It has often been said that at some point in time, life goes full circle. We often witness this phenomenon where people go back to basics. Whether it’s about adopting a paleo diet or using domestic products made without any industrial step involved, we try to mimic our prehistoric ancestors in some manner.
In this informal movement of transiting to a more primitive lifestyle, another fad has been trending, i.e., imbibing raw water. Let’s start with getting to know what raw water actually is.
What is Raw Water?
Raw water is a commodity which is not treated like bottled or tap water and comes directly from rivers, streams and lakes of fresh water. According to its advocates, it contains all the minerals and micronutrients which are removed in the treatment process of domestic water supplies. In so doing, it is claimed that raw water doesn’t have any contamination and extra chemicals added from the treatment of public water supplies.
Raw Water: A Lucrative Industry
Within a very short time period, the supply of raw water has transformed into a lucrative industry. 2.5 gallons of untreated spring water is available for around $37 and comes along with fancy packaging. Affluent strata of big urban cities are the major consumer of this new booming industry, which is selling this essential commodity at such inflated rates.
Fulfilling the Idea of Independent Living?
The trend of consuming raw water is also getting traction because it demonstrates the illusion of independent living where one is not reliant on the ‘system’. The trend is very similar to the idea of going ‘off the grid’ where households generate all the energy they need on their own.
Alleged Benefits of Raw Water
There are some supposed benefits of raw water which are extensively marketed.
No Lead Contamination
Since raw water doesn’t pass through the municipal pipelines, it’s free of any lead contaminants.
Raw water is also being sold with a USP that it contains only those nutrients which nature supplies, in the form consumed by our forefathers.
No Chlorine, Fluoride
Chlorine and fluoride is used in the treatment of the water supply, while raw water is entirely free of them.
Refutation of the Benefits and Harming Effects of Raw Water
A strong refutation of the benefits of raw water has come from different quarters and terming it as a product of pseudoscience with no significant research to make a solid conclusion. For instance, water supply lines are now properly sealed and no lead content seeps into the supply. Insignificant amounts of fluoride in the water doesn’t have any detrimental effects on the human body and fluoride-treated water helps in the prevention of tooth decay.
Some other harmful aspects of consumption of raw water are also being highlighted by the experts. Let’s look into some of them.
No Natural Source of Fresh Water is Free of Contaminants
According to the Director of waterborne disease prevention of the CDC, even the purest spring in the country can’t be free of contaminants. Moreover, not all natural ingredients are always beneficial for human consumption.
Therefore, no natural source of water can be directly supplied to the households without rigorous testing and quality assurance. There is a reason why the Environmental Protection Agency imposes a stringent quality guideline for domestic water supply.
Moreover, there are chances that groundwater might be exposed to the poisonous elements of radon and arsenic, present naturally in soil and rock formation in many geographical places. Raw water can look crystal clear to the naked eye, but prior to lab tests, one can’t be sure if its free of viruses and bacteria.
What’s the Need?
According to a report from the CDC, the domestic water supply in the US is safest in the world. Three basic steps of water treatment are employed for public water supplies across the United States:
- Sedimentation: A procedure through which heavy particles of dirt and soil are filtered
- Filtration: Removal of every harmful microparticle
- Disinfection: Killing of waterborne bacteria through chlorine and other chemical treatments
Apart from these treatment steps, local municipalities employ their own measures of making domestic water healthy to drink. So, what’s the point of spending large sums of money on a potentially harmful commodity when you can get the safest type from your own tap?
One man who lived a healthy 100 years in New York City had this to say about the municipality’s water “There is nothing cleaner than New York City water”. Well, when you hear words spoken from a true centenarian, maybe, just maybe we should take heed of his comment!