LEAD PIPES ARE A BIG PROBLEM IN CANADA
This month, we want to focus on a topic we don’t often talk about: water filtration.
Up in Prince Rupert, B.C., it was reported that of the 25 homes tested, 21 exceeded federal safety guidelines for lead. One home even had three times more than the guideline. Over the past several years, the town of Flint, Michigan, in the United States has made headlines for lead-contaminated drinking water. People living in Flint were told to stop using tap water, even though alternatives were limited. However, researchers found the water in Prince Rupert had even higher levels of lead than Flint. There’s no doubt that many homes need to have their pipes replaced, but it’s not an easy task. Cities can replace pipes on city or municipal property, but once it crosses over to private property, it’s up to the homeowner to take care of it — they have to foot the bill for removal and replacement. Depending on the extent of the pipes, it can be a costly prospect. There is an alternative, however. Homeowners can also invest in water filtration. Some methods of water filtration are designed to remove lead. Keep in mind that not all forms of water filtration are the same. Some are designed to remove particulates and bacteria, while others can remove chemicals and metals. When buying a filter or filtration system, make sure it’s designed to remove lead. On top of investing in water filtration, it’s just as important to get your home’s water tested. Whether you’re connected to a water main or use a well, it’s important to know what’s in your water. Most homes in the Lower Mainland are likely safe (or within Health Canada’s safety guidelines), but you won’t know for sure until you’ve had your water tested. It’s good to be informed about what’s in your drinking water. When you’re informed, you can take action, if necessary, to ensure you and your family have access to safe drinking water. If you have questions about water filtration, let us know! Our technicians are equipped to test your water and help you determine if you need a water filtration system. They can even help you find the right system for your home!
You may have seen the recent headlines. There have been a lot of stories over the past few months about the high levels of lead found in drinking water in homes across Canada. Last fall, the results of a yearlong investigation came out. Nine universities and 10 media organizations from all over Canada got together to conduct the major investigations, and the results were concerning. The investigation showed that many cities and towns across Canada, including here in British Columbia, still use lead pipes. Many homes are connected to water mains that contain lead in some form. In fact, out of the 12,000 tests conducted since 2014, 33% of those exceeded national safety guidelines, and this 2019 investigation confirmed it. Another study concluded that, as of 2017, as many as 500,000 homes across Canada are connected to lead pipes. However, officials also say they don’t know exactly how many homes across Canada are connected to lead pipes — 500,000 is just an estimate. Homes built before 1975 are more likely to use lead pipes, while homes built before 1986 are more likely to use lead solder to connect copper or brass pipes. Even fixtures made of bronze or brass contained lead until 2013.
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Screen-Time Strategies How to Set a Family Media Use Plan
Don’t Get Iced This Winter
Cold weather means cold pipes! While the ground provides good insulation to protect pipes from freezing temperatures, exposed pipes are another matter. While we always recommend clearing water from all exposed pipes and other water channels, such as hoses and rain gutters, sometimes homeowners forget about their outside taps and pipes that may run under the house or in the basement. HOW TO PREVENT FROZEN PIPES While these aren’t necessarily going to freeze during the average winter, cold snaps can be particularly hazardous. The frigid temperatures can “travel” through metal pipes from the outside. This is when pipes under the house or in the basement freeze. If there is water resting in these pipes, it may turn to ice and expand, rupturing the pipe. Ruptures can be a hairline fracture or a complete burst. While both are highly problematic and can cause major damage to your home, hairline fractures are especially problematic because you might not notice any issues for several months or longer. Come spring and summer, people often report water usage and bills are higher than the previous year or higher than expected. When they investigate the possible cause, they find leaks under their home. It can be costly to repair, even more so if there is water damage to the foundation or structure. • Always clear pipes and hoses before freezing temperatures set in. • Make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside taps. • Insulate outside taps and pipes under the home, in basement areas, and any place a pipe may be exposed to freezing temperatures. • Invest in frost-free or frost-proof outside taps. • When not at home (or if you have a property that isn’t routinely occupied), make sure to leave the heat on at about 15 degrees Celsius to prevent freezing temperatures from setting in. Here’s how you can prevent ruptured pipes:
With 24/7 media exposure from TVs, computers, and smartphones, it feels like life is dominated by screens. Consider implementing a media use
plan for your family so they don’t miss out on the real world. Set a Curfew Limiting the time your
children spend staring at a screen is good for their health. Try to keep screen- time usage to under two hours per day. Implement a rule for no screens at mealtimes, and keep all screens out of bedrooms at night. Keep track of the devices by having a communal charging dock in a shared area where you can make sure everything is plugged in for the night. Have a Chat Don’t shy away from warning your kids about what exists in the digital world. Explain to them that certain content isn’t age-appropriate, and teach them what movie and TV ratings mean. Remind them to be careful about what they put on the internet because anything they upload never really goes away. Teach them to be smart with their decisions. Connect with them on social media if it helps you keep an eye on things. Construct a ‘Media Diet’ Take an active role in what your children watch by co-viewing programs with them. You’ll have a better sense of what they’re seeing and can point them toward the programming that’s right for them. Look for educational media choices that teach good values. There are a lot of great educational opportunities on the internet, but there’s also a lot of room for negative exposure. If this is a concern, keep the family computer in a public part of your home so you can see what they’re accessing online. It’s important to educate your children about proper media health, but it’s even more important to encourage your kids to be healthy in other ways. Beyond the tips mentioned above, encourage them to play outdoors and read physical books so they can participate more actively in the real world.
