lots can therefore make cities significantly warmer than surrounding lands. This effect could reduce cold stress on birds and increase food resources, such as insect populations, during the winter.</p><p>Our research adds to our understanding of how conditions in cities can both help and hurt migratory bird populations. We hope that our findings will inform urban planning initiatives and strategies to reduce the harmful effects of cities on migratory birds through such measures as <a href="https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/index.cfm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">planting more trees</a> and initiating <a href="https://aeroecolab.com/uslights" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lights-out programs</a>. Efforts to make it easier for migratory birds to complete their incredible journeys will help maintain their populations into the future.</p><p><em><span style="background-color: initial;"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frank-la-sorte-1191494" target="_blank">Frank La Sorte</a> is a r</span>esearch associate at the </em><em>Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University. <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kyle-horton-1191498" target="_blank">Kyle Horton</a> is an assistant professor of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the Colorado State University.</em></p><p><em></em><em>Disclosure statement: Frank La Sorte receives funding from The Wolf Creek Charitable Foundation and the National Science Foundation (DBI-1939187). K</em><em>yle Horton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/cities-can-help-migrating-birds-on-their-way-by-planting-more-trees-and-turning-lights-off-at-night-152573" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Lynne Peeples
Editor's note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. Read the launch story, "Thirsting for Solutions," here.
In late September 2020, officials in Wrangell, Alaska, warned residents who were elderly, pregnant or had health problems to avoid drinking the city's tap water — unless they could filter it on their own.
Unintended Consequences<p>Chemists first discovered disinfection by-products in treated drinking water in the 1970s. The trihalomethanes they found, they determined, had resulted from the reaction of chlorine with natural organic matter. Since then, scientists have identified more than 700 additional disinfection by-products. "And those only represent a portion. We still don't know half of them," says Richardson, whose lab has identified hundreds of disinfection by-products. </p>
What’s Regulated and What’s Not?<p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently regulates 11 disinfection by-products — including a handful of trihalomethanes (THM) and haloacetic acids (HAA). While these represent only a small fraction of all disinfection by-products, EPA aims to use their presence to indicate the presence of other disinfection by-products. "The general idea is if you control THMs and HAAs, you implicitly or by default control everything else as well," says Korshin.</p><p>EPA also requires drinking water facilities to use techniques to reduce the concentration of organic materials before applying disinfectants, and regulates the quantity of disinfectants that systems use. These rules ultimately can help control levels of disinfection by-products in drinking water.</p>
Click the image for an interactive version of this chart on the Environmental Working Group website.<p>Still, some scientists and advocates argue that current regulations do not go far enough to protect the public. Many question whether the government is regulating the right disinfection by-products, and if water systems are doing enough to reduce disinfection by-products. EPA is now seeking public input as it considers potential revisions to regulations, including the possibility of regulating additional by-products. The agency held a <a href="https://www.epa.gov/dwsixyearreview/potential-revisions-microbial-and-disinfection-byproducts-rules" target="_blank">two-day public meeting</a> in October 2020 and plans to hold additional public meetings throughout 2021.</p><p>When EPA set regulations on disinfection by-products between the 1970s and early 2000s, the agency, as well as the scientific community, was primarily focused on by-products of reactions between organics and chlorine — historically the most common drinking water disinfectant. But the science has become increasingly clear that these chlorinated chemicals represent a fraction of the by-product problem.</p><p>For example, bromide or iodide can get caught up in the reaction, too. This is common where seawater penetrates a drinking water source. By itself, bromide is innocuous, says Korshin. "But it is extremely [reactive] with organics," he says. "As bromide levels increase with normal treatment, then concentrations of brominated disinfection by-products will increase quite rapidly."</p><p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15487777/" target="_blank">Emerging</a> <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.7b05440" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">data</a> indicate that brominated and iodinated by-products are potentially more harmful than the regulated by-products.</p><p>Almost half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, where saltwater intrusion can be a problem for drinking water supplies. "In the U.S., the rule of thumb is the closer to the sea, the more bromide you have," says Korshin, noting there are also places where bromide naturally leaches out from the soil. Still, some coastal areas tend to be spared. For example, the city of Seattle's water comes from the mountains, never making contact with seawater and tending to pick up minimal organic matter.</p><p>Hazardous disinfection by-products can also be an issue with desalination for drinking water. "As <a href="https://ensia.com/features/can-saltwater-quench-our-growing-thirst/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">desalination</a> practices become more economical, then the issue of controlling bromide becomes quite important," adds Korshin.</p>
