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Stiletto workout class made me break a sweat -- not an ankle (PHOTO)

When you hear stiletto bootcamp workout, what do you envision? For me, it's a sprained ankle and a bag of ice. I consider myself a pretty talented wearer of heels of all heights -- from wedges to pumps -- but I wasn't exactly sure I'd be able to do push-ups in a pair of four-inchers.

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Of course, that didn't stop me from signing up for a stiletto workout class at a local gym here in New York City. My goal: To complete the workout successfully without the need of emergency care. I wondered: Would I have the chance to channel my inner Playmate? Did I have on the right clothes? I had no idea, but I was more than ready to find out.

I'll tell you one thing, my feet weren't what hurt me the most.

First things first: My weapon of choice. I chose these nude slingback peep toe pumps from Charlotte Russe. I've only worn them a few times, and despite their height, they're actually wicked comfortable. Not to mention, I figured if I was going to give this class a go, I was gonna give it my all.

charlotte russe heels

What I expected: Call me naive, but I didn't expect to sweat. As a runner, I'd like to think I'm decentlyphysically fit. And really, how could prancing around in a pair of heels for 45 minutes actually give me a workout? The instructor had the most amazing pair of gams I've ever seen, so clearly this works. I was excited.

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What it was: Well, I sweated. In fact, within the first five minutes, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, standing up, through the whole thing.

The class itself consisted mostly of squatskicksknee-lifts, with some arm work using 5-pound dumbbells. It was constant. Never would I have expected a drill sergeant to come in such a tall, slender package, wearing stilettos. I didn't want to hate her, I knew she was doing this for my own good. But she didn't show one ounce of sweat or fatigue, and WOW my thighs were killing me. Yup. My thighs. Not once did I think about my feet. In fact, after the class was over, I could have walked home in my heels, if I wanted.

Would I do it again? Of course! This bootcamp totes gave me a chance to concentrate on other muscles not targeted during my average workout, giving me that good type of sore feeling. Yes, the added height took a bit of getting used to, but finding that center of balance helped engage my core. And while I may not be wearing heels the next time I do a knee-lift, I'll surely never underestimate a woman in heels, ever again. 

Would you ever try a stiletto workout class?

Would you wear Spanx to the gym?

Spanx takes on activewear. Photo by Spanx

Spanx takes on activewear. Photo by Spanx

Spanx used to be a taboo garment you wore on special occasions under a dress tosmooth out your lumps and bumps, but ever since celebrities admitted to wearing themthe shapewear industry has taken off. It is now worth a whopping $812.5 billion.

There are shapewear items for thighs, hips, butts, bellies, legsarms, and even men's packages (seriously). There are specialmaternity Spanx and Spanx for swimming. Two "Real Housewives of New York" stars even have their own shapewear lines—Jill Zarin's Skweeze Couture and Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Smoothers n' Shapers.

The latest from Spanx is activewear, which comes in the form of leggings, bike shorts, wrap skirts, yoga pants, tanks, and even socks that "support your arch and keep your feet cool." They range from an XS to an XL. We're sure there are Spanx devotees who will be wild about the new shapewear, but we have a few issues with Spanx gym clothes:

  • First, the slogan: "Super comfortable, super effective." Effective at what exactly? Making you look like you've worked out more than you really have?
  • The description: "Your new favorite work out and about pants feature a SPANX-Exclusive, the
    Slim-X® Bagel-Buster!" So don't worry if you eat a bagel before your workout—no one will be able to tell (except maybe your body).
  • Spanx aren't very comfortable and may hinder movement and flexibility.
  • We like seeing our soft spots jiggle around when working out—it's incentive to target these areas and push ourselves that much harder!
  • On that note, people wear Spanx as a quick fix to look leaner. Some may not feel the need to exercise as much when wearing garments that suck them in.
  • They're extremely tight and not very breathable. Not good for sweating, and you'll have to wash them a lot.
  • They're expensive. $68 for shorts or tanks, and $118 for pants.