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Beat the Chill With Herbal Tea
3 Teas for Better Health
Peppermint Tea It’s no surprise this is one of the most popular herbal teas around. Thanks to its not-so-subtle aroma and natural sweetness, it delivers on flavour and packs a healthy punch. Not only do many people consider peppermint the flavour of winter, but peppermint tea is known for its ability to aid in digestion. Plus, it works wonders on stomach inflammation, alleviating everything from minor aches to nausea. When you eat too much or are starting to feel under the weather, reach for the peppermint tea. Rooibos Tea A South African tea, rooibos is noted for its high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. If you’re looking for an immune system boost, rooibos is
There’s nothing like a cup of hot tea on a cold winter day. Of course, with so many varieties of tea to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one to brew. Do you reach for the Earl Grey or the chamomile? Some teas offer more benefits than others. Caffeinated, “true” teas offer a burst of alertness during the day, but herbal teas can help in other ways. They come with many healthful benefits. Here are three great teas for any winter day! Lavender Tea For some, lavender tea is great for reducing headaches, arthritis pain, and general joint aches and
pains that are exacerbated by cold weather. For others, however, its big draw is improved sleep. Lavender tea is often recommended to people who suffer from insomnia or who have trouble falling asleep. It’s the perfect tea to drink before heading to bed. It helps you feel relaxed and eases you into a night of sleep. The floral flavour isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to relax after a long or stressful day, it’s worth trying. If the flavour or aroma is too much for you, a great alternative is chamomile, which is another relaxing herbal tea.
here to help. On top of that, and thanks to its antioxidant powers, it’s also great for the skin! Feeling a cold coming on? Stressed out? Anxious? Have a cup of rooibos tea. It’s another tea that helps ease stress and can even lower blood pressure. Furthermore, rooibos tea lacks oxalic acid, an organic compound that plays a role in the formation of kidney stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones but love tea, rooibos is
an excellent choice.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWNSAUERKRAUT
Cabbage is in season right now, which means it’s the perfect time to try your hand at making sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage requires only two ingredients, keeps for months, and is packed with beneficial probiotics.
EQUIPMENT • Jar • Lid with airlock • Something to weigh down cabbage, ideally made of a
• 2 lbs cabbage • 4 tsp fine sea salt
nonreactive material like glass
1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Slice very thinly. 2. In a large bowl, combine cabbage and salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. 3. Squeeze cabbage to release juices. Let the cabbage continue to soak and release juices for another 20 minutes. 4. Transfer to a jar and press down cabbage until completely submerged in its juices. Weigh down cabbage. 5. Seal jar with airlock. Let cabbage sit at room temperature and away from sunlight for one month. Once fermented, transfer to the fridge. Sauerkraut will keep for six months to one year. Inspired by NourishedKitchen.com
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Is Your Home Connected to Lead Pipes? Tips to Establish a Family Media Use Plan Don’t Get Iced! 3 Herbal Teas to Boost Your Health in Winter How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut Real Winter Wonderlands
Escape to a Winter Wonderland
CHILL OUT IN THESE FROSTY DESTINATIONS
Snow is magical and gorgeous — unless you have to commute in it. If you want to enjoy all the wonder that winter has to offer without the hassle, why not turn it into a vacation? Here are a few breathtaking, snow-covered destinations that any winter lover can enjoy. Bulguksa Temple, South Korea Above the city of Gyeongju, this ancient Buddhist temple has stood on the slopes of Tohamsan Mountain since the eighth century. Bulguksa, or “Temple of the Buddha Land,” is South Korea’s No. 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a popular attraction for domestic and international tourism. The crowds and school tours die down during the winter, however, which also happens to be when Bulguksa is at its most pristine. The iced- over lotus ponds and snow-dusted pagodas add to the sense of tranquillity this site naturally exudes. The Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy If you want the feel of a ski trip to the Alps without the packed slopes and ritzy resorts, the Dolomites are just for you. Located in northeastern Italy, this stunning mountain range is home to some of the best skiing in Europe, as well as many historical sites. The
secluded villages that dot the mountain valleys are an attraction in their own right, especially for the rustic cuisine you’ll find there. Don’t expect pasta though. This region is a melting pot of flavours from Austria, northern Italy, and the local Ladin people. Ricotta and sauerkraut pancakes, anyone? The Antarctic
This is the one entry on this list that is best enjoyed during the summer months, which is December–February in the Southern Hemisphere, because that’s when the freezing temperatures of the southernmost continent are at their most hospitable. The Antarctic has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, with cruises taking adventure seekers through the vast, untouched beauty of this far-flung destination. Some tourists even enjoy kayaking or cross-country skiing through this icy paradise.
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