We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

It’s the water.

When I was about seven years old, my family took a vacation to Acapulco. My parents were so eager to share their excitement about Mexico with us that they took us to see Bo Derek and Dudley Moore in the movie Ten, filmed in Acapulco but more notable for featuring Bo Derek’s large and naked breasts. Oops!

Anyway, as we traveled, my parents emphasized that I should not drink the water. A few days into the trip, my sister was sick. The only water she had had was during tooth brushing. So, my parents, concerned I might get sick too, said to me, “Little Four, have you been drinking any water?”

I said, “No.”

“Then how are you brushing your teeth?” they asked.

“I haven’t been!” I explained very sensibly. Because how on earth can you brush your teeth without water?

This story came to mind as we’ve been talking to Giggle about regular and effective tooth brushing. He went back to the dentist today for his third visit. Last week he had three cavities filled, making four total fillings until today, when she filled two more. And discovered another two in addition to the previous seven. I can hardly keep up, but that makes nine cavities total.

After the fillings, he’s getting a flouride treatment. Oh, and then little Bug goes to the dentist. Health care is cheaper here, but we’re paying 300 LE (about $50) for each filling. Ouch all around.

Now, back to the tap water: we drink it. Not as our regular drinking beverage, though we did do that at first, until the chlorine taste got to us. Much to our surprise and delight, the tap water here is safe, most of the time, because of the chlorine. How do I know there’s a lot of chlorine in the water? It smells like a public pool. Also, people told me.

But we use it for brushing our teeth and cooking. So, this has me wondering: are there long term effects of chlorine consumption? Chlorine is, in fact, a carcinogen. Then again, bad water can kill you pretty fast too. Or, rather slowly but painfully.

In any case, clean tap water is an absolute luxury that we really appreciate.


22 November 2007 - Posted by | giggle, our life in egypt, sicknesses


  1. I’m not sure what the health risks of any given concentration of chlorine are, at too high concentrations it increases the risk of bladder/colon cancer.

    Remember that municipal water in the US and bottled water is also usually disinfected with chlorine, at concentrations just to small to taste. The actual difference in concentration in tap water between Cairo and the US might not be that much.

    But as you note, the public health effects of unsanitary water are far worse than anything the chlorine will do. Lack of safe drinking water causes more deaths worldwide than just about anything else (if not everything).

    Comment by Jonathan | 22 November 2007

  2. Jonathan, thanks for the information on this. It makes total sense now to know that the water in the US is also chlorinated (though Mr. Four and I lived for years in a rural area where we had a spring, so no chlorine, flouride, etc). Thanks for the new perspective.

    Comment by egypt4 | 25 November 2007

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    Comment by aqwspn kjvdqu | 30 January 2008

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