8 Foods You Should Avoid

Some of the rules of a healthy diet are fairly obvious -- steer clear of fast food joints, say "no" to fried foods, and keep the chips and cookies to a minimum. Unfortunately, eating smart involves more than just avoiding notoriously unhealthy foods.

Lurking behind the facade of words like "organic," "fat-free" and "natural" is a whole slew of foods that can kill a diet and pack on the calories. So here's a warning for any well-intentioned healthy eater: Just because it sounds nutritious, doesn't mean a food is actually good for you.


1. Salad


The biggest pitfall with a salad is ruining a veggie-filled meal with hundreds of calories in dressing. "Check the label," advised Keri Gans, a registered dietitian and author of "The Small Change Diet." Oftentimes the dressing with a salad at a restaurant has more calories than a candy bar. "Order dressing on the side," Gans said. "You should not be putting more than 60 calories of dressing on a salad."


2. Smoothies


Blending fruit with frozen yogurt sounds like a sure-fire healthy snack. But Tara Miller, registered dietitian and founder of Achieve Balance Wellness and Nutrition Counseling, warns against too much of a good thing. "People think that because it's fruit, it's healthy," she said. Yet most smoothies -- especially the ones sold at specialty shops -- are 16 to 32 oz. and contain too many servings of carbohydrates. So keep it small, and try to add vegetables to your smoothies whenever possible.


3. Soy Milk


Both soy and almond milk are great options for those who are lactose intolerant. But many people regularly grab the vanilla or sweetened varieties of these drinks, ignoring the excess sugar and paying attention only to the healthy connotations of the word "soy" or "almond." If the sweetened versions are all you can tolerate, though, Miller recommends avoiding the added sugar by mixing a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring into the unsweetened kind.


4. Granola


Granola is a food that most people consider an uber-healthy breakfast choice. But granola can also be very high in sugar and low in fiber, says Gans. "When you look for granola, you need to read the label carefully," she said. "Not all granola is created equal." Make sure the cereal or granola you're choosing from the store shelf has a minimum of 4 or 5 g of fiber.


5. Muffins



You're rushing to get to work on time and dash into the nearest coffee shop to pick up a quick breakfast. In the name of health, your eyes are drawn to those bran muffins on display beside the donuts. But don't let the word "bran" or "yogurt" trick you when it comes to muffins, cautions Miller. "Think of them more in the donut category," she said. Bran muffins often contain extra fat, necessary to hold the bran together. And the fat-free versions usually contain extra sugar to compensate for the reduced in mouthfeel and flavor.


6. Sushi


This one might be surprising since the tuna, salmon and other fish commonly found in sushi is about as lean as it gets. Yet when you factor in the cream cheese of your Philadelphia roll or the mayonnaise in most spicy tuna rolls, the calorie count skyrockets. Portion size matters, too,

says Gans. Stick to three rolls or less, and choose brown rice when possible.


7. Turkey Brugers


When a burger craving hits, the calorie-conscious person often turns to a turkey burger as the second-best option. But be careful, warns Gans. "If you have a turkey burger made with dark meat and skin, it can be higher in calories than a sirloin burger," she said. If you're at a restaurant, ask whether the burger has dark meat and turkey skin ground into it. At the grocery store, it's a bit more straightforward: Check the label and pick a lean meat with less than 10 g of fat per serving, Gans advises.


8. Frozen Meals


There's a whole section of frozen meal options that are quick and easy to make and boast low calorie counts. Yet many are also packed with sodium, says Angela Ginn, registered dietitian and owner of the nutrition counseling service Learn-2-Live. "Frozen and prepared foods can often have a day's worth of sodium," she said, which is roughly 2,300 mg per day.

By Leigh Remizowski

Nighttime Exercise May Help Sleep, Not Hinder It

By Kate Sullivan, Allure magazine

I'm a morning person in the sense that I like to get up early to watch TV, have a few cups of tea, and read the paper. I've never been someone who squeezes in a 6AM spin class before heading to the office, and despite years of hearing from trainers that you burn more fat in morning workouts and feel more energized after them, I've accepted the fact that I will run at night for the rest of my life.

