What is in our drinking water and
how it impacts our health
Water is a vital element in our daily lives and is used by our body in so many different ways
We all need water! Because our water supply comes groundwater, it is important to be aware of the realities of drinking and showering our water supply. Uncontaminated water is essential for our cells to carry out their critical functions since it goes directly to the cellular level of our bodies.
Water enables us to:
- Keep our brains going
- Regulates body temperature
- Lubricates joints and spinal discs
- Supports liver and muscle activity
- Digest our food
- Plus, dozens of other important body functions.
Harmful microbes, the main source of gastrointestinal illness, are present in treated water. Chlorine is added to the treatment plants in an attempt kill microbes. Yet, chlorine itself a pollutant and is one of the most harmful chemicals found in our water! Inorganic contaminants such as lead, mercury, cyanide, and asbestos are common, along with medications that can contribute to a wide range of diseases and disorders. Agricultural chemicals that leach into the ground are commonly present in treated water.
Water is a complex entity that is linked with the existence and the sustainability of the planet. It impacts all socio-economic development while simultaneously promoting a healthy ecosystem. Thus, clean and pure water is vital not just to reduce global diseases but also to improve the welfare, health, and overall productivity of millions of people worldwide.
Since ancient times, people would boil the water that they use for consumption for a few minutes every day. This was understood to kill micro-organisms, thus making water clean. But over time, these organisms started to develop stronger immunity. Simply boiling the water is no longer as effective. Here are a few things you need to know, especially about the water purification techniques in use and the types of water purifiers available.
Different techniques used for water purification
- Distillation: One of the oldest purification methods, water is heated, and the vapor is collected and condensed. This water is free from the contaminants left behind in the vessel. This process works best in eliminating pesticides and herbicides, which have a boiling point of fewer than 100 degrees.
- Deionization: Deionization is what mineral-free water is made up of. Thus, deionization is a process where the free ions in the water are removed. Thus, salts that contain calcium and magnesium ions are first removed, followed by the replacement of them by hydrogen ions.
- Active Carbon Filtration: Active carbon is used to purify soluble gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen, chlorine, and ammonia. Carbon being porous helps to absorb these gases. They also come with a lining of activated silver on them, which are used to kill bacteria.
- Reverse Osmosis: Though this technology is a fairly new one, it has been employed in almost all the latest home purification filters. In this process, the pressure is applied to overcome osmotic pressure across a thin semi-permeable membrane to remove all those particles larger than that of the molecules of water.
- UV technology: UV technology uses UV light to kill microscopic bacteria, which may have escaped other filtering processes, thus making water fit for human consumption. Therefore, this is an upgrade from the usual carbon and sediment filtration process.
What is TDS in water?
Total dissolved solids (TDS) are the amount of organic and inorganic materials, such as metals, minerals, and ions, dissolved in a particular volume of water. When a solvent, such as water, encounters soluble material, particles of the material are absorbed into the water. TDS in water can come from just about anywhere, including minerals in springs from a water source, chemicals used to treat the water supply from sewage systems, runoff from road salts and yard chemicals, or fertilizers, even the plumbing in your home.
How to measure TDS in water
Source: GMM testing TDS level in tap water with HM Digital AP-1 Meter
Testing your water using a TDS meter is the easiest way to measure for total dissolved solids. Some filtration systems are equipped with a TDS meter to monitor the levels periodically. Your water supplier is also required to test and maintain reports regarding water quality and provide them upon request. However, these reports do not show high TDS reasons specific to your house, such as corroded pipes.
Total dissolved solids (TDS) is measured as a volume of water with the unit milligrams per liter (mg/L), otherwise known as parts per million (ppm). According to the EPA secondary drinking water regulations, 500 ppm is the recommended maximum amount of TDS for drinking water. Anything measurement higher than 1000 ppm is an unsafe level of TDS. If your TDS reading exceeds 2000ppm, then a filtration system may be unable to handle it.
For a list of TDS meters available, you can view our catalogue over here.
Health effects of high TDS in drinking water
Though an elevated TDS level can affect the taste of your water and the health of your appliances, it is not harmful to your health. Some minerals that cause elevated TDS, such as magnesium and calcium, are beneficial to your health. However, reading above 500 ppm require further investigation of toxic particles such as heavy metals, 1000 ppm readings are completely unsafe for human consumption.
Is low TDS water harmful?
TDS water readings of 0 TDS are not bad for your health. Low TDS means you have high-quality water. But low TDS may cause your water to have a smooth taste. Rainwater is naturally devoid of TDS due to evaporation. Levels between 300-500 are the best TDS levels for drinking water.
