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Krebse im Leitungswasser

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Krebse im Leitungswasser

Autor: Achim Stößer | Datum:
Seit das Trinkwasser in New York nicht mehr gefiltert, sondern nur noch chemisch gereinigt wird, leben darin offenbar Copepuden (Ruderfußkrebse).

Weiß jemand darüber näheres?


Re: Krebse im Leitungswasser

Autor: Kris | Datum:

das kann ich mir ehrlich gesagt nicht vorstellen, da sich Copepoden (wie es richtig heisst) von Plankton (Phytoplankton, also anderen mikroskopisch kleinen Algen) ernaehren. Das muesste dann auch im Leitungswasser enthalten sein. Das Wasser wird in den USA aber mit Chlor und Fluor versetzt.


Re: Krebse im Leitungswasser

Autor: Achim Stößer | Datum:
> das kann ich mir ehrlich gesagt nicht vorstellen, da sich
> Copepoden (wie es richtig heisst) von Plankton

Ja, Copepoden natürlich.

> (Phytoplankton, also anderen mikroskopisch kleinen Algen)
> ernaehren. Das muesste dann auch im Leitungswasser enthalten
> sein. Das Wasser wird in den USA aber mit Chlor und Fluor
> versetzt.

Hm. Ich habe inzwische einige Quelltexte dazu erhalten, bin nur noch nicht dazu gekommen, sie online zu stellen. Es geht dabei zwar jeweils um abstruse religiöse Fragen, aber die Anwesenheit der Copepoden im New Yorker Leitungswasser scheint zweifelsfrei.

Ich sehe mir die Texte gleich nochmal durch - es scheint nirgendwo erwähnt, ob es sich um lebende oder tote Krebse handelt. Möglicherweise sind sie also, wenn ihnen, wie Du sagst, die Nahrung entzogen wird, verhungert, ehe sie aus dem Wasserhahn kommen.

Neben New York sind auch Boston und Seattle betroffen, da sie ebenfalls eine Ausnahmegenehmigung haben, das Wasser nicht zu filtern.

There's Something in the Water, And It May Not Be Strictly Kosher

By MICHAEL BRICK; Patrick Healy contributed reporting for this article.

New York City seems a fine place for an observant Jew to keep kosher. There are specialty shops for the ultra-Orthodox
and for those of less strict beliefs.
And it all works out just fine, provided you don't get thirsty. Some rabbis now say that New York City tap water -- for a
century a gold standard for cleanliness -- is not kosher.
These rabbis have recently discovered that there are tiny creatures, called copepods, in the unfiltered water that
streams into the city from upstate. These tiny organisms are harmless. But they are crustaceans. And crustaceans are
not considered kosher.
Over the past two weeks, concern about the copepods in the water has grown into a matter of intense debate among
the city's Orthodox Jews.
Disputes over interpretations of Talmudic law, part sport, part obsession and part spiritual imperative, spill into public
view periodically in New York. Last month, for example, members of the Satmar community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,
took wigs made of human hair from India and burned them in the street. The wigs were deemed unacceptable because
they might have been used in Hindu ceremonies considered idolatrous in Orthodox teaching.
The concern about the water, though, ''really spans the entire spectrum,'' said Harold Skovronsky, an Orthodox Jew
who lives in Midwood, a Brooklyn neighborhood where many people wear yarmulkes with business attire.
''They're not scared,'' he said, ''it's purely a religious issue.''
Signs of concern abound in neighborhoods like Midwood. At Alexander's Hardware & Locksmith, a worker named
Gregory Likhtin has taken the water filters from the shelves and set them up near the cash register.
A few blocks away, officials at Yeshiva Toras Emes Kamenitz elementary school have spent hundreds of dollars
installing plumbing gear behind the walls to filter the drinking water.
Midwood is home to Rabbi Feivel Cohen, a ranking religious leader who has taken a stand against drinking unfiltered
tap water, according to people who have heard him speak.
Rabbi Cohen declared through a closed door yesterday that he was ''not giving interviews.''
The dispute over the water is multifaceted and opaque. It goes all the way back to the dispute over the vegetables.
Alei Katif, a company based in Rehovot, Israel, that sells vegetables rabbinically certified as bug-free to those who
believe that ingesting insects is counter to Talmudic law, was accused by some Jews in New York of selling
contaminated vegetables, said Yair Hoffman, an Orthodox Jew who lives in Far Rockaway, Queens. Alei Katif officials
suggested instead that the vegetables became infested upon being rinsed in New York, Mr. Hoffman said.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Hoffman and others tested the company's assertion by inspecting city tap water under a
microscope. They saw copepods, millimeter-long zooplankton that are common in the ocean and in groundwater.
''And they're ugly,'' Mr. Hoffman said.
Ugly though they may be, city officials and independent scientists agree that they are harmless.
''There's absolutely no health risk,'' said Charles G. Sturcken, a spokesman for the city Department of Environmental
Jonathan Cohen, a Duke University student who is writing a doctoral dissertation on copepod migration, said that some
look like armadillos, some like bowling pins and other like rolling suitcases.
''It would be like swallowing a couple of gnats if you were outdoors on a summer evening,'' Mr. Cohen said. ''But it's not
like you're ingesting thousands of them.''
The city's surface water supply provides 1.2 billions gallons of water daily to eight million people, and its cleanliness has
won its overseers permission from federal authorities to skip filtering altogether, relying instead on chemical processes.
But the cleanliness of the water only provides fodder for the debate. What defines an insect? Does seeing one through a
microscope constitute seeing one for the purposes of kosher law? And, perhaps most confoundedly, can a person
legitimately claim not to see a copepod with the naked eye after looking through a microscope and learning what one
looks like?
Reactions from the faithful have been varied. Saul Kessler, who sells wholesale water filters and installs full-home
filtration systems in Queens, said he has gotten 100 phone calls from homeowners.
Laser Shum, of Midwood, is still drinking tap water.''If you take a microscope, you'll see a lot of things you don't want
to see,'' Mr. Shum said. For Bahar Tuht, 23, an employee of Alexander's hardware store who is not Jewish, the rush on
filters has been a learning experience. He has sold about 40 in the last two weeks, compared with about two in a
normal two-week period, but his customers have become more selective about the kinds of filters they will buy,
following subsequent declarations from their rabbis.
''Some of the filters have a light indicator; the light goes on, it's no good for Shabbos,'' Mr. Tuht said. ''I work here, I
sell stuff. You learn.''
Photos: A copepod. (Photo by Southwest Missouri State University)(pg. B1); Gregory Likhtin, left, describes water
filters to Lenny Berkowitz. (Photo by Dean Cox for The New York Times)(pg. B2)

