We’re just a few days into 2018 and healthy fads are already upon us. The gyms are a little busier, more people are packing their lunches for work and salads are once again a hot commodity.
That’s all completely ordinary behaviour, though — we always experience more motivation to be healthy at this time of year. But one of the most unexpected health trends of 2018 so far is the interest in ‘raw water,’ a.k.a. drinking unfiltered and ‘pure’ water straight from the springs to reap the benefits of its natural probiotics (which are killed in the water treatment process).
According to experts, the fad is also extremely dangerous.
“Almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water,” Bill Marler, a food safety expert, told Business Insider, adding that when he first read headlines about the trend, he thought it was an Onion article. “The diseases that killed our great-grandparents were completely forgotten about… It’s fine till some 10-year-old girl dies a horrible death from cholera in Montecito, Calif.”
That may sound extreme, but even unfiltered water from the cleanest of streams can contain anything from animal feces to E. coli, cholera and hepatitis A. Still, people are willing to take that risk in order to avoid some of the harsh chemicals used when filtering water, and to pack more probiotics into their systems.
But not only are raw water drinkers wary of the fluoride added to tap water and the lead pipes that it passes through, they’re also concerned about how bottled water is often treated with ozone gas to remove algae.
Business Insider also notes that some people are spending up to $61 USD ($76 CAD) for a 2.5-gallon jug of unfiltered and untreated water.
“Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” Mukhande Singh, who founded the raw water company Live Water, said to the Times. “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.”
So what’s a clean water seeker supposed to do in order to feel better about the H2O they’re downing these days? Rest assured knowing that any bottled water available in Canada has to go through strict regulations put in place by Health Canada — regulations that take things like the levels of lead and bacteria into consideration.
Or, if you’d prefer to drink cleaner tap water, there are plenty of other filtration options out there to look into, including reverse osmosis filters, and of course, the good old-fashioned Brita.