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The Ugly Truth About Reverse Osmosis Water

Mina Chassler July 2023

All About Water: Mina Chassler

Reverse Osmosis (RO) water is a filtration process that pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane to remove or filter out impurities.

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

It was first discovered in the mid-1700s and developed over the next 200 years. Artificially-produced demineralized waters were originally used for industrial, technical and laboratory purposes. In the 1960’s, the technology was applied to drinking water in some coastal. And inland arid areas struggling to meet increased water demands caused by increasing populations, industry and mass tourism.

In recent years, RO has become increasingly popular. Most bottled water in stores today are RO. And more and more people are installing RO systems in their homes. However, the truth about RO water is anything but clean and clear.

In addition, the next time you reach for a bottle of water in the store or if you are thinking about installing an RO system in your home (or already have one) consider the following….

“Artificially-produced demineralized waters were originally used for industrial, technical and laboratory purposes.”

Reverse Osmosis Water is bad for you.

Warning Against Drinking Reverse Osmosis Water:

RO is an inexpensive and efficient way to filter out contaminants and other impurities from water. However, this process filters out all the minerals and trace elements you DO want in your water, along with the stuff you don’t.

RO systems remove 92-99% of beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium and trace elements that our bodies need. Recently, the World Health Organization issued a warning against drinking RO water. The WHO analyzed hundreds of studies and determined demineralized / RO water “has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.”

Moreover, the WHO report continues…“For about 50 years, epidemiological studies in many countries all over the world have reported that soft water (i.e., water low in calcium and magnesium) and water low in magnesium is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to hard water and water high in magnesium.” (1)

Various Health Complaints:

One study of Czech and Slovak populations stated: Those who began using RO water in their home taps between 2000 – 2002 found that “various health complaints suggestive of acute magnesium (and possibly calcium) deficiency were reported within several weeks or months. Among these complaints were cardiovascular disorders, tiredness, weakness, and muscular cramps.”

Another study found that “while the effects of most chemicals commonly found in drinking water manifest themselves after long exposure. The effects of calcium and, in particular, those of magnesium on the cardiovascular system are believed to reflect recent exposures. Only a few months exposure may be sufficient consumption time effects from water that is low in magnesium and/or calcium”. This means that the output of RO water is worse for our bodies than the chemicals it’s filtering out!

In other words, it gets worse. Because reverse osmosis water has been so demineralized. Drinking it actually leaches minerals from the body. So any minerals being consumed by eating food or taking vitamins and supplements gets flushed away – literally! By drinking reverse osmosis water, not only are you not taking in the minerals your body needs, you are excreting minerals your body already has. The list of side affects and health problems only grows.

Demineralized Water:

In recent epidemiological studies among Russian populations supplied with water it showed varying in TDS. This suggests that demineralized water may be a risk factor for hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, goiter, pregnancy complications and several complications in newborns and infants, including jaundice, anemia, fractures and growth disorders (3).

“RO water was found to leach up to 60% of magnesium and calcium and up to 86% of other micro-elements.”

Cooking with reverse osmosis water can cause loss of essential elements from food such as vegetables, meat, and cereals. RO water was found to leach up to 60% of magnesium and calcium and up to 86% of other micro-elements.

The WHO states that it is nearly impossible to recreate natural water with all its trace elements and minerals once it’s been removed. The custom of adding minerals back into RO water, as some companies have started to do, will simply not make up for what has been taken away in terms of health and drinking water’s role in the body.

Bad For The Environment:

“The modern diet of many people may not be an adequate source of minerals and microelements. In the case of borderline deficiency of a given element, even the relatively low intake of the element with drinking water may play a relevant protective role. This is because the elements are usually present in water as free ions and therefore, are more readily absorbed from water compared to food where they are mostly bound to other substances.” (4)

Reverse Osmosis Water is bad for the environment.

In the RO process, when water gets pushed through a filter two streams of water are created. The first, called “permeate” is the treated water we drink, the second called “concentrate” or “brine” is the reject water. The process is energy-intensive, wasteful and negatively impacts our environment.

Here’s why: For every gallon of purified water produced by RO, anywhere from two – five gallons of wastewater is generated. In addition, some inefficient units will generate up to 10 gallons of wastewater for every gallon of permeate produced. Imagine throwing away five to ten glasses of water for every glass you drink!

“The process is energy-intensive, wasteful and negatively impacts our environment.”

Regulate Water Efficiency:

In conclusion, according to the EPA there are no current federal requirements that regulate water efficiency of RO systems. On top of that, the wastewater, or brine, is high in salt and other impurities that can harm the environment if not properly disposed of.

Moreover, bottled waters that use reverse osmosis are labeled as “purified water” or “purified drinking water”. It’s a sales tactic that appears healthy on the surface but the reality is that it can have significant negative impacts on your body and the environment. So the next time you reach for that bottle of water in the store, avoid the ones marked “purified” and reach for a spring, mineral or geothermal water that is both better for your body and for Mother Earth.

Sources:

  • (1) https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9241593989
  • (2) Rubenowitz E, Molin I, Axelsson G, Rylander R. Magnesium in drinking water in relation to morbidity and mortality from acute myocardial infarction. Epidemiology 2000; 11: 416-421
  • (3) Mudryi IV. Effects of the mineral composition of drinking water on the population´s health (review). (In Russian.) Gig Sanit 1999; 1: 15-18.
  • (4) HEALTH RISKS FROM DRINKING DEMINERALISED WATER Frantisek Kozisek National Institute of Public Health Czech Republic

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About the Author:

A native Angeleno, Mina Chassler is no stranger to the water issues that are affecting more and more people every day. However, Mina really became immersed in the water world in 2018 when she was tapped to join Michael Hobson on his mission to bring a unique healing water to market. Thus began a five-year long deep dive into water and its importance to our health and wellbeing.

Since its launch in 2019, Aquene Springs Source Water has won silver in the prestigious Fine Waters International Taste Competition and is now the water recommended by naturopathic doctors across the US. In 2020, Mina helped coordinate a giant effort to bring Aquene Springs Water to 5,000 Navajo households who lacked running water during the Covid pandemic.