We know that water is essential to life and to the health of our bodies. We know that in order to prevent our bodies from becoming dehydrated we should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. The world is made up of approximately 70 percent water, however not all of that water is available for human consumption. Over the years, man has taken steps to harness and purify this commodity, but still we hear reports even in developed countries like the US that our drinking water supply is not perfect. Contaminants, chemicals and other toxic substances are present in most of the water supply that even municipal companies are urging consumers to use bottled water or in some cases boil water before drinking. But even that is not always a viable option.
Healthy water is water that hydrates the body and helps fight diseases from attacking the body. Therefore, what substances should or should not be present in our H2O to make it fit for drinking? One article cites a correlation between drinking soft water, i.e. water that has had certain minerals removed, like calcium carbonate and magnesium, and deaths from cardiovascular disease. However, both the American Heart Association and the American Journal of Epidemiology state that there is no evidence to prove that drinking soft water results in these deaths.
Chlorination in water is another controversial subject. Chlorine is added to the public water supply to help remove pollutants. It gives water a characteristic flavor and taste. Chlorine has been blamed for causing cancer, heart disease and stroke. Studies have been conducted which show that chlorine may be linked to birth defects in infants, and a risk of leukemia, liver and bladder cancer in adults who have been exposed to chlorination.
Fluoride is a chemical added to water to help fight tooth decay. The recommended daily dosage of fluoride for humans is 1 mg. In higher amounts, fluoride can be toxic. The practice of adding fluoride to the public water supply has been endorsed by the American Dental Association and the World Health Organization among others, however activists claim that this practice is unethical and goes against a person’s constitutional rights since the public has no say in this matter, neither can the supplier control the dose for each individual. In addition, fluoride in drinking water has been blamed for a host of conditions, from weakening of bones and cancer to the lowering of IQ in children.
Despite the fact that many countries have embraced the practice of fluoridation (the United States included) a study conducted by the National Institute of Dental Research showed no significance difference in tooth decay among children who have been exposed to fluoride and those who have not. In the end, pure drinking water with no additives may considered be the most healthy.