8 Drinking Water Myths and Explanations

Are there harmful chemicals lurking in your home’s drinking water? Should your family switch to a more health-conscious hydration source like distilled, purified, or filtered water? Water For Life has over 25 years of industry experience testing water quality and installing new systems in thousands of homes, restaurants, and businesses. Our teams puts the facts to the test and answers every homeowner’s biggest questions about their drinking water. 

1. Minerals are controversial.  Are the minerals in water beneficial like the calcium in milk is or are they completely non-nutritive compounds like dissolved rock?

The reason why minerals are controversial is that calcium and magnesium are minerals that are beneficial to the human body and they are also the minerals that are most plentifully found in water.  Everyone knows that minerals are beneficial to your body’s health, but not everyone knows that the minerals in water aren’t any more nutritional than dissolved rocks. Your body needs minerals to be healthy, however, the minerals in water can hardly be absorbed into the bloodstream because they are inorganic dissolved rock, and not the organic form found in whole food, like milk. This dissolved rock has a tendency to build up and deposit inside the body, especially if you have a deficiency that inhibits the compounds from being absorbed. So there are both good minerals and bad minerals in the same sense that there are good fats and bad fats.  Minerals may impart an alkaline flavor to the water, which some people may like, but in terms of their influence on the body’s health, the value is negligible, if not slightly detrimental in large doses. Eat right and you’ll get all the minerals you need, or take supplements to make up for an incomplete diet. Healthy individuals should never rely on drinking water for their daily dose of minerals.  Drinking water is great for cooling, flushing, hydrating, lubricating, and eliminating waste from your body, but it is generally the crudest source of minerals that you can ingest. Your body essentially demands that you to drink lots of water throughout the day, so it is important that you meet hydration needs without becoming overly dependent on tap water as a source of vitamins and minerals.

2. Spring water or Purified water? Is natural spring water or distilled water better?  

Purified water by distillation is, by legal definition, microbiologically pure, and free of dissolved rock. In this case, the source of the water does not matter as long as it meets these qualifications.  Water that’s purified is usually done so by distillation or reverse osmosis, and to a far lesser degree by deionization.  Distillation is boiling, which separates the dissolved solids into the boiling pot from the pure water steam, and the chemicals and volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) through aeration and post-carbon filtration.  Distillation takes any source water and removes virtually all classes of contaminants, sometimes only hours before it’s bottled, and you put the water in your mouth.  Distillation is the most standardized and consistent process that is not dependent on the purity of its source water, and is 100% consistent, because it is powered by electricity. Reverse osmosis uses membrane separation to achieve the same result, but may not be as consistent if the membrane degrades. Deionization is used sparingly in only a very few springs, wells, and municipal water source bottling plants because it is the least consistent and most expensive method in 85% of the country.

Spring waters are natural and bubble up from below the earth’s surface, containing everything you find in natural waters, including fish, crayfish, bugs, plants, and microorganisms of all sorts. Spring water has become an idealized version of drinking water – one that was well envisioned because it was the first source of water that was naturally pure and fiercely protected by families for its purported health benefits. These same companies got rich off of romancing their products as the purest water on earth. Unfortunately, these sources of spring water are vulnerable to manmade pollution, high amounts of dissolved rock, and other natural pollutants.  Truthfully, the water quality in springs varies from spring to spring.   Springs all have unique properties and challenges, but are not uniformly treated. The IBWA has done much to standardize best practices, but many spring water companies do not join the organization or fail to conform even after they become members.  The best ones do join, but today it is possible to easily beat spring water purity and safety testing through state-of-the-art purification techniques.  Regardless of the purity of the spring, spring water is no match for purified water for purity and freshness. Even more disturbing is that there have been dozens of reports of “spring water” bottlers that are actually using treated local tap water. This strand of false marketing further emphasizes the point that there are few industry standards for spring water classification.

