Nowadays, we ought to be more careful of what we intake. We have to be conscious of what we fuel our bodies with. Water is a basic need for survival and one of the safest kinds of water available is purified water which can be obtained via water treatment, water filtration, or simply just buying bottled ones from the store.
It’s easy to get confused with all the information that we come across with. Commercial advertising and marketing feeds us with false ideas about water types just to sell their product. Consumers tend to always go for the affordable ones and the convenient ones. For us, water is water. And unless we have special needs, they’re all pretty much the same. However, there is a bit of an error to that. With this post, we will educate you about the kinds of treated water and their differences.
Purified water in a nutshell
In its most basic sense, purified water is a term used for water that has undergone treatment such as filtration and is almost completely devoid of major contaminants. Usually the source for this can be groundwater or regular tap water. The following water impurities are the ones most commonly eliminated upon purification:
- Metals like copper and lead
- Chemical pollutants
Purified water can be obtained through many different methods may it be for home use or commercial use.
In the West, it is mandatory to have purified water, especially those in drinking fountains for public consumption. The same may not be said for other parts of the world. Purified water is not easily accessible most especially in third-world countries and poverty-stricken areas. As a matter of fact, more than 2.1 billion people still do not have access to safe drinking water according to data gathered by the World Health Organization. For the case of the Western countries where purified water is mandatory they employ a lot of water treatment methods such as:
- Coagulation and Flocculation: This involves reaction between positively charged ions and negatively charged ions contained in water. Upon addition of a chemical that contains ions with the opposite charge as those in the water, there is floc formation and these large particles are the ones filtered out.
- Sedimentation: Dependent on gravity, this method allows the large and heavy particles to sink and settle to the bottom of the container. As a result, the clean water remains on the top layer.
- FIltration: The clean water at the top layer is filtered through fine particles like sand, charcoal, and gravel to remove extraneous debris, bacterial and viral content, and other chemicals.
- Disinfection: The final step is the addition of disinfectants, commonly chlorine, to eliminate the remaining microorganisms that survived the previous filtration stages and still lingers in the water.
These are just the general steps. It all still depends on the water quality of the area and the water source itself.
Benefits of purified water
Your immune system is heavily reliant on the nutrients in your blood, which is largely water. If you do not drink enough water, nutrients will not be transported properly to all of your organs. Staying hydrated is essential for detoxification pathways and getting rid of foreign invaders such as viruses and toxins. Dehydration may result in headaches, intestinal issues, migraines, and muscle tension. This is why health professionals advocate drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.
Helps in Digestion
You can’t possibly eat a full meal without drinking water every now and then. Aside from preventing you from choking and helping you in swallowing your food properly, water also plays a major role in the digestion of food in the gastrointestinal tract. Fluids help in GI motility, which refers to movement of food along the stomach down to the intestines where it is further digested and the essential nutrients are absorbed.
If you are having difficulty losing weight, filtered water might provide significant health benefits. It has been proved that drinking filtered water can dramatically increase your body’s metabolism and even reduce your appetite at a healthy level. Because purified drinking water contains no calories, there are no fixed limits on how much you can drink each day, which can be quite beneficial on your weight reduction quest.
So, how much purified water should you drink each day to have the optimum weight reduction results? To begin, specialists advise people who want to reduce weight to drink clean water before each meal. This will decrease your hunger and keep you from consuming unneeded calories, while also ensuring that your body receives adequate calories during your meal. When trying to reduce weight, it is also strongly advised to replace sugary drinks, such as soda, with water. Sugary drinks are a high calorie source, and many of us are unaware of how many calories we are getting when we drink soda.
Avoid brain injury
Excessive aluminum consumption has been connected to Alzheimer’s disease. According to research, aluminum can penetrate into your brain and is tough to remove once taken. To protect oneself from this potentially deadly substance, it is critical to have a water filter system installed in your home.
A number of organs need to work together to keep the body working, so drink as much water as you can to maintain your joints healthy and muscles strong. Because water makes up 75 percent of our muscles, we need to consume water to keep them functioning properly. Another point that is likely to be overlooked is that water contributes to the composition of synovial fluid, which is responsible for joint lubrication. As a result, it is strongly advised that you keep track of how much clean and purified water you consume.
