Is anyone else in awe over the fact that it's 2018, and there’s an actual debate over whether it’s safe to consume unfiltered, unsterilized water? There’s a reason why organizations have been formed to encourage daily behaviors that could improve the cleanliness of our water, friends, and that’s because our springs, lakes, and oceans are heavily contaminated with natural, as well as man-made pollutants. It’s not only gross to gulp down untreated tap water (who knows what could be floating around each sip?), there are actual dangers of raw water that can lead to, at the very least, an upset stomach or illness, and at worst, the consequences can be fatal. In other words, the risks of drinking raw water range from diarrhea to death. Still thirsty? I didn’t think so.
Trust me, I think it's wonderful that so many people are starting to become more concerned with what they're putting into their bodies. It's important to be aware of, and be able to differentiate between, what will improve and what can possibly be detrimental to your health. However, not every viral health and wellness trend is legitimate, and you have to do your own research, as well as rely on common sense, before hopping on the bandwagon.
Social media has certainly led us to some strange pseudo-health trends, and you can add raw water to the list of epic fails in an attempt to lead a more purified lifestyle. Chugging a bottle or two of untreated water is risky, and it's because of the following dangers of raw water listed below that you most definitely should pass on this fad in 2018 and beyond.
1. "Pure" Can Sometimes Be A Problem
I know myself, and over the past few years, I've made it a point to eat foods that are made with whole, earthy ingredients, and do extensive research before chowing down on processed items to become better aware of what, exactly, I’m putting into my body. This kind of consciousness is something I encourage everyone to practice, but it’s really important to note that just because a meal or beverage is considered “natural” or “raw,” does not mean you should automatically assume it's “healthy.”
Truly "raw" water is bottled from streams and sold unfiltered. What that means is it has not been tested for disease, or for pollutants that could make you sick and negatively affect your health in the long run.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told Healthline that raw water is the perfect example of things that are mistaken for "good" because they are "natural." The truth, he said, is that many natural things "are dangerous."
2. It Turns Out, Some "Raw" Water Bottles Aren't Actually Raw
Healthline reports that bottled water sold in the U.S. must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it can legally hit shelves. This means, from my understanding, that these so-called “raw” bottles being sold on the shelves of convenience stores aren’t 100 percent “raw.”
In a statement to Healthline, the California Department of Public Health said that the sunshine state requires bottled water be subjected to "filtration and effective germicidal treatment by ozone, ultraviolet light, or an equivalent disinfection process.” In other words, any bottle of water legally sold in the state of California has been treated in one way or another.
If this is true, and these companies are falsely advertising their product as “raw,” it's sending the wrong message, on multiple levels, about the actual safety — or lack thereof — of raw water.
3. The Pros Don't Outweigh The Cons
What’s attracting so many people to raw water in the first place is a) their consciousness of what our drinking water is being exposed to (i.e. fluoride and lead piping) during the filtration process, and b) the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics sustained in H2O that hasn’t been touched. It’s true that pure, untreated water does have some healthy benefits, but the pros definitely do not outweigh the cons here.
Dr. Cody Cook, creator and chief medical scientist of HTWO, tells Elite Daily that untreated water is swimming with tons of germs and chemicals from industries and naturally occurring chemicals, bacteria, and viruses that will make you sick far faster than the benefits will improve your health.
4. Drinking Raw Water Means Drinking Pollution
Think of "raw water" as a euphemism for a tall glass of puréed animal feces, agricultural runoff, and human-made pollution like birth control pills and food scraps. You can’t be 100 percent sure that a glass of raw water is safe to drink, because without any treatment, distributers can’t definitively say one way or another what’s in it.
Uttam K. Saha, program coordinator at the Agricultural and Environmental Services Lab at the University of Georgia Extension, told USA Today that you really don’t know if a bottle of raw water is full of disease, or if it contains a slew of disease-fighting probiotics, “unless the water is tested.” So, really, even taking a few sips puts your health at risk.
5. You Can Catch Deadly Diseases
The reason we started testing and treating drinking water in the first place was to eliminate deadly disease responsible for the demise of generations before us. Drinking bottle after bottle or raw water is basically shrugging off these diseases and accepting there's a pretty good chance your insides are doomed.
According to Dr. Cook, improvements in the way the U.S. water systems are filtered and sanitized continue to "significantly reduce the occurrences of water-borne illness," meaning, he tells Elite Daily, that consuming the harmful chemicals and pathogens that could be lurking around your bottle of raw water could "expose Americans to diseases that have been virtually removed from public concern over the past century." Translation: You think by supporting raw water, society is taking two steps forward, but really, it's pushing us five steps back.
6. It's Bad For Oral Hygiene, Too
Besides the the fact that drinking raw water can wreak havoc on your insides, the stuff isn’t so great for your oral hygiene, either.
As raw water is full of chlorine and fluoride, drinking eight glasses of the stuff a day will eventually lead to tooth damage, sensitivity, loss of enamel, and stains — so much for pearly whites, huh? Yet another reason you should definitely stick to standard bottles and cups of filtered tap.