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Can You Drink Purified Water?

There is an abundance of options for the type of water one can consume on a daily basis.

Most people in the United States have access to tap water, which undergoes a series of treatments before it reaches your faucet. Some people get their drinking water from private wells, which isn’t treated before it enters your home.

While tap water has undergone a number of treatments, it isn’t necessarily the same as the purified water many people prefer to drink on a daily basis. Tap water generally has a taste and smell distinct from purified water.

Though many people have a preference for bottled purified water, they wonder “What is purified water and is it bad for you?”

To answer this question, let’s take a look at how water purification works, what the goal of purification is, and how purified water compares to the water coming out of your tap.

It may surprise you to find out despite numerous treatments the water flowing from your tap might not be as safe to drink as purified water.

What Is Water Purification?

Water purification is a broad term referring to the processes through which unwanted contaminants are removed from drinking water.

Purifying water can occur on a large scale, such as the purification efforts made by municipal water suppliers used to treat drinking water before it is delivered to your home, or on a small scale, such as purifying drinking water in your home.

The removal of unwanted contaminants from water can be done through different processes. Many of these processes are effective against certain types of contaminants and less effective against other types of contaminants.

Because of this, most of the water delivered to your home by your community water supplier has undergone a series of processes until it has been deemed safe enough for consumption.

The most common reason water is purified is to provide safe drinking water. For those wondering, “Is drinking purified water bad for you?”, the short answer is no. In fact, drinking purified water will expose you to fewer contaminants.

However, there are a number of other reasons water is purified. Purified filtered water is the only water supply used in the production of medicines, in industrial applications, chemical production and applications, food processing, agriculture, and many other industries and fields.

What Contaminants Are Removed During Purification?

You would probably be surprised to find out exactly what is being removed from your drinking water. Though we tend to think of water as relatively clean, the quest for clean drinking water has preoccupied humans for thousands of years.

As water purification techniques have become more advanced over the years, the types of contaminants’ purification removes in filtered water has also grown.

At the same time, advanced water testing techniques highlight the continued persistence of contaminants in our drinking water, including in clean water which has already been treated.

Biological Contaminants

Biological contaminants represent a real threat to public safety, and water purification processes both large and small seek to limit the presence of these contaminants within our clean water for drinking.

Parasites, viruses, bacteria, protozoa, algae, and fungi are all biological contaminants that may be found in untreated water.

Viruses found in drinking water can include Hepatitis A, Norwalk, adenovirus, retrovirus, poliovirus, and many others.

Bacteria such as E. coli, Legionella, Typhoid, and Cholera can enter drinking water sources through human and animal waste, sewage leaks, or septic systems. Parasites found in drinking water can include Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Chemical Contaminants

Traces of chemicals can be found in the ground beneath our feet, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.

The chemicals in drinking water can be broken down into three broad categories; inorganic contaminants (IOCs), volatile organic contaminants (VOCs), and synthetic organic contaminants (SOCs).

Examples of IOCs include:

  • Arsenic
  • Nitrate
  • Asbestos
  • Fluoride
  • Mercury
  • Selenium
  • Chromium
  • Cadmium
  • Nitrite
  • Barium
  • Cyanide
  • Nickel

VOCs are commonly found in our water supplies. This class of chemicals comes from many products we are familiar with.

Solvents, gasoline, diesel, paints, varnishes, glues, cleaners, and many other products contain VOCs. VOCs like chloroform can also form when chlorine is added to water as a disinfectant and reacts with organic material in the water.

The fuel additive MtBE, used as a replacement for lead in gasoline, is frequently detected in water supplies as well.

Examples of VOCs include:

  • Benzene
  • Chlorobenzene
  • Toluene
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs) such as chloroform
  • Methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE)

SOCs are a category of man-made chemicals commonly used in industrial applications and the agricultural industry.

These compounds are often found in herbicides and pesticides and may leech out of leaking underground storage tanks. PFAS is a grouping of chemicals that have proven to be widespread throughout community water systems, particularly in California.

These chemicals are found in non-stick coatings, firefighting foams, waxes, and paints.