The body has a natural way of eliminating foreign substances and toxins in our system through urination and perspiration – all of which involve water. Keeping a healthy amount of fluid allows for the smooth flow of water through our kidneys and maximizes its natural ability to filter out the toxins in our systemic circulation. The quality of the water we drink is a big factor because it would be counterproductive if our body constantly tries to get rid of toxins while we keep on taking in toxins from the impurities in our drinking water.
When we are hydrated, our skin is more moisturized from the inside. This results in enhanced elasticity and makes your skin less susceptible to oiliness and breakouts. As much as you put cosmetic products externally, having a good fluid intake also helps the skin glow from the inside out.
Makes you want more water
When you enjoy a fresh glass of water, you’ll definitely be wanting more. Once you get a taste of great water quality, you will be encouraged to drink more. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain that daily required amount of water that is recommended especially when the water does not taste good due to impurities.
Improves scalp and hair condition
The hair is the crowning glory. It is also another part of the body where we commonly apply external cosmetic products to improve the condition. But just like the skin, the hair and scalp condition can also be taken care of from the inside with the aid of proper hydration. Sometimes too many chemicals in the hair can cause more harm than good. By just drinking lots of fluids and keeping yourself hydrated, you can maintain the strength of your hair follicles, thus reducing the amount of hairfall. It helps in supplying more nutrients to the scalp by improving blood circulation.
Reduce your intake of chlorine
To counteract hazardous microorganisms such as bacteria, chlorine is added to water during the water treatment process. It has, however, been demonstrated to be closely linked to several types of cancer, as well as respiratory and heart issues.
Provides impenetrable germ protection
You may be confident that your tap water is free of dangerous disinfectants, E. Coli bacteria, and cysts if you use a water purifier. To name a few symptoms, these parasites can cause diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Modern water purifiers can successfully remove considerable levels of metals and compounds found in untreated drinking water, such as zinc, lead, and mercury. These microorganisms and metals are especially hazardous to children. As a result, if you have children at home, you should not take any chances.
Water purifiers are a more environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water
Every year, plastic bottles carrying “clean water” wind up in landfills. Furthermore, the carbon emissions produced when carrying the bottles throughout the world are astounding. Be thankful the next time you can avoid purchasing a bottle of purified water since you have your own purified water with you.
The disadvantages side of purified water
The benefits of purified water sounds really promising. We still want to inform you about the possible cons of purified water to balance out the pros.
Fluoride content is one thing to be concerned about. We all know fluoride as a chemical present in dental products but this is also added to public drinking water with the intention to take care of people’s dental health and prevent dental problems. It worked for a while but it has been discovered that fluoride in water and its accumulation in the body can lead to some health risks. High levels of fluoride intake can cause cell deterioration particularly in the nervous system and lead to problems in cognition, memory retention, and learning abilities.
There are still ongoing studies to further investigate this issue but as of now, there are filtration systems that remove fluoride from water for safety purposes.
Some other disadvantages are:
- Maintenance: Water purification systems require regular maintenance to prevent the build up of contaminants from filters and stop them from recontaminating the water.
- Not 100% effective in removing all contaminants: Water purifiers are without a doubt efficient in removing a lot of water impurities but there are still some kinds of contaminants that it is unable to filter out like organic substances and chemicals depending on the purification method employed.
- Cost: Setting up a water purification system will really cost you a few hundred dollars.
- Waste: While this does eliminate the consumption of plastic bottles, the filters you use for the purification system are still disposable and can still contribute to waste.
Contaminants and impurities found in tap water
The reduced amount of impurities and contaminants is the main reason why people patronize purified drinking water. Tap water can still be infested with pollutants even if it already went through initial treatment at the source. The EPA includes the following chemicals and substances as identified contaminants and has set content limits for them in drinking water:
- Pesticides and herbicides
Depending on the area and the water source itself, the amount of these contaminants can either be increased or decreased. Another factor that can affect water quality is the condition of the pipes. If the water is more acidic in nature, it can cause corrosion to the pipes, cause leaching and material deterioration that ends up in the water and can build up depending on how long the water was exposed to it. This commonly happens in pipes that are made of lead. Old cities with a plumbing system that is several years or decades old are most likely experiencing this problem. Replacing the pipes will cause major inconvenience in the water supply of the community. This happened in Flint, Michigan, and Newark in the state of New Jersey.