1 Juni 2004
The New York Times
Late Edition - Final

The Water's Fine, but Is It Kosher?
Crustaceans From Faucet Ruffle Orthodox Jews


When rabbis in Brooklyn spotted a tiny crustacean swimming in New York City's tap water last spring, the ensuing
debate about whether it rendered the city's water unkosher seemed like an amusing, but esoteric dispute in a
particularly exacting Jewish enclave.
But in the months since, the discovery has changed the daily lives of tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews across the
city. Plumbers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens have been summoned to install water filters -- some costing more
than $1,000 -- and dozens of restaurants have posted signs in their windows trumpeting that they filter their water. As
a result, an entirely new standard is being set for what constitutes a kosher kitchen.
''I don't want people in the community to be uncomfortable in my home,'' said Laurie Tobias Cohen, executive director
of the Lower East Side Conservancy, explaining why she put a filter on the faucet of her Washington Heights
The issue has created the perfect conditions for a Talmudic tempest, allowing rabbis here and in Israel to render
sometimes conflicting and paradoxical rulings on whether New York City water is drinkable if it is not filtered. As with
the original Talmudic debates, the distinctions rendered for various situations have been super-fine, with clashing
judgments on whether unfiltered water can be used to cook, wash dishes, or brush teeth, and whether filtering water
on the Sabbath violates an obscure prohibition.
The creature, a crustacean known as a copepod that comes in several species, is found in water all over the world and
is perfectly harmless. But it is a distant cousin of the dreaded shrimp and lobster, shellfish whose consumption violates
the biblical prohibition against eating water-borne creatures that lack fins and scales.
The prohibition refers only to species that can be seen with the unaided eye -- not, say, an amoeba -- and the question
of whether the copepod is indeed visible is central to the dispute. Some are so small as to be invisible, while others can
grow to a millimeter and a half in length, large enough to be seen in water as small white specks.
The tumult is confined largely to New York because it is one of the few cities that is exempt from federal filtering
requirements. Boston and Seattle are also exempt, but they have nothing like the city's numbers of Orthodox. In New
York City, there are 331,200 Orthodox Jews, a third of the Jewish population, according to a 2002 study done for UJAFederation of New York.
The sure winners in this theological tizzy are plumbers and water filter entrepreneurs.
''We've had a 500 percent increase in sales,'' said Houston Tomasz, vice president of Sun Water Systems of Fort Worth,
Tex., which manufacturers the Aquasana filter, whose full-house version can cost more than $1,500 installed. ''Not
everyone was a kosher Jew. When you start talking about visible bugs in water, Jews aren't the only people who care.''
In Brooklyn, a landlord started a firm overnight that he called Eshel Filters. In September just before the Sukkot
holidays, when many Jews invite neighbors over, the company installed 30 filters a day ranging in cost from $99 to
$1,150. Its motto: ''The bug stops here.''
The controversy is indicative of deepening religious conservatism in the American Orthodox world. William B.
Helmreich, a professor of sociology and Judaic studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center, said that ''in
a society where people feel via the Internet and television their very values are under constant attack, there's a need
for people to reassert their level of religiosity, and one way this is done is by discovering new restrictions which give
people the opportunity to demonstrate their adherence to their faith.''
For generations, the most pious Jews -- even revered rabbis like Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Moses Feinstein -- drank
unfiltered New York water with no evident concern. But six months ago, a group of Brooklyn rabbis were examining
some lettuce imported from Israel that was supposed to be bug-free, but which appeared to have insects on its leaves.
After an investigation, they determined that the ''bugs'' had arrived after the lettuce was washed in New York City
water, and said that in the right light they could see the telltale specks with their own eyes.
At some point, a delegation of rabbis took a field trip to the city's reservoirs and asked officials some detailed questions
about the origins of the water and the copepods. (Of the three reservoir systems, only one -- the Croton -- is in the
process of introducing filtering, with a plant that will cost an estimated $1 billion but will not be completed before
The question lingered unresolved by a major communal authority until the Orthodox Union, which certifies as kosher
275,000 products in 68 countries, weighed in last August after checking some water samples.
''When they saw the first sample they didn't feel it reached the threshold of being visible,'' said Rabbi Menachem
