The principle of drinking ‘Pure’ water as suggested by the RO proponents is that plain H2O is the purest form of water, and often they cite the evaporated rainwater as an example.
While this may sound logical, a cursory glance at this diagram of the Water Cycle very quickly dispels that theory, simply because our normal and natural method of getting water from rain goes through one very important process before we get to drink it; it runs down the mountainside and comes into contact with rocks, soil and plants and absorbs essential nutrients.
Does this principle hold true for RO water?
This same question was researched in 2004, commissioned by WHO (World Health Organisation) and quotations from those findings tell a very different story.
The Dangers of RO water
The composition of water varies widely with local geological conditions. Neither groundwater nor surface water has ever been chemically pure H2O, since water contains small amounts of gases, minerals and organic matter of natural origin. The total concentrations of substances dissolved in fresh water considered to be of good quality can be hundreds of mg/l.
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. demineralized water is defined as water almost or completely free of dissolved minerals as a result of distillation, deionization, membrane filtration (reverse osmosis or nanofiltration), electrodialysis or other technology. The total dissolved solids (TDS) in such water can vary but TDS could be as low as 1 mg/l. The electrical conductivity is generally less than 2 mS/m and may even be lower (<0.1 mS/m).
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.
So what are the Dangers?
- Demineralised water is highly aggressive and if untreated, its distribution through pipes and storage tanks would not be possible. The aggressive water attacks the water distribution piping and leaches metals and other materials from the pipes and associated plumbing materials.
- Distilled water has poor taste characteristics.
- Preliminary evidence was available that some substances present in water
- could have beneficial effects on human health as well as adverse effects. Studies in the 1960’s reported lower morbidity and mortality from some cardiovascular diseases in areas with hard (mineral rich) water.
- 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.
It follows that drinking RO water, which naturally wants to absorb minerals to return to it’s balanced state, would expose it to the minerals and nutrients of your own body which would then be leached from your body.
The Conclusion of the study of RO water was as follows;
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 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.
To view the full report with all references go to http://www.who.intwater_sanitation_health/dwq/nutdemineralized.pdf