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And according to a few new studies, that's probably nothing to sweat over: In Finland, 11 volunteers with normal sleeping habits rode a stationary bike until they were exhausted within three hours of bedtime. Despite higher heart rates, they fell asleep faster and had a deeper sleep than on nights when they did not exercise. A Belgian study had nine volunteers bike for 60 minutes two hours before bedtime and had similar results.

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Now I'm resting easy, and enjoying my lazy mornings, guilt-free.

Here Comes the (Slimmer) Bride: The Wedding Deadline Diet

By Kate Sullivan, Allure magazine

Nevermind her battle with psoriasis, bride-to-be Kim Kardashian's workout schedule and diet plans are all over the internet, from her Tweets about working out twice in one day and her regular QuickTrim plugs, to Us Weekly's update from her trainer Tracy Anderson, who says Dash has "cut out sugar" and is doing dance aerobics. (Kardashian is still working with long-time trainer Gunnar Peterson as well.) The reality star has always worked out hard and loved a green smoothie, so this apparent shift in diet and exercise probably isn't too extreme, and we don't expect a different Kardashian to walk down the aisle at her late August wedding.

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It's hardly a new trend for a bride to set a wedding deadline for weight loss, but unlike Kardashian, who has given herself a number of weeks to go from fit to fitter, some brides have less realistic goals. As we viewers ofBridezilla know all too well, many women are trying to lose that last 10 pounds oh, seven days before the ceremony. (Or they're telling their bridesmaids to; last week Danyelle used a foam bat to show her bridesmaids exactly where on their bodies they needed to lose weight and handed out diet plans.) Yeah, that's just not happening.

No one is going from a couch potato to a chiseled Serena Williams body double in a week. And suddenly taking up vigorous exercise out of nowhere could actually stimulate your appetite, so exercise alone won't lead to instant weight loss. But there is a realistic (and healthy) way to slim down a bit the days before your wedding, to lose some bloatiness but not your head. The experts tell Allure that comes from diet:

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Don't consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day
. "You risk not getting adequate nutrition and your energy level could drop," says Susan Bowerman, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Seriously, don't think you're tough for being able to make it through the day on a cracker. No one wants to hear about it for starters, and you're just slowing down your metabolism anyway.

Avoid foods and drinks that make you retain water. Stephen Gullo, author of the Thin Commandments(Rodale), says those are: cocktails, carbonated beverages, canned food, white bread, white sugar, chips, pretzels, and delicious baked goods. (He didn't say the delicious part, we're editorializing because we love pie.) P.S. Drinking water won't make you retain water, so keep drinking plenty of that.

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Eat and drink your greens. If you fill up on fruits and veggies, you'll feel satisfied, even sans pie. Plus: "Asparagus, lemon, cucumber, parsley, fennel, and dandelion greens are all debloaters," says nutritionist Lauren Slayton, founder of Green tea is also a great diuretic, and studies suggest that it could help you burn calories faster.

None of these tips are going to make a size two dress fit a size 10, but they will make a size 10 dress fit a size 10 woman much more comfortably.

5 Common Health Myths, Busted

Most of the health advice you get on a daily basis is wrong.  Here, we debunk the most common health rumors.

Consider the plethora of people who give you wellness advice: your friends, your mom, that buff lady at the gym. Not surprisingly, a good amount of that info is wrong, says Aaron Carroll, M.D., coauthor of the new book Don't Cross Your Eyes… They'll Get Stuck That Way! And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked. He got to the bottom of some strange but popular beliefs.

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MYTH #1: You should tilt your head back to stop a nosebleed. "This will keep your clothes, the couch, and the rug clean, but it's terrible advice, because it directs blood down your throat, which can make you gag or throw up," Carroll says. Instead, sit up, lean forward, and pinch your nose below the bony bridge to slow (and eventually stop) the bleeding. 

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MYTH #2: Public toilets will kill you! "We think the bathroom is filthy, so we go to great lengths not to touch anything," Carroll says. But studies show that door handles and toilet seats are relatively safe, because they're cleaned so often—unlike, say, air hand dryers, which can harbor lots of bugs. (Use paper towels, or even your jeans.) 

