Reverse Osmosis Water Unhealthy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-27-2007, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just moved to a house with an RO filter and I was very excited about it, because our city puts flouride in the water and the Brita filter we'd been using does not filter out flouride, but RO filters do.

So we spent $200 on new filters and a new membrane, and now I've been reading that because RO filters take out almost all minerals -- bad AND good -- that the water is not natural or healthy. Supposedly, it leaches minerals from your body. Even supplementing with minerals, while better than nothing, is not entirely helpful.

So tell me, what the heck is a person to do? I don't want flouride in our drinking water, or I'd go back to using a Brita.

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#2 of 24 Old 03-27-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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I don't have any answers but am subbing since I am interested in the answers also.
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#3 of 24 Old 03-27-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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I am interested too since we have RO. The water here is so incredibly gross that I cannot imagine what I will drink if RO is not good.

JM
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#4 of 24 Old 03-27-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Where are you reading this? The concentration of minerals in most drinking water is so small that I can't see how it could possibly make a difference (especially in places like Portland, which have naturally soft water). Sheesh, the concentration of trace elements (vanadium, etc.) in our bodies are approximately the same as sea water; with this argument, we should be drinking sea water. Yet we don't (can't!) and our bodies seem to be able to concentrate the elements and minerals we need. However, there are certainly life forms (e.g. freshwater fish) that can't live in RO water because of differential osmosis issues (the water is too pure).
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#5 of 24 Old 03-27-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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If you soaked one grain of brown rice in a gallon of water, it would totally restore the amount of minerals that are removed. [That's how small of an amount we are talking about.] (Good trick if you keep a jug of cold water in the refridgerator for drinking)

If you use the water to make tea/coffee or other drinks, you are removing the 'slightly acidic' nature of distilled water, by dissolving solids in it, and it is not a concern, that it will 'leech' out minerals anymore.

If you add one drop of 'liquid minerals,' like you can find at almost all Health Food Stores, you will not only replace the mineral content, but it'll be much healthier than drinking chlorine and who knows what....


Trust, me, you do not want to know about the 'who knows' what. I studied environmental science at an engineering school. We did an entire course on just 'water quality'. You do NOT want to drink tap water if at all possible, that is unfiltered...

Happy drinking! I not only have a 'whole house' water filter, but double whammy it with a RO unit at the kitchen sink for drinking/ice cube making.
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#6 of 24 Old 03-27-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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I don't think it's unhealthy to drink RO water plain. It's just plain water. But it does taste a little different from natural water and you might not like that. If you don't like the taste of your RO water, or you're concerned about the mineral content, you can add trace minerals back to the water. I have heard quite a few people recommend adding Concentrace drops to RO water for drinking. Here's a link: http://www.traceminerals.com/products/drops.html
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#7 of 24 Old 03-28-2007, 12:20 AM
 
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I've heard this, too. I've read some articles about the dangers of drinking distilled and RO water that I ran across on google. We drink RO water, but we have a mineral sachet (that includes calcium and magnesium) that we put in the water before we drink it. PM me if you want the company name where we get them from.
What I really want is an Aquasana system. It takes out most of the baddies and leaves the minerals. It even reduces fluoride by about 50%. I hate having to deal with bottled water and getting them filled.

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#8 of 24 Old 03-28-2007, 03:37 AM
 
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I think some of the whole water purity stuff is marketing by competitors, to be honest. I would say just add some minerals back in. Gotta be better than the unfiltered junk.

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#9 of 24 Old 03-28-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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We have a distiller, which I believe is very similiar to RO in terms of removing everything out of the water, and I love the taste of our water. It is so pure tasting. And when you look at the ice cubes, they are crystal clear. I was concerned about the mineral issue as well, but, after a little research, I really think that we should be able to get enough minerals through our everyday diet if we have a healthy diet. It would be different if water was our only source of minerals. Since it is not, and we can get minerals from other sources, I would prefer for my water to be clean and pure and free of all the bad contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride, rocket fuel--Yikes!! I wouldn't say that RO or distilled water is neither healthy or unhealthy. Water is so necessary to purify and clean out our own bodies as well as hydration for our skin and our body. There was a time when I was concerned about the minerals, too. But I have made peace with the issue now!!
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#10 of 24 Old 03-28-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by xenabyte View Post


Trust, me, you do not want to know about the 'who knows' what. I studied environmental science at an engineering school. We did an entire course on just 'water quality'. You do NOT want to drink tap water if at all possible, that is unfiltered...
Are you taking city water or well water or both when you say tap water?
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#11 of 24 Old 03-28-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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Though reverse osmosis does take out all minerals out of water (and they do make a difference, yes they do), you can add trace minerals back to the water. Another mother posted a link.
I think that it's the cleanest way to drink water as it is effective in taking out fluoride and nitrates. I would be happy with your decision if I were you.
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#12 of 24 Old 03-29-2007, 12:57 PM
 
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One of the biggest problems with RO is the HUGE waste of water they create in the filtration process.
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#13 of 24 Old 03-29-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna
One of the biggest problems with RO is the HUGE waste of water they create in the filtration process.
In the cheaper systems this is absolutely an issue. There are, however, RO systems out there which have much less waste. It's another one of those you get what you pay for things. When choosing an RO filter in this regard you have to ask what the ratio is.
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#14 of 24 Old 03-29-2007, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, you guys are making me feel better. I think I will look into buying minerals in supplement form just to be safe.

