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People Are Now Drinking ‘Raw Water’

Photo from Pixabay

There is a growing trend towards drinking “raw water” on the West Coast – untreated water taken from springs and other sources. And while this surge of interest in what is being called “unprocessed” and “natural” drinking water has taken root in people’s fears regarding how tap water is treated, scientists and medical authorities argue that untreated water contains bacteria and other disease-causing substances.

Tap water goes through several stages before reaching homes, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says. Common steps are coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation, which get rid of dirt. Then come filtration and disinfection to remove bacteria, parasites and so on. Substances like fluoride may be added, as well, Newsweek reports.

But even with these processes, there is still the possibility of contamination. The top outbreaks caused by drinking water are hepatitis A, salmonella, E. coli, giardia and norovirus.

The fact that people are voluntarily forgoing treated water was met with concern, horror and shock on social media. Gizmodo went as far as calling this trend “water for rich idiots.”

The risk of waterborne sicknesses due to untreated water is no joke.

There have been countless infections across the United States in recent years, such as the norovirus from a spring water site in New Mexico that left 100 people ill, or giardia from a spring and stream camp that sickened 21 in Alaska.

“Raw water” advocates claim that the processes used to treat tap water are not uniformly safe. Other conspiracy theories claim that the chemicals added in tap water, like fluoride, are a means of “mind control,” and so on.

In San Francisco, one brand of this “unfiltered, unsterilized spring water” goes for as much as $36.99 for 2.5 gallons, and refills cost $14.99. Kevin Freeman, a manager at Rainbow Grocery where the water is sold, said, “It has a vaguely mild sweetness, a nice smooth mouth feel, nothing that overwhelms the flavor profile. Bottled water’s controversial. We’ve curtailed our water selection. But this is totally outside that whole realm.”

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