Being Healthy Should Be Easy
Assuming you are living in a country where the ‘Tap Water’ is safe to drink are there any benefits to filtering your water further? I have been using a simple Brita Water Filter jug for a year now. The water tastes ‘pure’ but are there any further benefits?
What Does My Water Filter Do? How Does It Work?
According to their website “BRITA filter cartridges used with our jug systems reduce limescale, chlorine and impurities in our tap water”.
The filters in Brita’s work by “using ion exchange resin and activated carbon”. I could not find a detailed explanation on Brita’s website how these processes worked, but I found the following information quite easily on other websites.
The carbon is given a positive charge which results in it attracting particles which have a negative charge. As the water passes through relatively slowly this allows the carbon more chance to attract all the particles. The activated carbon is most effective at removing chlorine from the water.
Ion Exchange Resin
This process replaces one set of ions with another. E.g. attracting metal particles, such as iron and lead and replacing with sodium/potassium.
The Brita website states that the potassium levels in the filtered water as a result of this process in one Litre of water is similar to that found in an apple.
So Are There Any Health Benefits of Filtering Water?
Aside from preventing your kettle building up with limescale I decided to read a few articles to see if there are any health benefits of using a water filter.
As stated above these filters are likely to reduce the level of lead, which is toxic to the body. In the UK, according to DEFRA, lead pipes are becoming more uncommon and even where still in use the risk is only high whereby water may have been standing in the pipes for a longer period of time. According to Thames Water the risk is particularly low in London due to the hard water which prevents the breakdown of lead. So lead is unlikely to be a major issue.
These filters do also reduce chlorine though. According to Water UK “The most commonly used disinfectant [in UK tap water] is chlorine because it is effective and easy to control”. My question is: If chlorine is used to kill bacteria does it also pose a risk to cells in our own bodies?
“We are quite convinced, based on this study, that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water.” – Medical College Of Wisconsin
There have been a number of studies done linking chlorine consumption to a wide variety of conditions from cancer to heart disease. As yet studies have not been wide scale but chlorination has had negative effects on smaller scale tests. Chlorination is common in the western world and has helped to reduce numerous infectious diseases, but is chlorine a silent killer? I would rather not take the risk.
Any Downsides of Filtered Water?
Filtered water does strip out many essential minerals present in tap water. For example, Calcium and magnesium may be stripped out to some degree and both have health benefits. However, both are present in a diet which includes vegetables, pulses and dairy products. So this downside should be offset in those following good diets.
For now I see no reason not to filter your water for drinking. I will continue to rinse food in filtered water and not tap water. I would encourage where possible to invest in a Brita Water Filter or similar to be ‘on the safe side’.