As for the waste issue, this does bother me, but I think I'm going to try to figure out a water collection system and re-use it for laundry (our RO filter is in the basement right next to our washing machine).

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#15 of 24 Old 03-30-2007, 01:06 AM
 
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Oh interesting thread! We have RO water in our kitchen... our water here is horrible!
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#16 of 24 Old 03-30-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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We are rural and have been on a 'boil water advisory' (according to the municipality) for 2 years. We've got a UV filter and we HAD an RO unit. While I was pregnant we tested our water (just to be sure we weren't having any problems) and the ONLY contaminated water source was our RO unit. Everything else (including the garden hose/raw water) was FINE.

Turns out what happened is that during a power outtage untreated water went past our UV filter and into our RO. According to our water person, RO units are "great breeding grounds for bacteria" if bacteria gets in. So it bred. I was drinking 2-3L a day of E.Coli positive water. JOY!

Their only 'solution' was to install an ADDITIONAL UV filter AFTER our RO unit. We passed. We removed the RO unit entirely and now just have the UV.

Anyway. Not sure that answers any questions, but that's my experience with RO units.

Homebirthing, homeschooling AP, gardening maniac running a working farm. No circ, no vax, no cable TV. EC'd and CD'd, tandem BF'd.  Cheese and soap making goat and child herder.
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#17 of 24 Old 03-30-2007, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are rural and have been on a 'boil water advisory' (according to the municipality) for 2 years. We've got a UV filter and we HAD an RO unit. While I was pregnant we tested our water (just to be sure we weren't having any problems) and the ONLY contaminated water source was our RO unit. Everything else (including the garden hose/raw water) was FINE.
Ick. Where did you get it tested? I'd like to do that, just so I know our RO filter is doing what it's supposed to do.

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#18 of 24 Old 03-30-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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Ick. Where did you get it tested? I'd like to do that, just so I know our RO filter is doing what it's supposed to do.
There's no harm getting it tested, but it's unlikely you have that kind of contamination. A "boil water advisory" is pretty serious. If you're really worried, you can always install a UV filter as a post filter. If you're not sure where to get one, I can give tell you where we got ours.
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#19 of 24 Old 03-30-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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We drink RO water with 40 drops of Concentrace added in per gallon of water. As I understand it, not all RO units get rid of flouride- you'll have to look for specifics on it. We reclaim the 'water waste' from the RO and dehumidifier and use it in washing laundry.

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#20 of 24 Old 03-31-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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As for the waste issue, this does bother me, but I think I'm going to try to figure out a water collection system and re-use it for laundry (our RO filter is in the basement right next to our washing machine).
Fantastic idea!
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#21 of 24 Old 03-31-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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Ick. Where did you get it tested? I'd like to do that, just so I know our RO filter is doing what it's supposed to do.
We pick up (and drop off) testing bottles at the local hospital for testing. It's free.

No doubt there is someone in the blue pages who could tell ya where to go.

Homebirthing, homeschooling AP, gardening maniac running a working farm. No circ, no vax, no cable TV. EC'd and CD'd, tandem BF'd.  Cheese and soap making goat and child herder.
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#22 of 24 Old 03-31-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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There's no harm getting it tested, but it's unlikely you have that kind of contamination. A "boil water advisory" is pretty serious. If you're really worried, you can always install a UV filter as a post filter. If you're not sure where to get one, I can give tell you where we got ours.
That was the joke - our ground water tests were fine, the only contamination was from the RO unit. Some bacteria would have gotten in during the power outtage, and it simply bred in the RO. I would have been better off drinking from the hose.

Chances are your water is fine, but the water company we use did say that they had seen similar problems before.

Always good to test your water no matter what.

Homebirthing, homeschooling AP, gardening maniac running a working farm. No circ, no vax, no cable TV. EC'd and CD'd, tandem BF'd.  Cheese and soap making goat and child herder.
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#23 of 24 Old 03-31-2007, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Fantastic idea!
I have an extra rain barrel and was thinking about using rainwater to wash clothes, but got scared off when people mentioned mold, fertilizer residue and other things. So I think I'm going to put the barrel in the basement instead, and use the spigot to put water in a bucket and then pour the water from the bucket into the washer.

I wish I could figure out a less putzy way of getting the water from the rain barrel to the washer, though. :

Thank you again for all your input. I knew people at MDC would have thoughts on the subject!

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#24 of 24 Old 03-31-2007, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That was the joke - our ground water tests were fine, the only contamination was from the RO unit. Some bacteria would have gotten in during the power outtage, and it simply bred in the RO. I would have been better off drinking from the hose.

Chances are your water is fine, but the water company we use did say that they had seen similar problems before.

Always good to test your water no matter what.
We just moved to this house a month ago, and the house was empty for about four or five months before that. And I'm guessing the guy who lived here did not have it serviced for years before that. So although we just got a new membrane and filters and the guy tasted the old water from the tank as he drained it and said it tasted fine, and also put some cleaning solution through the system...who knows?

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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