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MYTH #3: Green phlegm means an infection. "We surveyed doctors who told us that when they see green mucus, they prescribe antibiotics," Carroll says. But phlegm can turn green when your immune system fights any invader—whether it's bacteria or a cold virus, which antibiotics can't help with. 

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MYTH #4: If someone cuts off a finger, put it on ice—stat. "I'm amazed how prepared people are for bizarre injuries," says Carroll. "People tell you to put a severed finger on ice, but your first priority should be the person who just cut off their finger!" The right way to deal: Stop the bleeding by applying pressure, then wet the finger with water or saline, wrap it in gauze, and put it in a plastic bag on ice (putting it directly on ice could damage it so it can't be reattached). So that's the drill—and we hope you never need to use it! 

“I never thought I’d wear a size 4!”

Before: 199 lbs

(scroll down to see photo)

After: 130 lbs

Thanks to a childhood filled with drive-through breakfasts and take-out dinners, Amy Banfield, now 22, was always one of the chubbiest kids in school. By fourth grade, she recalls, "I was heavier than my friends and felt self-conscious changing for gym class." Her eating habits worsened when she enrolled at Miami University in Ohio in 2007. "My dorm was next to a 24-7 mini-mart, so I could snack all day or night," she says. During freshman year, she packed 25 pounds onto her 5'7" frame. With summer looming, she vowed to bring her scale back from the brink of 200 pounds.

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THE CHANGE: To avoid facing the music about her weight, Amy lived in oversize tees and sweats. But in January 2008, when she was turned away from a fraternity party with a harsh "No fat girls allowed," she decided she needed to act. "I was humiliated," she says. She committed to fixing her weight problem for good.

Find Your Motivation to Get Fit

THE LIFESTYLE: Amy meticulously measured portions and replaced cheese-laden snacks with oatmeal or hummus and carrots. Fast food became a rare indulgence, and she found low-cal options online before heading out to eat. She also started working out on the elliptical for 30 minutes five days a week. By the time she began her sophomore year at a new school, the University of Kentucky, she was down 25 pounds. There, Amy took up swimming, cycling, and running and lost 44 more pounds by her junior year. She proudly wore a size-4 swimsuit on a trip to Mexico that May.

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THE REWARD: As Amy shed weight, her self-confidence grew. She became president of her sorority and had the guts to go for a postgrad internship at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in New Mexico, which she nabbed. "I never would have applied before," she says. "Now anything is within my grasp, as long as I'm willing to work for it."

Amy's Tips

Plan to sweat. "I write out a week's worth of workouts in my planner so I don't have to think about it—or back out—during the day."

Fake your favorite desserts. "I sprinkle cinnamon on sliced apples and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. It tastes like apple pie!"

Embrace intervals. "To get into running, I walked one song and ran the next to keep going longer."

3 Ways to Shake Up Your Cardio Routine

What Is a Good Breakfast ?

Breakfast is the biggest meal of the day. 
Eat Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.
To lose weight, eat a hearty breakfast.
Eating breakfast is the only way to good health.

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How many times have we heard these well meaning words? There must be some truth in it then? But, what is a good breakfast? A good breakfast is one that will give you energy to kick-start your day, keep you full enough to keep food off your mind, and give you nutrition and sustenance. That's a rather tall task from a single meal, specially in the morning when you may not wake up wanting to eat a lot nor may you have time before you rush out the door. But whether you have the time or the appetite, it is important that you do get your energy and sustenance with breakfast in whatever form you decide to eat it.

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What does a good breakfast comprise of

1) Carbohydrates for energy.
 Whether you get your carbs in the form of fruits, oats, cereals, idli's or dosa, breakfast must give you enough energy to take care of most of your energy needs of the day. In fact breakfast is the one meal where you can skip counting the calories and focus more on enjoying your meal. That's a luxury and therefore take it seriously, you must. 

2) Nutrition
 – Carbohydrates in the form of dosa and parathas do not give you enough nutrition. Therefore include fruits in your diet specially strawberries, apples, pears, papayas, that give you energy and a variety of antioxidants. You can even get nutrients from a side of grilled tomatoes or other colorful foods.

