In-home and Bottled…Purified, Reverse Osmosis Water (R.O.) SHOCKING SIDE EFFECTS
Artificially-produced demineralized waters, first distilled water and later also deionized or reverse osmosis-treated water, had been used mainly for industrial, technical and laboratory purposes. These technologies became more extensively applied in drinking water treatment in the 1960’s as limited drinking water sources in some coastal and inland arid areas could not meet the increasing water demands resulting from increasing populations, higher living standards, development of industry, and mass tourism. Drinking water supply was also of concern to ocean-going ships, and spaceships as well. The potential effects of totally unmineralized water had not generally been considered, since this water is not found in nature except possibly for rainwater and naturally formed ice.
Although rainwater and ice are not used as community drinking water sources in industrialized countries where drinking water regulations were developed, they are used by individuals in some locations. In addition, many natural waters are low in many minerals or soft (low in divalent ions), and hard waters are often artificially softened.
Demineralization of water was needed where the primary or the only abundant water source available was highly mineralized brackish water or sea water. Initially, these water treatment methods were not used elsewhere since they were technically exacting and costly.
The potential for adverse health effects from long term consumption of demineralised water is of interest not only in countries lacking adequate fresh water but also in countries where some types of home water treatment systems are widely used or where some types of bottled water are consumed. Many brands of bottled water are produced by demineralising fresh water and then adding minerals for desirable taste. Persons consuming certain types of water may not be receiving the additional minerals that would be present in more highly mineralized waters. Consequently, the exposures and risks should be considered at the individual or family level as well as at the community level.
2. HEALTH RISKS FROM CONSUMPTION OF DEMINERALISED OR LOW-MINERAL WATER
Experiments have been conducted in laboratory animals and human volunteers, and observational data have been obtained from populations supplied with desalinated water, individuals drinking reverse osmosis-treated demineralised water, and infants given beverages prepared with distilled water.
The possible health consequences of low mineral content water consumption are discussed in the following categories:
• Direct effects on the intestinal mucous membrane, metabolism and mineral homeostasis or other body functions.
• Practically zero calcium and magnesium intake.
• Low intake of other essential elements and microelements.
• Loss of calcium, magnesium and other essential elements in prepared food.
• Possible increased dietary intake of toxic metals leached from water pipe.
• Possible bacterial re-growth.
Drinking water should contain minimum levels of certain essential minerals (and other components such as carbonates). Unfortunately, over the two past decades, little research attention has been given to the beneficial or protective effects of drinking water substances. The main focus was on contaminants and their toxicological properties. Nevertheless, some studies have attempted to define the minimum content of essential elements or TDS in drinking water, and some countries have included requirements or guidelines for selected substances in their drinking water regulations. Although these are exceptional cases, the issue is relevant not only where drinking water is obtained by desalination (if not adequately re-mineralised) but also where home treatment or central water treatment reduces the content of important minerals and low-mineral bottled water is consumed.
Although drinking water manufactured by desalination is stabilized with some minerals or even a higher added amount of liquid ionic minerals is added to water (IE alkaline bottled waters that are processed water with added minerals like (E2 Real Alkalized Water, Tru Alka, Lassens 9.5, Alkapuro, Essentia 9.5) this is usually not the case for water demineralised as a result of household treatment. Even when stablized, the final composition of some waters may not be adequate in terms of providing health benefits.
Demineralised water that has not been remineralized , or low-mineral content water – in the light of the absence or substantial lack of essential minerals in it – is not considered ideal drinking water, and therefore, its regular consumption may not be providing adequate levels of some beneficial nutrients. (IE brands that claim purified RO water Sparkelets,Dasani, Penta, Aquafina).
Sufficient evidence is now available to confirm the health risk from drinking water deficient in calcium or magnesium. Many studies show that higher water magnesium is related to decreased risks for cardiovascular disease CVD and especially for sudden death from CVD. This relationship has been independently described in epidemiological studies with different study designs, performed in different areas (with different populations), and at different times. The consistent epidemiological observations are supported by the data from autopsy, clinical, and animal studies. Biological plausibility for a protective effect of magnesium is substantial, but the specificity is less evident due to the multifactorial aetiology of CVD. In addition to an increased risk of sudden death, it has been suggested that intake of water low in magnesium may be associated with a higher risk of motor neuronal disease, pregnancy disorders (so-called preeclampsia, and sudden death in infants) and some types of cancer. Recent studies suggest that the intake of soft water, i.e. water low in calcium, is associated with higher risk of fracture in children, certain neurodegenerative diseases, pre-term birth and low weight at birth and some types of cancer.
Furthermore, the possible role of water calcium in the development of CVD cannot be excluded. International and national authorities responsible for drinking water quality should consider guidelines for desalination water treatment, specifying the minimum content of the relevant elements such as calcium and magnesium and TDS. If additional research is required to establish guidelines, these authorities should promote targeted research in this field to elaborate the health benefits. If guidelines are established for substances that should be in deminerialized water, authorities should ensure that the guidelines also apply to uses of certain home treatment devices and bottled waters.
All information taken from a document by F. Koziek of the World Health Organization, “Health Risks From Drinking Demineralized Water”