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vrouLast weekend when I took a free yoga class at an Athleta store, there was a rep from a company called VROU giving out free samples. Though I’m not generally a fan of “special” water, I’ve been known to blow $4 without blinking on a bottle of kombucha, so why not try a bottle of water specially designed for my sweaty female self?

The company was founded by a former professional soccer player who was inspired by the resolve of women she encountered on a trip to South Africa to build a better, more equal life—so much so in fact that she decided to name her product after a South African word for “woman.” The website explains that, in addition to providing essential nutrients, “VROU aspires to create communities that enrich and empower the lives of Girls and Women globally. We want to inspire all Girls and Women to realize their potential and share with the world their unique strengths.” So community-building water. Part of every purchase goes to one of the company’s non-profit partners to work toward benefiting young girls.

Were I in a different frame of mind, I might point out how vague that all sounds, but lately, I’m digging the idea of women helping other women. We need to take care of each other, so if you want to do it buying or selling “special” water, why not?

The taste of the pineapple-guava flavor was nice and subtle. Though I can’t say it’s something I’d seek out, it was a nice change of pace.

Do you like “special” water? I don’t know why I keep calling it that…

Women Struggling to Drink Water

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And you thought Women Laughing Alone with Salad was funny…My friend Madeline sent me this yesterday. Also from the Hairpin, I bring you Women Struggling to Drink Water. Hilarious! Out of context and lumped together, these photos seem especially ridiculous.

I don’t know about you, but 95 percent of the time, I have no problem getting the water from the bottle and into my mouth, thankyouverymuch. Let’s not talk about that other 5 percent of the time. Sometimes it’s hard to be all coordinated while working out, you know?

What do you think of pictures like these? 

Millions of Americans Drinking Dirty Water

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It’s not every day that the town you grew up in shows up in a front-page story in the Times. Unfortunately, that’s rarely a good thing when it does happen. This morning while reading the paper, I noticed that the town my sister and I went to school in (because our town didn’t have a high school), where a lot of our friends are from, was one of the towns cited for their contaminated water.

This particular borough tested high since 2004 for arsenic and dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethyline, both carcinogens. The town has not been fined, but it has installed filtration systems to deal with the problem. But still, cheerful stuff we’re dealing with here.

And this town is just one in the group that makes up about 20 percent of U.S. water systems that have in some way violated the Safe Drinking Water Act over the past five years.

Even more cheerful, studies show that millions of illnesses can be linked to dirty drinking water every year. In the past five years, a reported 49 million illnesses have been attributed to contamination by substances such as arsenic, radioactive material like uranium, and dangerous bacteria found in sewage. Worse, only some 6 percent of violating systems have been fined or punished by state or federal official.

However, the Environment Protection Agency is expected to propose a new policy today for how it polices our country’s 54,700 water systems. While I find these kinds of proclamations encouraging, I can’t help but feel like there’s the way a policy looks on paper and then the way it is enforced in the real world. I guess we shall see. At least if all my old friends start dying off, I’ll know why.