3) Protein
 – Proteins in the form of eggs or grilled chicken in the morning is a great idea. Like carbs can be burnt easily through out the day, so can calories from protein sources. What protein does is fills you up so that you don't have food cravings throughout the day.

4) Fats
 – Egg yolk provides good fat content. Other that that you can include bacon into your meals now and then. Fat can also be in the form of full fat yoghurt or milk along with your breakfast. This is the best time to get your fat content that you need for your energy needs also taken care off.

The Oldest Woman Ever (122): 4 Secrets to Living Happily Deep Into Old Age

A few months ago, Claude Choules, the last surviving World War 1 veteran, passed away at the ripe age of 110.

That would qualify Choules as a supercentenarian (110 or older), one of an estimated 300–450 living supercentenarians in the world, though only about 90 are verified.

Even rarer is a super-super centenarian like Jeanne Calment, who passed in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days, the oldest human ever. (See photo of Calment at her 121st birthday).

Imagine turning 90 and knowing you had another 32 years to go... could be awfully depressing if your health was bad.

But wouldn't it be nice to see your children grow old, your grandchildren mature, and your great grandchildren find their place in the world?

Are you interested?

A study* on supercentenarians found some qualities they have in common that you might find are very attainable:

Supercentenarians share a philosophy of the importance of being actively involved with life in a way that defines their purpose in still being on the planet.

Supercentenarians share a central core value of the importance that humor and laughter play in their perspective on life.

Supercentenarians have a unique ability to flow with life in a way that is outside of the cultural tendency to clock off time in a linear fashion.

Supercentenarians almost seem to live life in an "ageless perspective" of themselves. This detachment from a linear lifespan orientation may impact the strength and flow of their energy field in a desirable way that influences their longevity.


At any given moment, we can embrace the overarching supercentenarian philosophy... which can be summarized in one word: ATTITUDE

They live to the fullest, in spite of their hardships, embracing a joie de vivre.

Clause Chaules (see photo) swam in the ocean every day until he was 100**.  Jeanne Calment ate almost 2 pounds of chocolate per week.***

What if it was truly that easy? As I share in my book Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin the Moment, a beautiful, funny, and delicious moment each day...keeps the grim reaper away.

Or even more to the point, as Mark Twain said, "The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."

The Dangers in Your Tap Water

We have the safest drinking water in the world—except for the pesticides that sometimes sneak in. And the rocket fuel. And the antibiotics …

Sparkling, flat, or flaming?

We've been flooded with scary information lately about the water we drink. Newspaper stories have pointed out that more than 60,000 chemicals are used across the country—and can get into our drinking water—though the EPA enforces limits on fewer than 100. Other reports have warned of perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, which has been found in water systems in 26 states. And then there are the stories of families who can actually light their water on fire as it comes from the tap, not something you generally look for in your liquid refreshment.

We had questions. We wanted answers. What's risky, what's not, and what's just plain hooey? Is bottled water really any better than tap? How can you make water safer in your home—and around the world? And how does water burn, anyway?

"Our Water Was Spurting and Bubbling Like Alka-Seltzer"

Jimmy and Victoria Switzer's dream home has a nightmarish problem: They can't drink or cook with the water that comes out of its taps.

Jimmy built the house in Dimock, a small town in northern Pennsylvania, from timber he split himself. "We wanted it to be the place for our daughters to come with their families," says Victoria, 59. But a couple of years ago, they began noticing that their water seemed … strange. At first, there was just an orange tint and sediment in the bottom of a glass. Then, periodically, the washing machine would fill up with black sludge. Soon, Victoria says, "our water was spurting and bubbling like Alka-Seltzer."

On New Year's Day, 2009, a neighbor's water well exploded. The Pennsylvania department of environmental protection determined that methane from a natural gas well had seeped into the water supplies of several Dimock families, including the Switzers'. A spark from a motorized pump is thought to have set off the blast. Several of the Switzers' neighbors had so much gas in their water, they could actually light it on fire.

