Tap vs. Bottled Water Consumption by Race

Cynthia Boyd recently reported on Minnpost about a poll finding that bottled water consumption by children varies by race. In fact, the poll found that black and Hispanic parents were 3X more likely to serve their children bottled water rather than tap.

The poll took a look at why this may be happening:

Reasons cited for downing the bottled stuff included believing that it’s safer, cleaner, better-tasting as well as more convenient.

That makes me wonder: how can the exact same water coming from the exact same water treatment plant be trusted so differently by different groups of people?

Boyd points out that the surveyed parents had a large income disparity by race, with white parents bringing home more than twice the income of surveyed minority parents:

For me, those socioeconomic comparisons stand out like blinking neon signs on a moonless desert night. Whites in the survey are better educated and better off financially, thus likely to live in better neighborhoods and healthier housing.

I think Boyd is onto something there. Although I don’t think it’s a question of the health of the water by location. For example, I’m confident that the water that comes out of my home’s taps in Longfellow is the exact same water that comes out of taps in the Hawthorne Neighborhood of North Minneapolis. Both areas of town have similar ages of housing stock, so the plumbing likely isn’t all that much different.

However, there is likely one factor that is significantly different: the age and quality of faucet the water is dispensed from.

I’m willing to bet that a kid is more likely to drink water that has been dispensed from a newer faucet than an older one.

I’m also willing to bet that a kid is more likely to drink cool tap water dispensed from a refrigerator.

Heck, I do the same thing within my own home. I drink water from my kitchen tap, the tap in my bedroom’s bathroom, but would never consider drinking from the tap in the basement workshop. It’s exactly the same water. I know this. But it doesn’t seem as drinkable when it’s dispensed out of a hose into a plastic tub sink. Obviously, few people have workshop sinks as their primary water source, but I do think the last foot of tap water delivery likely plays a roll in tap water consumption rates.

Could upgrading a kitchen faucet or sink increase tap water consumption, thus saving families money while simultaneously improving the quality of the water they consume? I think that could be worth studying.

Peak Bladder

I turned 35 today, which is a kind of meaningless milestone. For at least 10 years now, I’ve been able to legally drive, vote, drink and rent a car. And I jumped the gun on my first free prostate exam due to a family history, so I achieved no major milestone that I’m aware of today.

However, I did spend some time thinking about peak bladder. At some point in my life, I’ll reach a point where my bladder will start to lose elasticity, or other parts of me such as my prostate will start to grow in a fashion that restricts my peak bladder volume. At that point, remaining days will involve earlier seal breaking and more frequent, shorter trips to the can.

While this isn’t exactly great news, I’m not giving up on life over bladder volume.

From what I can tell, I haven’t reached peak bladder yet. However, I have a hunch based on conversations I’ve had in bars with people not that much older than me that I’m close to reaching peak bladder.

So, for those of you in the know, what can you tell me about this situation? Have I reached peak bladder yet? Is it ovious when one does? What changes do you make to your lifestyle once you do?

Should You Shower Before a Physical?

I was thinking about this concept the other night. Wouldn’t doctors be able to learn more about their patient’s health if their patients didn’t shower before coming in for a physical?

It seems like coming in clean eliminates the the value of one of the senses a doctor could use to identify health issues.

Can a doctor learn more about your health from your choice of body soap, shampoo, or natural odors? The answer seems obvious to me.

Of course, that’s only the case of doctors are trained to use their nose. Does that happen?

Toxic Chemicals: USA vs EU

Monday’s Fresh Air with Terri Gross episode featured an investigative reporter, Mark Schapiro, who took a look at why the European Union’s standards for toxic chemicals in foods, toys, and cosmetics are so different from the United States.

One thing he mentioned was government funded health care. If the government pays for everyone’s health care, they’ll apt to look for ways to improve the health of their citizens in order to save money on health care costs.

Shapiro also explained that the EU is now a larger and more influential market than the United States with 500,000,000 people vs America’s ~300 million. He said that the EU has banned the import of toys, baby products, and cosmetics containing chemicals considered harmful, which leads to the dumping of second-rate products in non-EU markets like the United States.

So, how does the EU determine what’s harmful? In part, based on research conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. We do the research, but the EU actually legislates to protect their citizens based on our research.

Interesting stuff. I’d encourage you to find time to listen to the show.

Clogging Your Lungs with Tar

I’m not expert, but from what I’ve heard, smoking is bad for you.

I think this video helps illustrate the point. A guy runs an experiment where he extracts the tar of 400 cigarettes. It’s a little slow moving, but if you get the gist of the experiment then fast forward to the end to see the results, you won’t forget them.

Still Smoking? Watch This !! – video powered by Metacafe

Lungs are kind of important, so treating them like this is pretty abusive.

via Geeks are Sexy

Google Gapminer

Check this out:


This tool shows the changes in life expectancy and per capita income by country over the past 30 years. Some countries steadily increase in both categories, like the United States. Others are more erratic.

1. China seems to have increase wealth more than health.

2. India seems to have increased health more than wealth.

3. South Africa’s life expectancy has dropped dramatically in the past decade. I imagine this is largely due to AIDS.

4. The effects of Genocide can be seen in the lower left corner when Rwanda bottoms out in the 1990s.