3. So what about alkaline or purified? Does alkaline water prevent cancer? Is purified water too acidic?  

Alkaline or high PH waters taste salty and “mineraly”, like alka seltzer or Perrier.  These waters have been touted to heal cancer by multiple sources, namely multi level marketing firms, with no scientific third party testing lab certification.  These waters may appeal to some for their flavor, but it is clearly a marketing gimmick to say that they have any curative properties with which to fight cancer, just like it was a scam to claim that spa springs have healing properties.  These warm waters and romantic settings may lend themselves to the perception that we feel better, but they lack any scientific backing for any health claims. We now know that any feelings we may get are only temporary, and are much better dealt with in a permanent way through scientific medical means. While these homeopathic measures may have anecdotal backing, they rarely, if ever, have a scientific basis.

Purified water is achieved essentially through distillation, reverse osmosis, and to a lesser degree, deionization.  All three use different technologies to reach the same end product of drinking water which is scientifically measured near perfectly pure H2O, called legally purified water, that is microbiologically pure and less than 20 mg/l total dissolved solids.

Purified water is low PH water, which has been labeled as extremely healthy by some parties and only negligibly healthy by others.  While it has been proven purified water has no power to remove or leech beneficial minerals from the cells of your body, some evidence does show that purified water is better suited for helping your body excrete toxins and processing mineral deposits.  There is no scientific proof that purified water’s low PH contributes to the acidity of the human body because the PH of human stomach acid is 2.6, and far more acidic than the water itself.

Most people, by actual sales figures, now prefer the sweeter, lighter taste of purified water to water that is high in alkalinity. The number one, two, and three selling products in the bottled water industry today are all national brands and are purified, not spring, water.  Now, more and more smart, health-conscious families are discovering the effectiveness, sustainability, ease of maintenance and lower cost of purified water systems in the home instead of carting, buying, and lugging heavy cases of plastic bottles of water and then having to pay again to throw them away.  Water purification installation is a long-term investment that many homeowners are choosing, but one that is not widely known or followed by a majority of people.  This could certainly be due to huge advertising expenditures by bottled water companies for the top three brands, and the corresponding lack of funds in the drinking water systems industry for advertising for their brands to become better known as well as to overcome the negative myths and wives’ tales about the merits of in-home water filtration/purification.  Home water systems do exist that purify more effectively and more affordably than a years’ worth of bottled water purchases, but this is a fact that bottled water distributors do not want you to know.  The best technologies can last for 20+ years, so they are far less expensive than buying bottled water and have immediate sustainability benefits for the planet, and your own family’s lifestyle.

4. Does distilled water leach minerals from your body, and do you need to be careful not to drink too much?  

As mentioned earlier, distilled water is low PH water, but stomach acid lowers its PH even further. Internally, the blood, influenced by the highly absorbable food that you eat, alkalizes the body back to a normal homeostatic balance. Repeating, there is absolutely no scientific proof that low PH water leaches or pulls minerals out of the cells of your body, which is a wives’ tale born out of the fact that low PH water actually attracts and flushes inorganic minerals that are free in the body and rids the body of dissolved rock, which can cause problems if it builds up in your veins and bones. Distilled water, which is fresh, is great tasting, light, sweet, clean, refreshing, and very healthy for you. That’s my professional opinion from having talked to thousands of distilled water consumers over the years and listened to what they say.  After all, taste is a subjective thing, so you have to talk to enough people over enough time to form a long-term sample.  Our database contains thousands of testimonials over 25 years and even features hundreds of doctors and healthcare professionals in the Atlanta area who claim that distilled water is a healthier and better tasting version of their tap water. So, our database is scientific and remains confidential today.

5. Filtered Water versus Bottled Water? Some people say filtered is best because it’s greener and still tastes great. Others say bottled water is the highest quality because it gives you more health protections.  