Dimock sits atop a rock formation called the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York State to West Virginia and contains huge amounts of natural gas. Gas companies have long known about the deposits, but only in the past couple of decades have improvements in a drilling method called hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—allowed them to tap these reserves. Fracking involves drilling a deep hole and then injecting about a million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals under high pressure. The jet of material breaks up rock, releasing gas that's captured at the well head.

Environmental groups worry that toxic chemicals used in fracking (often a trade secret), along with the potential migration of methane gas, pose a threat not only to private water supplies but also to rivers and other sources of drinking water. Yet fracking has its share of fans in high places, including Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, who argues that with the right environmental protections, it can provide jobs and clean energy. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, which owns the wells on the Switzers' property, says the process is safe and that water in the area naturally contains methane.

Nevertheless, the Switzers and other families with contaminated wells now receive free weekly water deliveries courtesy of Cabot. And the state of Pennsylvania has ordered the company to pay $4.1 million to the families with methane in their water. However, several of them, including the Switzers, refused the payout and are suing Cabot. "We have been living a nightmare," says a defiant Victoria. "I will not let the gas company destroy my dreams."

An Imperfect Safety Net
Should reports of purity problems make you feel good? ("Somebody's paying attention!") Or worried? ("What else is out there?") Here's what the experts say about the fear factor.

We used to have rivers of fire.
"Back in the 1970s, contamination came out of the end of a pipe. You could see it—we actually had the Cuyahoga River on fire. We've made progress on that, but now we have to worry about what happens when it rains. Water runs over city streets, suburban lawns treated with fertilizer and pesticides, and agricultural lands that may also have been treated or have animal feeding operations, and into our rivers and streams. Runoff is now thought by most folks to be the biggest source of water pollution." — Lisa Jackson

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We've been playing whack-a-mole.

"We're trying to figure out whether we can address contaminants as groups rather than one at a time. Can we look at perchlorate together with other solvents that might act like it? That might help us break the cycle where every time we decide we need to regulate a chemical, we find out there's a different one we need to worry about." — Lisa Jackson

Worry uncaps the water bottle.
"Sales of bottled water have skyrocketed from around a gallon per person per year in the early 1970s to over 30 gallons today. There are four main reasons: We've become increasingly fearful of tap water, we don't like the taste, and it's become easier to find bottled water at the same time that it's become harder to find water fountains. A football stadium in Florida was built with no water fountains—the day it opened, 60 people got heat stroke because they ran out of bottled water. The fourth reason is that we've been bombarded with ad campaigns telling us that bottled water will make us skinnier or sexier or healthier. But no one should assume that bottled water is better than tap water. Some bottled water isn't monitored at all." — Peter Gleick

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Our drinking water system helped make this country great.
"Building a good tap water system is how we got rid of cholera, typhoid, and dysentery in the early 1900s." – Peter Gleick

But it needs help.|
"A lot of the infrastructure for drinking water is very old. In the District of Columbia, some of it predates the Civil War. Lead pipes used to be standard back then! But updating it is expensive, and nobody is sure how we're going to pay the bill."– Olga Naidenko

There are a lot of known unknowns.
"We know perchlorate is out there. Now we need to know how much or how little is acceptable. Detection methods for contaminants are progressing really fast. But toxicology tests, which tell us how dangerous a contaminant is, take years to develop."– Olga Naidenko

The Reader's Digest Version:
"If you live in a big city in the United States, you should be confident of your tap water. If you live in a small rural community with a little water system, you're much more likely to be at risk. These small systems are more vulnerable to things like agricultural runoff and septic tank leakage." — Peter Gleick

"Almost 290 million people in this country depend on 50,000 water systems for safe water. We don't pay attention to this system, because it works—about 92 percent of Americans drink water that meets federal safety standards. Where we don't meet the standards, we know what we have to do to get there." — Lisa Jackson

Find out who drinks what where (and who can't)

The Experts
Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson is charged with keeping the nation's public water systems safe.

Peter Gleick, PhD, is president of the Pacific Institute, which analyzes environmental issues, and the author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water.

Olga Naidenko, PhD, is a staffscientist at the Environmental Working Group, an activist research organization.