Organic. Natural. Direct from the source. Unfiltered. These are all words that many of us now see all the time on a trip to the grocery store. But the latest health craze, raw water, is as controversial as it is expensive.
Unfiltered and untreated water from a natural spring might sound like an elixir, but health experts warn that drinking so-called “raw water” could end with a trip to the doctor, or worse.
“Raw water” or unsterilized water bottled directly from a natural spring, is becoming a sought-after item in California and parts of the U.S., according to the New York Times. The water, which can sell for around $40 for a 2.5-gallon glass jug, is often free of the any water filtration processes that some “raw water” advocates argue strips natural water of probiotics.
According to BusinessInsider.com, while fans of raw water say it is perfect for those who are “extreme about health,” Bill Marler — a food-safety advocate and a lawyer — says the opposite is true. “Almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water,” Marler told Business Insider.
Unfiltered, untreated water, even from the cleanest streams, can contain animal feces, spreading Giardia, which has symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea and results in roughly 4,600 hospitalizations a year. Hepatitis A, which resulted in 20 deaths in a California outbreak in 2017, can be spread through water if it isn’t treated. E. coli, and cholera can also be transmitted via untreated water.
NewRepublic.com added, “Raw water may well be special, but it is not safe, as the Times concedes. Parasites thrive in unfiltered water. So do bacteria that cause deadly waterborne diseases like cholera. In September, The Guardian reported that a predominately African American region of Alabama is suffering from an outbreak of hookworm, a disease supposedly eradicated decades ago, thanks to contaminated water. When people drink untreated water, it’s usually because they have nothing else to drink.”
The raw water trend is largely centered in California’s Silicon Valley….for now. Whether it spreads across the country remains to be seen. But as Fox News points out, some health experts hope the craze fades.
“It’s fine till some 10-year-old girl dies a horrible death from cholera in Montecito, California,” food safety expert Bill Marler tells Business Insider. He adds: “You can’t stop consenting adults from being stupid. But, we should at least try.”
Share your thoughts on the ‘raw water’ trend. Would you be willing to give it a try? Let us know why or why not. Generating conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!