Filtration is an excellent alternative for some.  Filtered water is not as pure as legally purified water.  It has great health protections against chemicals like chlorine and dirt, but is basically an aesthetic improvement, sweetening water to taste and smell better than tap water. While aesthetics alone is a great improvement versus tap water, it does not protect against virus, pharmaceuticals, Hexavalent chromium 6, lead, or other VOC’s unless it is applied specifically in a 25″ bed of granulated activated centaur carbon or a dense block type configuration. This may sound complicated, but we want to reassure users that filtered water is a drastic provides a sizable health and taste benefit over tap water, but still does not meet the same standards as legally purified drinking water. The green benefits of filtered water are deservedly promoted, since filtration eliminates the need for big trucks, plastic trash, back trouble, and major energy consumption that is created by bottled water and is one third to half as expensive on a cost per gallon basis as bottled water.  Filtered water can also be purified further in residential applications using NSF approved Everclean rinse nano/reverse osmosis or WQA approved distillation systems.  Purification techniques in the home have improved to the point where they can actually meet or beat the purity of bottled water. The discriminating consumer who wishes to be sustainable can now have their cake and eat it too by installing purified residential drinking water systems and pairing the water with their own personal reusable Nalgene® or stainless steel bottles.

6. City water versus well water? Those that have great wells swear by them, while others are afraid of well water and would only drink it if it were purified by the city.  What’s the straight scoop? 

Simply put, tap water is a bad product. It often has a metallic taste of slimy mouthful and can contain trace amounts of dangerous chemicals, heavy metals, VOC’s, viral contaminants, bacteria, pharmaceutical products, and Radionuclides.  Some studies reveal that roughly 6 in 100,000 people become seriously ill or die every year from contaminated tap water, which is an acceptable quality standard for the federal government.

The EPA actually now recommends that the public protects its families from tap water.  If this product were privatized, the government would then regulate it more strictly than it regulates itself, and companies that did not substantially improve on what the government produced would be excoriated, jailed, or both. Just as we have seen with the Peanut Corporation of America, located in Georgia, which sold tainted peanuts to the public nearly a decade ago.

Well water can be some of the cleanest best water in the world if it comes from a clean aquifer and is deeper than 150 feet into the ground.  Unfortunately less than 2% of wells meet this standardization.  The good news for the other 98% of wells is that the water is still nearly free and it can be treated by the wonderful array of equipment solutions available today to design your well water to be as pure as bottled or purified water systems can make.

7. Reverse Osmosis versus Distilled? Some say distilled is best because it is powered by electricity and it is the standard for purity by which all other waters are judged in the laboratory. 

Reverse osmosis water, which uses membrane separation to purify, and whose membranes are mostly subject to steady degradation, is not as consistently pure as distilled water, which is powered by electricity. When the membrane degrades, the water becomes less treated. After 5 years, degraded membranes will slowly decrease the water’s purity level to around 60% as pure as it was on first day of treatment. Depending on the brand, the source of water, and the amount of water processed, this 5-year limit can sometimes vary, but is generally around this same value. The argument that Reverse Osmosis leaves in a trace mineral makes no sense because the minerals in water are not beneficial to health after 1-2% saliency.

The only exception to this rule is the patented Everclean Rinse process by Kinetico, which is the only brand I mention because it is unique and superior within the industry. The Kinetico K5 Everclean Rinse process purifies the osmosis membrane continuously with purified water, shielding it from degradation and keeping the water consistently clean for a longer period of time. This process uses a non-electric distilled water system and qualifies this product as the best water system of any kind on the market and the only brand I highlight in my blog. Because the Kinetico K5 stands alone and makes the most consistently pure water of any system on the market, it can also lower the cost of monthly purified water expenditures for families.  Other than the Kinetico K5 reverse osmosis system, home distillation treatment is the best water treatment. At the same time, commercial water centers can also use exchange plate steam distiller (which are high-quality), but are not available for residential use. These condensing coil steam distillation systems are usually only cost-effective for large scale water consumers and producers.

8. What’s God’s water? Is it the water that comes up from the earth or is it the water that rains down on us? 

What’s Gods water? This terms sometimes comes up frequently among homeowners that want the best water for their families. Yes, this does involve a spiritual discussion about water, which is important to many consumers.  Of course it is both water which comes up from the earth, and water which rains down on us.  However, the hydrologic cycle is the system that distillation mimics and rain water is essentially water purified by distillation, where groundwater is essentially filtered water. The distillation process we use in our water systems is like the water that rains down from the Heavens, while ground water can be seen as coming from a more sinister place. I’d say God’s water is like rain water: the purest water He makes which can put into legally purified classifications by our own hands.  Legally purified water is the best water for you, your family and your health.


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