What is “Raw Water”?

The latest “healthy” craze is drinking untreated, unfiltered water (and paying a premium for the privilege).   The main idea is that treated water has been stripped of beneficial bacteria and minerals.  Proponents also claim treatment chemicals, fluoride, and lead pipes make treated water dangerous.  “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” Mukhande Singh, founder of Live Water who changed his name from Christopher Sanborn, said to the Times. “Chloramine, and on top of that, they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”  Fluoride has been added to water since 1945.  Initially, cities with fluoridated water had a 50% drop in cavities.  Since then, fluoride in toothpaste and other sources has led to lower cavity levels.  Recently, studies are questioning the value of continuing with fluoridation in water.

When asked, many people think there’s a real problem with tap water.  And that concern is not unfounded. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that, in 2015, about 1 in 5 Americans was served by a system with at least one violation — either a contaminant in amounts over the limit or a failure to test.

Is it safe?

Not surprisingly, the trend has the medical community concerned.  “[Water can contain] a host of biological and chemical contaminants, including viruses, bacterium, parasitic entities and heavy metals that could exist in unacceptable concentrations to human health, “says Patrick Novak.  He’s the director, vice-president and chief science officer at Caro Analytical Services.     “Even if the water is coming from something deemed to be a pure source.  Every water system is a living system,” Novak says. “It’s unlikely that without some filtration or treatment, that it would be free of bacteria or biological contaminants to the level that health authorities would deem it safe.”