Depending on whom you speak to, you'll get varying opinions as to what defines healthy water.
To many, including health practitioners, water is just water and it doesn’t really matter which kind you drink.
However, when we begin to study this precious resource we start to understand that water is much more important than we might superficially believe.
Indeed, the type of water we drink has an important effect on our health now and in the future. To obtain the kind of healthy water described in this article, you will almost certainly require a high-quality tap water filter – for reasons we will soon outline.
Water of Life: A Cure for Your Body
The definition of healthy water that covers all the important characteristics is probably best defined by Korean water expert Professor Won H Kim in his book Water of Life: A Cure for Your Body.
Professor Kim's list of healthy water characteristics is as follows:
1. The water should be absent of contaminants that are harmful to the human body such as heavy metals and organic substances.
2. The water should contain an appropriate amount of dissolved alkaline minerals.
3. The water needs to be alkaline, like the human body.
4. It should contain an abundance of hexagonal water which makes water structure compact.
5. Healthy water should have the ability to eliminate reactive oxygen species (free radicals).
6. The water should be a carrier of good energy.
Most current water filtration systems (tap water filters, filter water bottles, filter jugs) focus only on the removal of contaminants, which is just one of the six attributes set out by Professor Kim.
It is our profound belief that good water should meet all characteristics.
How Healthy is British Tap Water?
Most people believe that tap water in the UK is entirely trustworthy, with 94% of the population said to be satisfied with their water supply, according to water.org.
While it's true that tap water is the most supervised drink available, we would question whether it is the best kind of water to drink.
There are several reasons for this:
• British tap water has been found to contain hormones that age the body. These female hormones (oestrogen) make it into the water supply from millions of women using the contraceptive pill, and the impact on the hormonal systems of wildlife (primarily fish) has already been noted, with oestradiol considered responsible for the feminisation of 25% of male fish in English rivers.
In 2012, researchers determined that the cost of ridding waterways of these known endocrine disrupters would hit £30 billion.
• Current wastewater treatment protocols do not include categorical limits for pharmaceuticals. The lack of EPA limits for pharmaceutical drugs, which in addition to feminine contraceptives can include antidepressants, antibiotics, blood thinners, anti-seizure drugs, painkillers, even dishwater detergent chemicals, is reason enough to install a tap water filter to ensure you’re drinking the cleanest, purest water available: water similar to that found in natural springs, for instance.
As we noted in a previous blog, “the pharmaceuticals we are regularly consuming in water are all mixed into a new, unique chemical brew that has not been studied at all.”
• British tap water is known to contain other chemicals such as plasticisers. In fact, tests show that billions of people around the globe regularly drink water contaminated by plastic particles.
According to Orb Media analysis published in 2017, 83% of samples were found to be polluted. Although the European contamination rate was lower, it was still troublingly high at 72%. (The average number of plastic fibres found in a 500ml water sample in Europe was 1.9.)
Given that evidence suggests we already consume microplastics from eating polluted seafood, there is no good reason to also drink them – especially since we aren’t yet clear on the potential health impact.
What we do know, however, is that nanoparticles can penetrate both cells and organs, and that microplastics can attract harmful pathogens found in sewage.
• Around six million Brits drink water that is fluoridated, either naturally or artificially. Although fluoride is ostensibly added to strengthen enamel against decay, the average number of decayed, extracted or filled teeth in the fluoridated city of Birmingham – a population of one million – is higher than the national average.
Setting that aside for a moment, we should ask why countries such as Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have progressively phased out the policy of water fluoridation, and why dosage levels in the US, Canada and the Republic of Ireland have been reduced.
Interestingly, a report from 2014 showed that practices in the wholly fluoridated area of the West Midlands are almost twice as likely to report high hypothyroidism in comparison to Greater Manchester, a non-fluoridated region.
• Heavy metals such as cadmium, silver, mercury, lead and aluminium have been found in British tap water, and most cannot be detected by sight, smell or taste. Heavy metals can be removed easily from the supply using a good-quality tap water filter.
• British tap water contains chlorine, which is added as a purification method. Although it is deemed safe at low levels, the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality states that “the cancer risk to people who drink chlorinated water is 93% higher than those who don’t.”
There have been several recorded incidents in the UK where over-chlorination has occurred, leading to Do Not Use notices being issued by water companies.
If you are at all concerned about the levels of chlorine in your water, drink from a filter wattle bottle or consider installing a mains water filter.
It is simply not worth exposing oneself to a cocktail of chemicals, chlorine, microplastics, fluoride, hormones and heavy metals on a daily basis.
What to Look for in a Tap Water Filter
Now that we’ve outlined why it is not advisable to drink tap water, we should look at the criteria one might to look at when deciding to buy a tap water filter. In our view, the questions you should ask are:
• Does the filter remove estradiol (oestrogen)?
• Does the filter remove heavy metals?
• Does the filter remove fluoride and chlorine?
• Does the filter remove BPA?
• Does the filter remove microplastics?
In addition, you may want to consider a product which increases the pH of the water. Alkaline water has a great many benefits. Indeed, studies show that drinking alkaline water helps with acid reflux, gives better hydration (decreased blood and increased urine osmolality) and helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid and cardiorespiratory stress.
Of course, there are many sceptics out there who will dismiss alkaline water out of hand, without reference to these or indeed any studies.
The Energy Plus: A Four-Stage Tap Water Filter
So concerned with the quality of their drinking water, many have resorted to installing under-counter multi-stage filters or using water filter jugs to give them peace of mind.
Others still profess to solely drinking bottled water. However, the latter action comes with a significant environmental cost: the reason we have microplastics in the water at all is because of considerable plastic pollution!
Furthermore, studies show that plastic bottles leach chemicals into the water and the longer water sits in a bottle, the higher the chemical concentration.
A solution exists in the form of the Energy Plus Water Filter. Created by Water for Health at our headquarters in Central Scotland, it contains four unique filters to provide you with clean, safe drinking water straight from the tap.
While the first two filters remove pollutants through a number of proven filtration processes (including granulated carbon), the latter two restructure and alkalise the water using natural mineral bioceramics.
The under-sink system has been extensively tested by the University of Edinburgh and shown to deliver high levels of fluoride, chlorine, BPA, heavy metal and estradiol removal. Indeed, all organic contaminants were reduced to below detectable levels.
Although there are many water filter systems in the UK, some of which effectively remove a number of contaminants, most leave the water slightly acidic or deficient in beneficial minerals. This water clearly fails to meet the criteria laid out by Professor Won H Kim.
Another option worth considering is the Biocera Alkaline Jug. Although it does not remove fluoride or estradiol, it does filter chlorine, heavy metals and bacteria.
It also elevates the pH into the alkaline range. The Biocera water filter jug is a good alternative if installing a mains filter proves to be problematic.
Choose to Drink Better Water
Since we are two-thirds water, it stands to reason that water would play a major role in our health and wellbeing.
The water we drink should be clean, free of impurities and toxic elements, rich in minerals and, if possible, alkaline rather than acidic.
Given that we are not assured this water from our mains supply, investing in a tap water filter seems like the best available option.