The effect of total dissolved solids on your plants and your fish tanks
If you are growing plants, vegetables, or flowers through hydroponics, total dissolved solids play an important role in providing nutrients to your plants. Two substances often causing high TDS are potassium and nitrates, which are great for your roses. You may have even seen your grandparents putting banana peels at the base of rose plants for the same effect. Flowers should have around 1000 – 1100, ppm, while vegetable plants should have around 900- 1000 ppm. Knowing the types of dissolved solids, however, is important when water vegetable plants. If toxic ions are present, they will be absorbed by the plant.
If you have fish, it is best to keep them in a water solution with total dissolved solids similar to their natural habitat. High TDS can wreak havoc, causing cloudy water, a lack of penetration for sunlight, and photosynthesis for aquatic plant life. It can also raise the temperature, which can be harmful to some species.
How to reduce TDS in water
A water treatment system is a great way to reduce or remove TDS from your water, especially if your TDS is above 500 ppm or higher than you would like for the taste of your water. Although TDS can determine if your water contains a certain level of dissolved solids, it can not determine the types of substances. If you don’t know what’s causing issues like odors or spots on your fixtures, then it can be difficult to choose the best filtration system to solve the issue. Using a home water test kit helps you to determine the makeup of your water and analyze whether further action is needed beyond a water system.
Here are three TDS water filters recommended to reduce high levels of total dissolved solids in your tap and drinking water:
- Reverse osmosis (RO) system
A reverse osmosis system is one of the most comprehensive filters to remove contaminants. This system forces water through a semipermeable membrane that eliminates total dissolved solids. It also uses a sediment and carbon filter to remove other forms of contaminants.
- Water Distillers
A water distiller removes contaminants through the same process used in nature, evaporation. As water evaporates, contaminants are unable to evaporate. This is why rainwater is pure quality water. The system mimics this phenomenon by distilling water, leaving the contaminants behind.
- Deionization (DI) system
Deionization systems remove total dissolved solids through ion exchange, using resins that control the electrical charge of ions. Water ions are used to replace charged ions from total dissolved solids. The water produced is highly pure, so DI cartridges are often referred to as high purity filters.
How drinking water affects our health
Drinking water benefits the body in a variety of ways. Sipping cold water increases your metabolism and can help with weight loss. The body has to expend more energy to increase temperature after drinking cold H2O.
Approximately two-thirds of the adult human body is made of water. And did you know your tissues and organs are mainly made of water? Your brain is 80% water, your muscles (including your heart) are 75% water, your blood is 83% water, your lungs are 90% water, your skin is 64% water, and even your bones are 30% water!
It is important to think of water as a nutrient your body needs. When you need brain-healthy nutrients, you might also be a disadvantage, but don’t forget to start with hydration. According to one study, thirsty participants who drank water before performing cognitive tasks reacted faster than people who didn’t drink water beforehand. Here are some important reasons you should stay hydrated and the benefits of drinking water for your health.
- Weight loss
Drinking water helps you lose weight by acting as an effective appetite suppressant, so you will feel fuller and eat less with zero calories! Drinking plenty of water also prevents fluid retention, because your body won’t try to retain water if it’s getting enough. Managing your cravings could be as simple as drinking more water.
Additionally, multiple research studies have demonstrated that drinking a large, cool glass of water will increase your metabolism by 24-30% for up to 90 minutes.
Your body fluids transport waste products in and out of your cells, while your kidneys and liver flush those waste products and other toxins out of your body. However, this process can only work properly and efficiently if you are well hydrated. When you are not drinking enough water, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones and experiencing urinary tract infections.
- Maintain regularity in digestion
Sufficient hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and helps prevent constipation. Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract. If you’re dehydrated, your body pulls water from your stools to maintain hydration, leaving your colon dry and making it more difficult to pass waste.
- Healthy muscles & recovery
Being adequately hydrated is very important when exercising. Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates the joints in your body.
Additionally, drinking water can make your muscles stronger. Water carries oxygen to the cells of your body, including those of your muscles. Being well hydrated enables your muscles to work longer and harder before they feel tired, and this will help you build muscle.
- Youthful skin
Your skin contains lots of water and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Drinking plenty of water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up, making your face look younger. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes your skin, and increases the elasticity of your skin. It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, helping your skin glow.
- Lower your stress
Some four out five of the tissues in the brain are made up of water, When there is dehydration, there is a shortage of water. This condition leads to stress. However, when water is consumed, the tissues become hydrated. Consequently, stress is reduced or eliminated. Drink water regularly and momentarily.
- Reduces kidney stones
Kidney stones are crystals formed by excess salts and minerals in the urine as it passes through the kidney. Drinking enough water regularly dilutes the urine inhibiting the formation of kidney stones. Diluted urine does not allow kidney stones to form. Drink a lot of water.
As you can see, proper hydration is critical to health and vitality. It is recommended that you drink at least 84 ounces of water a day.
Water is life, and its universal significance can in no way be substituted for any other substance. It is filling and fulfilling. It is healthy and refreshing. It is surplus and indispensable. Above all, it is basic in the constitution of all cells, tissues, organs, and systems of all organisms.