Other Hot Spots<p>Coastal areas represent just one type of hot spot for disinfection by-products. Agricultural regions tend to send organic matter — such as fertilizer and animal waste — into waterways. Areas with warmer climates generally have higher levels of natural organic matter. And nearly any urban area can be prone to stormwater runoff or combined sewer overflows, which can contain rainwater as well as untreated human waste, industrial wastewater, hazardous materials and organic debris. These events are especially common along the East Coast, notes Sydney Evans, a science analyst with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG, a collaborator on <a href="https://ensia.com/ensia-collections/troubled-waters/" target="_blank">this reporting project</a>).</p><p>The only drinking water sources that might be altogether free of disinfection by-products, suggests Richardson, are private wells that are not treated with disinfectants. She used to drink water from her own well. "It was always cold, coming from great depth through clay and granite," she says. "It was fabulous."</p><p>Today, Richardson gets her water from a city system that uses chloramine.</p>
Toxic Treadmill<p>Most community water systems in the U.S. use chlorine for disinfection in their treatment plant. Because disinfectants are needed to prevent bacteria growth as the water travels to the homes at the ends of the distribution lines, sometimes a second round of disinfection is also added in the pipes.</p><p>Here, systems usually opt for either chlorine or chloramine. "Chloramination is more long-lasting and does not form as many disinfection by-products through the system," says Steve Via, director of federal relations at the American Water Works Association. "Some studies show that chloramination may be more protective against organisms that inhabit biofilms such as Legionella."</p>
Alternative Approaches<p>When he moved to the U.S. from Germany, Prasse says he immediately noticed the bad taste of the water. "You can taste the chlorine here. That's not the case in Germany," he says.</p><p>In his home country, water systems use chlorine — if at all — at lower concentrations and at the very end of treatment. In the Netherlands, <a href="https://dwes.copernicus.org/articles/2/1/2009/dwes-2-1-2009.pdf" target="_blank">chlorine isn't used at all</a> as the risks are considered to outweigh the benefits, says Prasse. He notes the challenge in making a convincing connection between exposure to low concentrations of disinfection by-products and health effects, such as cancer, that can occur decades later. In contrast, exposure to a pathogen can make someone sick very quickly.</p><p>But many countries in Europe have not waited for proof and have taken a precautionary approach to reduce potential risk. The emphasis there is on alternative approaches for primary disinfection such as ozone or <a href="https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/eco-friendly-way-disinfect-water-using-light/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ultraviolet light</a>. Reverse osmosis is among the "high-end" options, used to remove organic and inorganics from the water. While expensive, says Prasse, the method of forcing water through a semipermeable membrane is growing in popularity for systems that want to reuse wastewater for drinking water purposes.</p><p>Remucal notes that some treatment technologies may be good at removing a particular type of contaminant while being ineffective at removing another. "We need to think about the whole soup when we think about treatment," she says. What's more, Remucal explains, the mixture of contaminants may impact the body differently than any one chemical on its own. </p><p>Richardson's preferred treatment method is filtering the water with granulated activated carbon, followed by a low dose of chlorine.</p><p>Granulated activated carbon is essentially the same stuff that's in a household filter. (EWG recommends that consumers use a <a href="https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/reviewed-disinfection-byproducts.php#:~:text=EWG%20recommends%20using%20a%20home,as%20trihalomethanes%20and%20haloacetic%20acids." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countertop carbon filter</a> to reduce levels of disinfection by-products.) While such a filter "would remove disinfection by-products after they're formed, in the plant they remove precursors before they form by-products," explains Richardson. She coauthored a <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.9b00023" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019 paper</a> that concluded the treatment method is effective in reducing a wide range of regulated and unregulated disinfection by-products.</p><br>
Greater Cincinnati Water Works installed a granulated activated carbon system in 1992, and is still one of relatively few full-scale plants that uses the technology. Courtesy of Greater Cincinnati Water Works.<p>Despite the technology and its benefits being known for decades, relatively few full-scale plants use granulated active carbon. They often cite its high cost, Richardson says. "They say that, but the city of Cincinnati [Ohio] has not gone bankrupt using it," she says. "So, I'm not buying that argument anymore."</p><p>Greater Cincinnati Water Works installed a granulated activated carbon system in 1992. On a video call in December, Jeff Swertfeger, the superintendent of Greater Cincinnati Water Works, poured grains of what looks like black sand out of a glass tube and into his hand. It was actually crushed coal that has been baked in a furnace. Under a microscope, each grain looks like a sponge, said Swertfeger. When water passes over the carbon grains, he explained, open tunnels and pores provide extensive surface area to absorb contaminants.</p><p>While the granulated activated carbon initially was installed to address chemical spills and other industrial contamination concerns in the Ohio River, Cincinnati's main drinking water source, Swertfeger notes that the substance has turned out to "remove a lot of other stuff, too," including <a href="https://ensia.com/features/drinking-water-contamination-pfas-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">PFAS</a> and disinfection by-product precursors.</p><p>"We use about one-third the amount of chlorine as we did before. It smells and tastes a lot better," he says. "The use of granulated activated carbon has resulted in lower disinfection by-products across the board."</p><p>Richardson is optimistic about being able to reduce risks from disinfection by-products in the future. "If we're smart, we can still kill those pathogens and lower our chemical disinfection by-product exposure at the same time," she says.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://ensia.com/features/drinking-water-disinfection-byproducts-pathogens/" target="_blank">Ensia</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649953730#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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