Deadly Overwatering

If you were asked whether a world-class athlete should pre-hydrate, drinking water even before they become thirsty, you’d probably say, “Sure. Can’t hurt, right?” A recent study reported by the New England Journal of Medicine says that it actually can.

Drinking too much water, becoming overly hydrated, can lead to hyponatremia. Hyponatremia can deplete sodium, which is needed for cells to function properly, which in turn can lead to death.

The report studied nearly 500 Boston Marathon runners, and here are some of the findings.

  • The range of millimoles of sodium per liter of blood is considered normal between 135 and 145.
  • Of the 488 runners who were studied, 65 finished with hyponatremia.
  • For runners with normal sodium levels at the end of the marathon:
    • 54% drank every mile
    • 26% drank three or more liters
    • 29% weighed more from fluid intake at the end of the race
  • For runners with hyponatremia at the end of the marathon:
    • 75% drank every mile
    • 42% drank three or more liters
    • 71% weighed more from fluid intake at the end of the race

As you can see from this sampling, drinking too much water greatly increased the chances of hyponatremia. Moral of the story? Stay hydrated, but not too hydrated.

Nonstick Chemical Contaminates Water in 27 States

Perfluorochemicals (PFCs for short) have wonderful waterproof and nonstick properties, which makes them very useful for things like nonstick cookware, camping gear, and firefighting materials. Unfortunately, they’re also linked to cancer and thyroid problems and can weaken the immune system. Even small doses can be cause for alarm when PFCs are found in drinking water.

Despite the health risks, a recently released report states that 27 states have water contaminated by PFCs, putting 15 million Americans at risk. Manufacturing plants are not the only PFC polluters; they also come from airports, air bases, fast food wrappers, and areas used to train firefighters.

Despite the risks in using PFCs, there are no health regulations concerning them. If you want to see if you’re at risk of PFC exposure, check out this interactive map, a joint effort of Northwestern University and the Environmental Working Group compiled from EPA data on PFC contamination.