Is Raw Water Safe To Drink? An Expert Has Weighed In On The New Trend & Yikes


I hate to say I told you so friends but, I totally told you so. I cannot stress enough that you really need to do extensive research into any and all “wellness” trends popping up on social media before putting them to the test. Aside from the fact that whatever it is may not be right for your individual body, what sounds like a genius idea might actually be really harmful to your health. For example, drinking unfiltered water sounds great when it’s being described as “pure,” but think about it. Is raw water safe to drink when, in reality, it’s being scooped from streams that could be contaminated with animal feces, toxic minerals, or even be carrying disease? I sure as hell didn’t think so, and neither do the experts.

Just in case you’re not caught up, raw water is the booming pseudo-health trend currently making its mark on Silicon Valley. What is raw water, you may ask? Raw water is exactly that — raw, unfiltered bottles of H2O derived from springs that are now being sold by the gallon for as much as a whopping $60 per jug due to an increase in popularity from all the attention the trend is getting.

It sounds ridiculous because it is, and what’s even more concerning is that people aren’t just drinking raw water because they’re dying of thirst and these are the last bottles on the shelf. Raw water is actually in high demand due to a sudden “water consciousness,” in which consumers aren’t trusting the system to actually rid their drinking water of bad chemicals. So, instead of treating it at all, people are opting to drink it straight from the source. It sounds great in theory, but food-safety expert and lawyer Bill Marler is swooping in to shut down the trend real quick.

Drinking raw, unfiltered, unsterilized water is not only dangerous, it could also be deadly.

We’ve definitely seen a transition in how people are approaching the subject of personal health and wellness choices over the last year or so, and in most cases, that’s amazing and something to take pride in. With documentaries like What The Health educating viewers about the food they choose to fuel their bodies with on a daily basis, the world is beginning to look at all aspects of health with a fresh, progressive perspective — maybe a little too progressive.

Obviously, as a health and wellness writer myself, I’m all for expanding your horizons and finding what works best for your body. But guys, I’m at a loss here. I'm just not understanding the appeal of guzzling down a gallon of water that hasn’t been treated for disease. To me, at least, it just sounds like a really bad idea and, as far as Marler's concerned, it absolutely is.

The issue here isn’t that people want to be healthier; that alone is fantastic. The problem is that people are going to such great lengths to achieve total health and wellness that the steps they're taking are a little extremist and, quite frankly, not well-thought-out. Filtered water has become the norm, Marler told Business Insider, and it’s because of this that people have forgotten about why we started filtering in the first place.

Even the Earth's freshest bodies of water, according to National Geographic, are "a chemical cocktail," and scientists have found pollutants ranging from animal feces to birth control pills in the water we drink. When unfiltered, these waters are loaded with harmful toxins that, if consumed, can cause minor symptoms like diarrhea, or more severe cases of hepatitis A, E. coli, and cholera. In other words, "almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water," Marler told Business Insider. Knowing that, I sincerely hope any desire you might have had to even take one sip of raw water has disappeared.

Great strides are being taken to make our waters even cleaner, so you can, and should, trust the process.

Environmentalists and government officials alike have been working toward making our water systems cleaner and more efficient for years and years, and they continue to make great progress. Rather than pouring yourself a cool glass of nature-made water with who-knows-what floating around in each sip, I promise it is in your best interest to trust the system and choose filtered bottles.

However, if you still feel uneasy about what’s going on with your water, do the research! There are a ton of projects focused on the cause, and so many ways you can ensure your drinking water is safe. For example, if you're into gardening, instead of planting the standard rosebush, look into creating your own rain garden. A rain garden is defined as a “shallow depression” comprising deep-rooted native plants and grasses strategically grown near a runoff source, like a driveway, in order to preserve clean rainwater and prevent water pollution.

If you don't have much of a green thumb, though, no worries! There are a ton of little changes you can make in your dorm or apartment to ensure your H2O is top-notch. If you're concerned about how your tap water is being handled, Dr. Cody Cook, creator and chief medical scientist of HTWO, tells Elite Daily that "it’s better to invest in a home filtration system or bottled water" instead of falling for the allure of raw water. Boiling water is another great option, as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, boiling water is the most natural method to extract and eliminate any "disease-causing organisms, bacteria, parasites and viruses."

So, you see, there are plenty of ways to clean up our waters and sip on H2O that's safe to put into your body. Raw water isn't the answer, but I guess we have to give the Bay Area credit for trying?