Genack, the rabbinic administrator for the Orthodox Union. ''What changed people's minds is when they saw a sample
taken from a pond and saw them scooting around. Those are beyond the threshold.''
The Orthodox Union recommended that restaurants and caterers under its supervision filter their water before using it
in drinking and cooking, a policy that quickly was adopted by many homes as well. The policy considered different
practical possibilities. Dishes may be washed by hand in unfiltered water, it said, if the dishes are towel dried or left to
drip-dry without puddles of water in them.
But it also said water should not be filtered on the Sabbath because one of the 39 varieties of work forbidden by the
sages includes ''selection,'' or sifting of food, like separating wheat from the chaff or raisins from a noodle pudding.
The organization issued the policy to make sure even the most stringent consumers would be satisfied that what they
were eating was kosher to the highest standards. But a debate continues within its own rabbinical ranks about how the
filtering policy should be applied in ordinary homes, and some rabbis have suggested the filtering frenzy may have
gone too far.
Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, one of the leaders of Torah Vodaath rabbinical seminary in Brooklyn and an important voice on
Orthodox Union kosher matters, said in an interview that there was no requirement to check for things that were
impossible to see in the years before microscopes.
''If everybody goes around thinking that whoever doesn't filter water is actually eating things that are treyf,'' he said,
using a Hebrew word for unkosher, ''there will probably be all kinds of disputes between individuals and marriage
problems that can cause a cleavage.''
Many Jews have been left confused. Fran B., a marketing manager for a software firm who asked that her last name be
withheld, said she did not want to tear up the granite countertops in her Manhattan apartment to install a filter under
the sink, so she lugged bottled water from the supermarket.
''On the one hand, I'm drinking bottled water, but on the other hand I'm eating at friends' houses who have never even
heard of this,'' she said.
Others are perplexed about whether to filter at all, filter on Sabbath, or filter for purposes of cooking, washing dishes or
brushing teeth.
''The difference in opinions is driving a lot of people crazy,'' said Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, director of the National
Jewish Outreach Program in Manhattan, who hauls bottled water to his apartment so he will not have to filter on
Sabbath. ''You can't imagine what a turmoil it is.''
In an article in The Jewish Press, David Berger, a professor of history at the City University Graduate Center and a
rabbi, said, ''The notion that God would have forbidden something that no one could know about for thousands of
years, thus causing wholesale, unavoidable violation of the Torah, offends our deepest instincts about the character of
both the Law and its Author.''
Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler, who is a professor of biology and of Talmudic law at Yeshiva University, said he spotted the
telltale specks only after first looking at copepods through a 60-power dissecting microscope.
But having seen them, he said he thought they should be filtered out. Nevertheless, he does not believe the filters
should be turned off on Sabbath -- Jewish law already allows people to pick algae or other vegetation out of water. And
he certainly does not worry about whether pious Jews who drank unfiltered tap water in the past sinned.
''The hidden things belong to God,'' he said. ''We are responsible for what we see. If you don't know about it and don't
see it, then it doesn't exist. So those who drank the water before were drinking kosher water.''
Photos: Places like Negev Home Made Foods in Brooklyn have installed water filters since crustaceans were found in
city water. (Photo by Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times)(pg. 41); A copepod called the Diacyclops thomasi is the
most prevalent in the city's water. (Photo by Southwest Missouri State U.)(pg. 44)
Drawings (Drawings by Lalena Fisher/The New York Times)
Chart/Digrams: ''From the Lake to the Glass''
Most of New York City's tap water originates in upstate reservoirs whose natural ecosystems include copepods. These
microscopic crustaceans eat algae and in turn serve as food for fish. They are harmless to humans. In recent testing,
the city found an average of nine copepods per liter of tap water, easily outnumbering particles of other debris. Most
are dead by the time they reach the faucet.
Diacyclops thomasi -- The most common type found in New York City's water. It is about 0.03 of an inch long.
Mesocyclops edax -- The second most numerous; they alternate with D. thomasi as the dominant type. About 0.04 of
an inch long.
Skistodiaptomus pygmaeus -- A less numerous species. About 0.05 of an inch long.
Water flea, various species (shown is Daphnia pulex) -- Another crustacean related to copepods. Only numerous for
several weeks per year. About 0.04 of an inch long.

The New York Times
7 November 2004

Die weiteren Texte enthalten, soweit ich gesehen habe, nichts, was darüber hinaus geht.