What is raw water and should we be anxious about it?

What's in the water

Public Domain Nice clean river water from the Thames

And you also may have believed that all water is raw unless it's been boiled for tea. The reality, though, is one that could involve serious illnesses uncommon in modern America. According to The New York Times, several companies, including Live Water in Oregon, Zero Mass Water in California, and Tourmaline Spring in ME have begun selling "unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized" water for several dollars a gallon to people overly concerned with the government tampering with their taps.

Rachel Yacobozzi, a holistic health coach in San Clemente, Calif., who describes herself on her Instagram page as "in love with her pup, chocolate and sunshine" might as well add Live Water to that list. A glass orb of the untreated spring water is $36.99, and it costs $14.99 for a refill. He says he knows the risks, and he knows other people who got ill from other raw water sources. Even the most vocal raw water proponents admit that you have to drink any raw water you obtain within a couple months of its bottling or it'll turn its bottle green with algae, like the inside of a fish tank. "Bottled water's controversial. We've curtailed our water selection". Cases like the travesty in Flint, Michigan, are very real, and they bring with them very real health consequences. The water has gained popularity because it does not contain any additives like fluoride, which is typically added to tap water to help prevent tooth decay. Untreated water may even contain parasites like Giardia, which can cause, among other things, vomiting and diarrhea.

Dr Donald Hensrud, the director of the Healthy Living Program, compares raw water to the anti-vaxxer movement and warns of the dangers of taking Living Water's claims at face value. The Food and Drug Administration regulates water that is bottled and sold to consumers. A puddle could be marketed as raw and you don't see many people getting on their knees every time they fancy a drink, do you?

Lloyd Alter Bullitt Center water system  CC BY 2.0
Lloyd Alter Bullitt Center water system CC BY 2.0

Live Water founder Mukhande Singh has harsh words to say about the fluoride and chlorine used to treat tap water, forgetting the fact that these chemicals have virtually eradicated cholera, typhoid fever and diarrhea caused by water pathogens, ever since being employed to purify water in the United States, in 1908.

The best (or worst) part about this whole raw water trend is that it actually leads to water that expires just like other foods. "The springs that I will drink from have all been tested - and the closer you're drinking it to the source, the safer it is. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it's a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health", Singh (who changed his name from Christopher Sanborn) told the New York Times. And contaminated water means water that can make you sick. They assert that filtering water removes positive elements like probiotics and minerals.

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