The Value of Clean Water
All around the world, we use the presence and absence of clean water to measure the prosperity of an area. In places where clean water is abundant, better health and higher quality of life tend to follow, and in places where clean water is scarce, there tend to be more poverty and poorer health. Some areas, however, are at a natural disadvantage. The entire state of California is one such area, hampered by drought decade after decade. However, even in places that the give the appearance of having clean water, water toxicity is startlingly common. So what? some people may say. This answer is unreasonable, though, because it would be impossible to overstate the importance of clean water. Just look at everything that we use it for!
We drink it! Water is at the core of all life, and humans are no different. Whatever your favorite food is, you could last much, much longer without it (our without any food at all) than you could without water to drink. If you find yourself stranded on a remote island void of any springs or treasure chests filled with bottled water, you will end up dying from dehydration a lot more quickly than you will starvation. This is a prime reason that third-world countries suffer to the extent that they do; they lack the systems for delivering drinking water that first-world countries take for granted. In places where lead, arsenic, and other toxins taint the water, people suffer, they get sick, and they die.
We use it to clean ourselves too! Every time you step into the shower, it is dropping water on you from the same source that you drink from if you drink from your tap. That water seeps into your system through your skin, and whatever is in it, that is what you are introducing to your organs. There is no magical defense barrier built into your skin to protect you against lead, arsenic, or any other toxins that may be in your shower water. Chlorine and other chemicals, even in trace amounts, can cause harm to your health, which is why it is never a bad idea to use a shower filter.
If you live where clean water is less available than you would like it to be, there is something you can do to protect yourself and your family. It’s called reverse osmosis, and it’s a common filtration process in which untreated water (usually saltwater) goes through a membrane and carbon filters. The process removes the bacteria, minerals, salts, and chemicals in the untreated water, turning it into something that you can drink and shower with.
The reverse osmosis filtration process is indiscriminate about the particles it removes. That means you are removing bacteria and chemicals in equal proportions to nutrients and beneficial minerals. Iron and manganese, which are critical to good health, get stuck in the reverse osmosis filters just like lead and arsenic do, and you are left with water that is “just water,” totally pure (“pure” in the most neutral sense of the word). For women who are not getting enough iron in their diets, removing the iron they get from their water can lead to anemia. In addition, when you use reverse osmosis water for something like cooking, the absence of minerals can reduce the vitamins and minerals in other ingredients even further. If you are a cancer patient, you need all the vitamins and nutrients you can consume, and something like reverse osmosis water alone may not be your best option. Mineral supplementation may be necessary, so check with your healthcare practitioner.
Drink plenty of clean water and stay hydrated and healthy!