The unwanted pollutants in water can pose a risk to all people but are more dangerous to infants, elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people. You can get a thorough analysis of your water quality from your local Consumer Confidence Report. But the data you get from that is not fixed and changes from time to time.
Purified vs. Filtered water
These two are often interchanged. Though in most parts, they pretty much mean the same thing, there are still distinctions between the two. Both purified and filtered water undergo filtration. But the former goes through more treatment methods like distillation or reverse osmosis. Purified water is more reliable than filtered water for that reason that ensures more than 99% removal of impurities no matter what the water source may be. Filtered water on the other hand is dependent on the water source and the contaminants that are eliminated are already predetermined at the source.
Purified Water vs. Tap water
When we say “pure” water, what does it really mean? On a technical side, purity is determined by the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in a sample of water. TDS is the measure of how much impurities are dissolved in pure water expressed in ppm (parts per million) or mg/L (milligrams per liter). Now, the EPA has set a limit of not more than 500 ppm of dissolved impurities for tap water.
A lot of rumors about the things found in tap water are revolving in communities. Unfortunately, these aren’t just rumors. Presence of trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs to rocket fuel and everything in between have been found in tap water.
With water being a universal polar solvent, it has the ability to dissolve a lot of substances. You can evaluate your locality and figure out what might be your water source and get an idea on the impurity of your water supply. If it poses a risk to you and your family’s health, then there is no compromise there. You should always go for the safer option.
Why you should choose purified water over tap water
We have given an overview on the benefits of purified water and the disadvantages of tap water above but we still want to reiterate and emphasize that purified water is the wiser choice between the two for the following reasons and more:
- Tap water goes through lengths of pipes before it can reach your household and along the way debris can get caught in the water flow
- There is a high chance of bacterial content in tap water
- Chlorine is used for disinfecting the water source
- Purified water is free from the unwanted impurities but still possesses the essential minerals needed from drinking water
- Purified water has better taste and smell
Appliances that are connected to your water source will have a longer lifespan since it will be less exposed to the accumulation of hard water mineral deposits in the interior components.
Is purified water a better choice over regular water?
In water sources made for public consumption like drinking fountains, the water is guaranteed to be safe because it is mandated by authorities to protect public health. But it can still be at risk of contamination because of environmental factors and human activity. You cannot always rely on public water sources. It is always better and definitely more convenient to have a water purification system at home to have a readily accessible supply of purified water on demand.
Underdeveloped countries without proper sanitation efforts in low-lying areas are the ones with the most risk of exposure to contaminated water so they resort to store-bought bottled purified water.
Many purification systems that employ filters like activated charcoal and UV are efficient in removing the remaining impurities that may have been left behind from the initial treatment. In order to know the quality of the water that reaches your home, you can perform basic testing using commercially-available testing kits or have a testing agency conduct more thorough testing and analysis.
How to purify your drinking water
Even though safe purified drinking water is accessible in public places, there are still those who opt to have a water purifier in their homes to enjoy clean drinking water in the comfort of their own homes as well.
Home units can further cleanse the water and also make the taste and smell better.
There are two major kinds of water purification systems that vary on where they should be placed.
POU (Point of Use) systems are attached only to a single water outlet most commonly the faucet in the kitchen sink where drinking water is usually taken from and also the water used for food preparation. This kind of system costs less compared to POE (Point of Entry) systems that are installed in the main inbound water line that branches out throughout the entire house. Water is treated right before it enters your home. This is a more heavy-duty system.
The following methods are the ones that are commonly used by home purifiers.
- Filtration: This involves the use of a porous resin. Particles adhere to a filter media. A good example is the activated charcoal filter.
- Reverse Osmosis: The reverse osmosis filter medium used is in the form of a selectively permeable membrane that only allows water molecules to pass through and leaves the contaminants behind.
- UV light: Ultraviolet light is used to conduct water disinfection that mainly targets bacteria, pathogens and various sorts of microorganisms.
Water purifiers can be as cheap as $20 or can be more than hundreds of dollars depending on the brand, the model, the features, and other specifications.
One factor you should find is a certification from either the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) or NSF International, or even better, both. They are very reliable regulatory bodies that specialize in ensuring provision of quality water and testing water treatment devices.
Home purifiers require maintenance so make sure to read the user’s guide or product manual to know how to perform proper cleaning, and filter replacement to maintain its efficiency and keep it at peak performance.