Did you know that a person can only live a few days without water? 1 This fact points to the importance of drinking water on a daily basis. Water is used by the body in converting food to energy, regulating temperature, removing waste and cushioning vital organs, which is why experts recommend that adults consume at least eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day. The more active a person is, the more water their body needs. 2 Most adults lose about 10 cups of water each day through normal activity. 2
One big reason we should all drink pure water is because even treated water can contain harmful contaminants. So how do we protect ourselves from these poisons that threaten the purity of our drinking water?
There are several ways you can purify your drinking water at home. Carbon filtration, reverse osmosis and distillation are some of the most popular methods of water purification. Let’s explore each method briefly:
Carbon filtration is one of the oldest methods of water purification. Carbon filters are relatively inexpensive and are the most effective at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sediment and chlorine from water. However, these filters are not effective at removing salts, minerals and dissolved inorganic compounds. 3 Additionally, a carbon filtration system will not provide protection against bacteria, viruses and parasites in drinking water.
Another method of water purification, reverse osmosis (R/O), uses a semi-permeable membrane with tiny holes or “pores.” This membrane allows water to pass through while stopping many harmful contaminants. R/O can remove mercury, nitrates, chromium, potassium, sodium, organic chemicals, dissolved solids, minerals, salt and other impurities. 4 However, not all R/O models remove the same contaminants. 4 These systems comparatively take out more water contaminants than carbon filtration systems. It is still possible, however, that some bacteria, viruses and parasites may penetrate the filtration membrane and remain in drinking water.
A third method of water purification is distillation, which is the process of boiling water to the point where it evaporates into steam. The steam is taken to a condenser where it is then turned back into a liquid form, thus creating distilled water. Distillation takes out virtually all minerals and contaminates in drinking water, even bacteria, viruses, parasites, poisons, and heavy metals. 5 The biggest advantage of distillation is that it produces pure drinking water. However, it may not be a good idea to drink plain distilled water for long period of time, due to the fact that distilled water is lacking trace minerals that the body needs. 6 Fortunately, trace minerals can be added back into distilled water.
To wrap things up, drinking water is essential for life. Drinking pure water, free of bacteria, viruses, parasites and other harmful contaminants will add vitality and longevity to your life. We should all drink to that!
- Dr. Jeff Tanji/Assoc. Medical Director/Sports Medicine. Hydration & Exercise.
- Is it really important to drink lots of water? Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.
- Carbon Filtering. Wikipedia.
- Filtration – Pros and Cons. HistoryOfWaterFilters.com.
- Water Distillation Principles.
- Water distillation and water distillers.