The Truth About Raw Water
mp3 | wav

waterJust when we thought things couldn’t get crazier, there’s a movement against tap water that promotes “raw water” which is untreated, unfiltered water. This reminds me of the anti-vaccine movement because it suggests tap water is toxic. They argue that this so-called raw water is better for you because it’s devoid of chlorine and fluoride and contains probiotics that improve the gut flora.

These people can afford to bash tap water because we all take it for granted that the US has among the safest tap water in the world, even with the occasional lapse such as in Flint, Michigan. Before water is treated, it can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or algae. Even the most isolated mountain stream or spring can contain parasites that can make you very ill.

Yet, the raw water proponents are spreading dangerous misinformation in their zeal to pursue what they believe is a healthier option. One zealot claims the fact that his “raw water” turns green in a month is a sign that it’s alive and better for you. One California company sells their untreated spring water for thirty-six-ninety-nine for a two and a half gallon jug.

Of course not all raw water is dangerous since people in the US use well water or collect rainwater and both are untreated. But they should be tested. Well water can contain heavy metals and radioactive elements from the soil and underlying rock, as well as nitrates and nitrites from fertilizers. Industrial contaminants and illegal dumping can also affect the safety of wells and spring water.

Bottled spring waters in stores are regulated by the government so they’re not like the raw water being touted by this movement. I say, drink at your own risk.

For more information…

Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid
SAN FRANCISCO — At Rainbow Grocery, a cooperative in this city’s Mission District, one brand of water is so popular that it’s often out of stock. But one recent evening, there was a glittering rack of it: glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill, bottled and marketed by a small company called Live Water...

Potential Well Water Contaminants and Their Impacts
Drinking water can expose people to a variety of harmful pollutants and pathogens. Public water systems use water treatment and monitoring to protect consumers from such contaminants. Generally, private wells do not receive the same services that wells supplying the public do. Well owners are responsible for protecting their drinking water. To do so, a well owner must be aware of their well's potential for contamination and the possible health effects those potential contaminants can have...

CDC Community Water Treatment Information Page
Drinking water supplies in the United States are among the safest in the world. However, even in the U.S., drinking water sources can become contaminated, causing sickness and disease from waterborne germs, such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Hepatitis A, Giardia intestinalis, and other pathogens...