“Raw Water” Is The Newest Health Craze To Sweep The West Coast

As the years change and pass, so do many different kinds of health trends. Each promising to be as effective or better than the previous one. It is a continual cycle that drives the health-obsessed industry. From fad diets to juice cleanse, these health trends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

The dawn of 2018 has marked the beginning of a new trend that is sweeping the west coast of the United States. As reported by the New York Times, many people have become enthralled by “raw water”. “Raw water” is an attempt, by those who can afford it, to bet off the grid of tap water, and any other filtered water sources.

At $36.99 for 2.5 gallons of unfiltered, unsterilized, and untreated spring water, the “raw water” trend maintains its popularity in San Francisco as it is frequently sold out. The price does not deter its followers. Live Water, a small company that does all the bottling and marketing of the untreated water, believes that the positive outcomes outweigh the price.

According to Live Water, “raw water” is a healthier and better alternative to other forms of water on the market or on tap because it may contain probiotic properties that benefit human health.

They also believe that filtering and sterilizing water removes many of its beneficial minerals and kills any bacteria that may be in the water. In a statement to the New York Times, Mukhande Singh, founder of Live Water, said that “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them…Chloramine, and on top of that, they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”

Numerous studies done since we have been using fluoride definitively shows the ability of fluoride to promote good dental health. There is no scientific evidence that fluoride is a mind-control drug.

Giving the crisis in Flint, Michigan caused by eroded pipes and poor governmental oversight and maintenance as well as other concerns about our water sources, it has created distrust to public water companies. This has resulted in an increased pull towards these trends.

There are many other companies like Live Water as the “raw water” trend moves from the fringe to mainstream. Trisha Kuhlmey, the owner of Liquid Eden in San Diego, sells over 900 gallons of water that fits into the idea of “raw water” and offers many different kinds of water, like fluoride-free.

Many of the problems that people associate with tap water and bottled water are important safety measures that have been keeping us from diseases that kill. These measures are constantly monitored and maintained to ensure that they continue to keep us safe, despite misconceptions and mistrust that is being seen.

A Brief History Of Water And Safety

Almost all ancient civilizations started around a body of water because water is a crucial part of our survival. Water treatment started out as a way to improve the aesthetics of water, like the color or odor, because we used our obvious senses to judge things. As far back as 4,000 BCE, we can find recordings on how to treat water to improve its taste and odor.

Ancient Egyptians worked on creating more clear water because the cloudiness was displeasing. Records dating back to 1,500 BCE shows that they used chemical alum to treat water in order to improve its clarity. By the 1800s, Europeans were using filtration systems to remove particles from water in order to create more clear water sources.

As we began to understand the microscopic world and what lived in water, we began to realize how water was associated with diseases. In 1855, Dr. John Snow, who is helmed as one of the worlds first epidemiologist, found that cholera was a waterborne disease because he was investigating an outbreak and found that it was coming from a contaminated water well.

One of the Ten Greatest Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has listed U.S. water chlorination and treatment as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. The U.S. has some of the cleanest and safest tap water supplies in the world because of the intense treatment process that water goes through. While the system is not perfect, Flint for example, it is a successful endeavor that has kept us safe from disease.

The general death rate (Per 100,000 population per year) in the United States from 1900-1996. Credit: CDC

1908 marked the beginning of water treatments in the United States. It started in New Jersey and spread to the other states as it proved to be an effective program. According to the CDC, the occurrence of diseases such as cholera and typhoid dropped dramatically. In 1900, there were approximately 100 cases of typhoid fever per 100,000 people. By 1920, that had dropped to about 33.8 cases per 100,000 people, which was a staggering difference. By 2006, there were only .1 cases per 100,000 people and most of that was from international travelers.

According to Dr. Donald Hensrud, the director of the Healthy Living Program at the Mayo Clinic, “Without water treatment, there’s acute and then chronic risks…There’s evidence all over the world of this, and the reason we don’t have those conditions is because of our very efficient water treatment.” Untreated water could contain things like E.coli, carcinogens, and viruses along with the alleged probiotics.

Water treatment coupled with vaccines allowed the United States and many other countries to avoid so many deaths and gave a future to individuals would have died without these programs. Just as with anti-vaccine individuals, these anti-water treatment individuals are introducing a risk into the general population that we had already removed.

It is important to ensure that we continue to protect society from diseases and other contaminants in our water sources by ensuring that our water systems stay up to date.