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Water, water everywhere

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Half the cities in the U.S. now fluoridate their water, and the only sure way to remove the stuff from your water is through reverse osmosis or distillation. Buying purified water is another alternative; although at least one expert reports that the drinking water we’re buying may not be all it claims to be.

“Eighty-seven percent of the stuff that’s labeled drinking water comes from an unmonitored surface water source,” Berman says. “Most of our fresh water has been contaminated with exhaust fumes, sewage, industrial waste, chemical and air pollutants, fertilizer and animal waste.”

Yikes. If that analysis is enough to scare anyone off tap water forever, Berman doesn’t mind. He considers spring water the only acceptable form of drinking water, and has devoted his life – and several magazine articles – to this claim. Those who don’t have access to a fresh spring might consider one of several safe alternatives to drinking from the tap. A home-based distillation plant is a costly but wise option, as is a more economic home water filtration system that cleans with activated carbon, ceramic and UV light. 

And although they haven’t come into widespread use in the United States, systems using an ozone-oxygen mixture to purify are used extensively in the municipal water systems of European and other countries.

To further muddy the waters on what to drink, purists warn that, while filtration systems remove chlorine and unhealthy particulates, they can also remove minerals that provide health benefits. 

“When we process water,” Berman says, “we leech it of the vital nutrients that are so good for our bodies. In every ground water source, there are minerals that we don’t get from foods, because these foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, have been deprived of this mineral-rich water, too.”

Those minerals may not necessarily be present in bottled water, either. In the interest of big business, Berman says, the Federal Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water, writes its bylaws in a way that allows for deception. Many brands of bottled water, he says, are no cleaner or healthier to consume than regular tap water. And the designation “drinking water” on some bottles is merely a deceptive name for surface water that has been chemically treated.

Regardless of what kind of water we drink, and despite all the scary warnings issued by experts, it’s important to remain hydrated, particularly in the summer months in Arizona. 

Batmanghelidj, who says that a simple home filtration system provides sufficiently clean drinking water, says that water is nothing short of miraculous in its healing properties. And Berman, who disdains the bottled water craze and finds most drinking water lacking, has the final word.

“Better a glass of bad water than no water at all,” he says. 

See this story in print here:

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