Examples of SOCs include:

  • 2,3,7,8 – TCDD (Dioxin)
  • Glyphosate
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Salts and Minerals

The mineral content of water is an important factor for water purification. When discussing the difference between hard water vs. soft water, water containing a large number of dissolved minerals is referred to as hard, while water with a low mineral content is called soft.

Water becomes hard as it percolates through stone and soil. As it moves through the ground it picks up mineral ions, which become attached to the water molecule.

The water hardness scale measures the level of minerals that are present in your tap water supply.

The most common minerals found in hard water are calcium carbonate and magnesium. Water can also pick up metals as it moves through soil and stone with high metal content.

While the minerals contained in hard water typically aren’t harmful to one’s health, the heavy metals found in hard water can be. The mineral content of hard water also causes a number of negative effects around your home and on your body.

These impacts of hard water are also particularly damaging in industrial applications and settings.

Here are a few of the most common effects of hard water in a residential setting:

  • Scaling – Hard water leaves behind dissolved minerals when it evaporates or is boiled. These deposits are known as scale. Scaling can affect any surface that hard water comes into contact with. This means you’ll usually find it on fixtures and surfaces in your bathrooms or kitchen. Scale deposits will also build up on the pipes in your home, and in appliances that heat water such as your water heater, coffee pot, and dishwasher.
  • Dry and Brittle Hair – The minerals in hard water are left behind as deposits when you wash your hair in hard water. Over time, these mineral deposits will coat your hair follicle. One effect of this mineral coating is dull, heavy hair. These deposits will also make your hair more brittle because they don’t allow conditioners and moisturizers to penetrate the hair follicle.
  • Soap Scum – Soap scum is a whitish-gray substance that forms when hard water comes into contact with soap. Soap scum is hard to remove and keep clean unless you transition to soft water.

Understanding Water Purification Techniques

Methods like distillation, reverse osmosis, and filtration, will show you how each technique removes impurities in varying degrees.

Distillation involves boiling water to produce steam, which is then condensed back into liquid form, removing contaminants. Reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to filter out impurities, while filtration passes water through a physical barrier to trap particles.

These purification processes keep our water safe by eliminating harmful substances and providing clean, drinkable water for various applications.

Comparing Purified Water and Tap Water Quality

Curious about the taste and clarity difference between purified and tap water? Purified water wins for its clean taste and crystal-clear appearance, thanks to its lack of impurities. Tap water may have a chlorine taste or cloudiness. We’ll explore these comparisons in detail below.

Flavor and Odor: Distinguishing Characteristics

Purified water exhibits a clean, neutral taste, free from any strange flavors or unpleasant odors. This pristine taste is a result of the thorough purification process.

In contrast, tap water often contains traces of chlorine used for disinfection or minerals like sulfur, resulting in a noticeably different taste.

Ultimately, the absence of impurities in purified water contributes to its refreshing taste—that crisp and invigorating drinking experience you most likely won’t get from tap water.

Clarity and Purity: Visual Indicators

Pour a glass of purified water and the first thing you’ll notice is its crystal-clear appearance. This transparency is a direct result of purification processes that remove sediments and contaminants. Tap water might include visible particles or show a bit of cloudiness.

Choosing purified water means opting for the highest standard of cleanliness in your drinking water.

Health Considerations: Assessing Contaminant Levels

Can you drink purified water and feel good about your health? Absolutely! You can drink purified water with confidence.

Purified water is held to stringent quality standards, ensuring it contains far fewer contaminants than tap water. This reduction in contaminants minimizes health risks associated with drinking water.

By adhering to rigorous regulations, purified water offers a safe, clean alternative that lowers the risk of consuming harmful substances found in non-purified sources.

Should You Purify Tap Water?

For those wondering, “is purified water good for you?”, the health benefits of purified water come from the lack of harmful contaminants. However, not all purified water is created equally, which is why you need a purification system that truly works.

For example, tap water can technically be considered purified since it has undergone a number of purification processes and techniques. But, if you are wondering “is tap water safe to drink?”, the answer is not as simple as you might think.

