Is filtered water bad for you?

The short answer is No! But again, there are instances when filtered water can be worse than bottled and tap water. Makes sense? If you are not drinking filtered water, you are probably drinking bottled or tap water. Let’s get some hard facts before jumping right into the meat of the matter.

  • Water filtered at home is actually cleaner than bottled water
  • Filtering water at home is nearly 300% less cheap than bottled water
  • Filtered water smells and tastes better than tap and bottled water
  • More than 50% of sick people across the world suffer from water-related diseases
  • 97 % of all water across the globe is undrinkable
  • Research has proven water filters are way less expensive and far more environmentally friendly than bottled water  

So, how does water filtration work? 

Water filtration usually starts at the municipal water treatment plants. They get raw water from various sources, including rivers, man made lakes, dams, or even underground. The water is usually filled with dirt, debris, organic matter, heavy metals, chemical toxins from herbicides and pesticides, hazardous substances from industrial waste, and disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

The role of the municipal water treatment facility is to get rid of these harmful water contaminants or reduce them to a level below the recommended maximum. With strict control measures, this can be achieved. However, not all treatment plants manage to fully get rid of the water contaminants or reduce them to acceptable levels. Such is accepted bearing in mind the usually large scale of operation.  

And when water distribution starts, a number of factors in the distribution network (such as leakages, rusting pipes, algal growth, hard water corrosion, contact with animal faeces) may result in contaminants re-entering the water.  

As such, the water reaching your taps is not always 100% clean. It is then a wise thing to use an appropriate water filter to get rid of the contaminants before consuming the water. Depending on the characteristics of your tap water, any of the 5 water filtering technologies below may help:

i) Reverse Osmosis water filtration

ii) Ultrafiltration

iii) Ultraviolet disinfection

iv) Sediment filtration

v) Activated Carbon water filtration

The above technologies generally filter water in two ways:

  • Physical filtration – Water is passed through a sieve-like material to trap suspended solids in water
  • Chemical filtration – Water is subjected to a chemical filtration media like granular activated carbon to get rid of contaminants    

Benefits of drinking filtered water

i) Filtered water tastes better – Municipalities add chlorine to water to kill microbial waterborne pathogens. The residual chlorine is usually what makes your tap water taste full of chemicals. Filtering water removes the residual chlorine, leaving you with pleasant-tasting water

ii) Filtered water saves you from water-related illnesses – By killing or filtering out the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in water, you are able to shield yourself from diseases such as cholera, dengue, diarrhoea, typhoid fever, giardia, dysentery, escherichia coli, hepatitis A, and Salmonella

 iii) Filtered water keeps cancer at bay – This is especially true if you use Reverse Osmosis water filters which are able to remove heavy metals and chlorine from water. Heavy metals are known to cause various types of cancer when they accumulate in the body for long periods

iv) Filtered water saves you money – Install a reliable water filter once and it can serve you for a lifetime. But bottled water? You have to keep buying them every other day, usually at exorbitant prices

v) Filtering water shows you care for the environment – The negative environmental impact of bottled can’t be over-emphasized. You see the millions of plastic bottles littering our planet. Because you use it once and throw it away. But that glass at home you use for filtered water? Lasts a life-time

vi) Filtered water saves you from water toxins –  Virtually any hazardous substance can find its way to watercourses. Think of herbicides, pesticides, nuclear waste, industrial waste, home sewage, medical waste, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, and the like.

Instances when filtered water is worse than tap water

When you leave your water filter untouched for  afew days or weeks, there is a high possibility that bacteria will start multiplying around the filter media. This way, you will end up drinking water that is more contaminated than the tap water.

Likewise, poor maintenance of the filter system may see you ingesting harmful pathogens, on top of the filtered water acquiring bad taste and smell. 

When it comes to filtering technologies like Reverse Osmosis, you actually strip the water of all essential minerals – such as iron, sulphate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and chloride.  Remember that these are still needed in the body, but in uncontrolled amounts. So if you are an adherent fan of RO water filters, make sure you get these minerals from food.

In summary,

Filtered water is not bad for you. It actually has more benefits than disadvantages. Only ensure that your water filters are properly maintained to avoid bacterial growth and other forms of contamination.