Water and Health
May 7, 2020
Water is essential to your health. Your body weight is more than 50% water. Without water, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the daily metabolisms of your body such as maintaining normal body temperature, lubricating your joints, or getting rid of waste from your body. Insufficient water may lead to muscle cramps, coordination loss, and heat strokes. The amount of water needed by the body changes based on climate, physical exertion level, and other biological factors. One thing that remains constant is the need for safe and clean drinking water.
In a delta country like Bangladesh, access to water is not a problem. Rainfall, the many rivers that use the country as a basin, and wetlands all contribute to the country’s water reservoir. Yet, the dearth of clean drinking water is a continual dilemma for the citizens. There is insufficient water treatment facilities in the country. Frequent flooding also contaminates the supply water. All of these factors contribute to a shortage of clean drinking water in both urban and rural areas. These culminate in a myriad of lethal health problems.
Boiling water is the most familiar method of purifying water. Yet, the question lingers that does boiling water purify it? Does it really remove all contaminants from the water? The succinct answer is NO. Boiling is a poor method of purification. Boiling water is the most convenient method and is able to kill most biological pathogens in the water by denaturing their enzymes. Yet, just through plain boiling, we will not be able to remove the chemical contaminants that may be present in the water. Substances such as lead, mercury and arsenic may cause deleterious health problems.
The RO method of purification is the apex of modern water purification technologies. Reverse Osmosis is a process that pushes water using pressure through a semi-permeable reverse osmosis membrane that allows water molecules to pass through it, however, it doesn’t allow dissolved solids, bacteria, fungus, and some viruses to pass through the membrane.
FAQ regarding water purification
What are the benefits of boiling water for drinking?
The advantage of boiling water is that boiling water is a cheap and readily available option to purify water in some capacity. It kills many pathogens and reduces instances of water-borne diseases.
What are the Disadvantages of Boiling Water?
The disadvantages of boiling water are multifarious in nature. While boiled water is a better alternative than tap water, there is still Total Dissolved Solids in the water. These TDS in boiled water are extremely harmful even when consumed in minuscule quantities.
Common TDS include:
Nitrates, sulfates and chloramines.
Metals such as lead, chromium, iron, and copper.
Disadvantages of drinking boiled water also include the pressure exerted on our finite gas resource and the dangers of boiling water with a gas stove.
What are the Disadvantages of Mineral Water?
While people tend to think mineral water is the safest, it has many shortcomings.
Mineral water is often expensive for long term usage
The quality of mineral water varies depending on the origin of the water, the way it is treated, and the packaging.
Mineral water may be adversely affected through long term storage in plastic containers depending on the quality of plastic and external conditions. The chemical reaction may occur between plastic and water leading to the formation of deleterious substances.
In Bangladesh, there are fake mineral water bottles which often contain contaminants in the water.
What are the pros and cons of RO water?
You might be wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of modern purification methods such as Reverse Osmosis (RO). Not only does Reverse Osmosis remove pathogens and pyrogens, it also removes odor and produces better-tasting water. The RO method also removes chlorine which is found in abundance in tap water. With the removal of lead, mercury, chlorine, asbestos, RO system significantly reduce the risk of illness and diseases.
Can we boil RO water?
Of course, we can. RO water is perfectly safe to drink directly from the filter and also for daily cooking uses.
Why is RO purified water better than Boiled water?
While boiling water is a widespread practice, mere boiling is not able to remove any dissolved solvents that may be present in the water. Some toxic wastes may become even more concentrated when those are not vaporized during boiling process. In Bangladesh, There are persistent health problems caused by arsenic in water. Boiling has no effect on arsenic content in water. Also, physical filtration (through cloth or otherwise) is needed to remove solid particles from the water. Stored boiled water may also be contaminated by pathogens after it cools down. RO purification is a convenient and effective way of a consummate purification. It filters solvents of all nature (both chemicals and pathogens). The water is stored safely in a tank with no chance of further contamination.
Why is distilled water not completely safe for drinking?
While distillation is an age-old purifying process, it is lengthy in nature and has to be repeated numerous times. The distilled water also may be contaminated when stored for later use. In comparison, RO purification is automated and you can get pure water with a simple press of the hand.
What are some other water purifying technologies?
The UV method of water purification removes biological pathogens by attacking their DNA. It has no effect on chemical contaminants. Activated Carbon is also one of the traditional ways of filtration. Mechanical filtration uses physical materials using nylon floss, synthetic foam, or pads to filter solid particles. All three of these processes should not be used as standalone filtration methods. Rather, these should be used along with other filtration methods.
What are the disadvantages of filtering water?
While there are no known disadvantages of RO filtration, there is an onetime purchase cost that needs to be paid. However, with proper care and maintenance, one can use a RO filter for years with no glitch and safeguard the health of their family.