Purified Water

July 27, 2009

What is Purified Water and is it good to drink?

There are many ways to purify water including reverse osmosis, filtration, UV and electrodialysis but the most common way is by distillation and deionizing the water. Whereas mineral content and impurities are regularly measured by parts per million in every day mineral water for instance, this purified water, formed by using the latest processing techniques is almost devoid of minerals and chemical impurities and it is not uncommon to measure them in parts per billion or trillion, the water is so pure. The ability to manufacture and filter this water in degrees of purity makes it ideal for use in laboratories, engineering and big industry. It is less known for it’s drinking quality.

Distilled water which is still our most common purified variety is produced by boiling the water to deionize it, until it is converted to steam at which point the impurities and minerals which are heavier, are left behind. The steam is then condensed back into water but in a much purer form. However, exposure to air can contaminate the water with bacteria, very quickly making it unsafe to drink. For some science labs where ultra pure water is required, a system of double-distillation is used.

A much cheaper option is deionizatation or demineralization water where the mineral ions are removed. The downside is that a great deal of the bacteria, viruses and other unwanted molecules are not removed significantly by these methods.

While purified waters are found mainly in science laboratories, vehicle lead-acid batteries also use it in the form of distilled and deionized water which is also recommended in the cooling systems of these vehicles, as the corrosive minerals normally associated with tap water are missing. Steam irons and other household appliance which rely on water work better with distilled or demineralized water as they are less likely to create scale. Humidifiers and aquariums are other users of purified water as are some car washes and window cleaners to stop mineral spotting on the cleaned surface.

This is all well and good but what about Purified Water to drink?

A bottle of purified water cannot be considered a healthy drink option because the minerals which our bodies rely upon have been removed. These minerals (present in ionized water) such as calcium, magnesium and fluoride contribute to our nutritious intake and create a deficiency when not present. Our bodies compensate relying on our mineral intake to create a natural balance. Too many minerals in our water and we run the risk of kidney stones, gall stones and even urinary stones.

Home purification devices are becoming more common place today in the form of distillers and reverse osmosis systems and continue to become a popular alternative to the more traditional filtration methods such as carbon water filters etc. Our municipal water contains many impurities and contaminants which the standard filters struggle with, unlike these purification methods which remove most during the process.

Although we can drink purified water, it is actively discouraged so that our bodies maintain a healthy balance. With a total lack of mineral ions in this water, unless we are absorbing the necessary minerals through our food, we are risk of a serious mineral deficiency and an additional source would be required.

It’s a fine line to tread, too many minerals and we risk illness, too few minerals and we risk the same. It’s always good to know what you’re drinking from the tap or in the bottled water you buy and what’s in it, in fact some would say it’s imperative. There are many test kits on the market and websites which will give you the composition of certain waters.

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