Tap water in the United States is treated so it is safe for consumption, but those treatments don’t mean you won’t be consuming harmful contaminants. Water safety violations occur all the time in the filtration process.

Despite the best intentions of community water purification systems, water quality violations are exceptionally difficult to detect in real-time. Additionally, not every contaminant considered potentially harmful to human health is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is the government body who is responsible for quality oversight of the water supply.

It is also notable, the treatment process for tap water can also introduce potentially harmful substances into the water. Specifically, community water suppliers add chlorine to the water to disinfect it for microbes found in the water.

While this often eliminates the threat from bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, chlorine can combine with organic material in the water to form trihalomethanes which are potentially carcinogenic.

Additionally, chlorine can add an unpleasant taste and smell to the water.

If you are seeking to avoid the widest range of contaminants, it’s important to filter your tap water before you drink it. Can you drink distilled or spring water that’s been bottled?

While it is possible to only drink bottled water, the cost of bottled purified drinking water is cost-prohibitive compared to home filtration.

Home filtration will allow you to remove a large majority of contaminants which may have been missed when your water was treated by your water supplier.

Home filtration will also protect you and your family against any unexpected or undetected rise in contaminants. One of the best options for home filtration is reverse osmosis filtration systems. 

Reverse osmosis vs distilled or other forms of home water purification tends to be more cost-effective and better at producing on-demand filtered drinking water.

The Safety of Purified Water

Here, we will explore the safety of purified water by debunking common myths, presenting scientific evidence of its safety and health benefits, and addressing concerns.

Dispelling Myths about Purified Water Safety

  • Myth: Purified water lacks essential minerals.

While purification removes minerals, essential nutrients mainly come from food, not water. Many brands re-add minerals to enhance nutrition and flavor.

  • Myth: Purified water is chemically treated.

Contrary to popular belief, not all purification processes involve chemicals. Many systems use physical filters and ultraviolet light, ensuring safety and natural purity.

  • Myth: Purified water tastes bland.

The taste of purified water might be less distinct because it’s free from impurities and additives found in regular tap water, making it safer and cleaner to drink.

Scientific Evidence Supporting Purified Water Safety

Studies have shown that purified water meets or exceeds international safety standards set by health authorities. This includes tests for contaminants such as bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals, ensuring that the water is safe for daily consumption.

Purified water is crucial for maintaining hydration, vital for all bodily functions, including cell homeostasis and organ functions.

Additionally, it supports digestive health by helping dissolve nutrients and waste products, making them easier to process and expel, which prevents common gastrointestinal issues like bloating and constipation.

Consumer trust in purified water is high due to the rigorous testing protocols it undergoes, which are more stringent than those for tap water.

Water purification facilities use advanced technologies and regular quality checks to guarantee the highest safety levels. This transparency about purification processes and quality assurance measures reassures consumers about the reliability of purified water.

Is Purified Water the Best Choice for Your Health?

Purified water provides a cleaner, safer, and better-tasting alternative to tap water. It removes harmful contaminants and impurities, ensuring higher quality and peace of mind. By choosing purified water for your daily hydration needs, you enjoy the benefits of superior water quality, contributing to better health and well-being.

Rayne has delivered top-notch water softener & drinking system solutions since 1928. Our water purification systems will save you money from day one. Get started with us today!

Sources:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations#Organic
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969714008742?via%3Dihub
  3. https://denr.sd.gov/des/dw/SOC.aspx
  4. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tap-drinking-water-contaminants-pollutants/
  5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tap-water-contaminant-epa-pharmaceuticals/
  6. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/bottled-water-everywhere-keeping-it-safe

FAQs

What is purified water?

Purified water is water that’s been mechanically filtered or processed to remove impurities and make it suitable for drinking and other uses. This includes the removal of chemicals, contaminants, and microorganisms.

Can you drink purified water safely?

Yes, you can safely drink purified water. It undergoes rigorous purification processes to ensure it meets safety standards and is free from harmful contaminants.

Does purified water taste different from tap water?

Purified water often tastes cleaner and fresher than tap water because it is free from chlorine, lead, and other contaminants that can affect the taste and smell of tap water.