When we moved to Florida about 3 years ago, we noticed that our tubs and showers were developing this gross film of pink residue.  It will probably not shock you to learn that I long ago banned Soft Scrub from the premises, so what to do?  Worse, what were our bodies doing with the gross pink residue once our SKIN absorbed it, given that our skin is actually our largest organ?  We were already spending a fortune on bottled water and my husband put his foot down when I half-jokingly suggested doing the same for our bath water.  It also killed me to recycle cartons and boxes of bottled water and San Pellegrino (my kids have chosen the moniker ‘spicy water’ and they are completely addicted, by the way).  Living near the beach, we’ve become acutely aware of just where all of those un-recycled water bottles go.  I don’t know if the math on this is accurate, but Brita advertises that annually, Americans drink enough bottles of water to wrap around the earth 3 times.  This may or may not be mathematically accurate; regardless, those bottles have to be produced and then go somewhere and even if they are recycled, it requires a great deal of resources to bring them cradle to grave, in addition to the fact that your water has now been sitting for who knows how long in a plastic container, absorbing all kinds of lovely phthalates, which are know endocrine-disruptors.  We are exposed to a plethora of toxic chemicals which we can’t so easily control, so why not make a a fairly painless change to something we drink and use all day long?

http://www.pacinst.org/topics/water_and_sustainability/bottled_water/bottled_water_and_energy.html

So here’s something you can do that doesn’t cost a fortune and will pay for itself pretty quickly (I haven’t done the calculation in a while, but I seem to recall when I did my initial research, it would pay for itself within several months).  We installed Aquasana water filters in our showers and on our kitchen sink.  We used to have a Brita pitcher, but I was forever forgetting to replace the filters and I just never felt like it quite did the job.  Aquasana does offer a whole-house filtration system which we plan to install just as soon as we hit the lottery.  Actually, the price is around $800 so it’s not completely outrageous, just more than we wanted to spend on our rental place.  We chose their shower filter for our bathrooms and the above-counter system for the kitchen sink.  We liked it so well that when we renovated our current house, we had one of the under-the-counter systems installed for our new kitchen.

Prior to installing the shower filters initially, we thoroughly scrubbed the showers and tubs so we could start with a fresh palette.  Typically, prior to the new filters, we would see a build up of the pink residue within a couple days.  After we installed the filters, we literally never saw it again; nor did we see a ‘film’ on the glass shower door.  I saw an amazing improvement in my skin’s moisture level and we noticed we could use a much smaller amount of bath gel to get the job done.  When we moved to our current house in December, we had no way of installing a filter in the bathtub that we were using for bathing the boys.  Within a couple weeks, we noticed our middle son developed a permanent ‘goose-bump’ texture to his skin.  We switched to showering him in the filtered water and within 4-5 days, the bumps were gone for good.  We ended up with an shower filter that wasn’t compatible with one of our showers so we passed it on to my brother who always coveted it when he came to visit and he’s now a total convert, which I find particularly remarkable because he finds such pleasure in poking fun at all my little habits and actually has the nerve to keep his own supply of coca-cola in our patio fridge.

The company is in the US and their products are made here.  We’ve had wonderful experience with their customer service and when we bought our systems, they were giving away these great glass bottles to store cold filtered water in the fridge.  It’s great having filtered water handy at the tap to use in our Sodastream, which may be my favorite product on earth (excluding my Vita-mix, but that’s another story for another post).  This has definitely taken the financial sting out of our ‘spicy water’ habit.  I know they are sold all over now, but we got ours at Williams-Sonoma and that’s where we conveniently get our refill cartridges.  If you don’t drink carbonated water, then don’t bore yourself with the rest of this post.  Instead, go ahead and visit the Aquasana website to see if it would work for you.

http://www.aquasanausa.com/

They will give you some further information regarding what specific things are filtered out versus what’s not.  We chose the option of having them auto-ship replacement filters every 6 months which has been super convenient.

If you DO regularly drink a sparkling water like Pellegrino, then take a look at the sodastream system.

http://www.sodastreamusa.com/

Looks like they are now selling it at Bed Bath & Beyond, so you could sign up for their newsletter and get a 20% off coupon.  The cartridges cost about $30, but at Williams Sonoma (and maybe now other retailers), they take your empty cartridge and give you the new one for half-price.  We have the Penguin version, not just because we are from Pittsburgh, but because it uses glass bottles.  It’s made in Israel, doesn’t take up too much room on the counter and comes with 2 glass carafes so you can always have one carbonated and one chilling prior to being carbonated.

I hope this is helpful; it’s made a huge difference for us.