Diet Diary: Tips for clean drinking water

Purified water is the most highly treated and closely regulated water product.

Written by Ishi Khosla | Updated: May 11, 2015 3:56 pm

As summers increases out dependence on water, it also makes us more prone to water-borne infections such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and diarrhoea. Besides general hygiene and food precautions, quality of water also needs to be regulated.

Primarily, water supply at home either comes from underground borewell tanks or is supplied by the municipal body. Unfortunately, most tap, underground and well-water is not safe for drinking. Toxic bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals pollute the natural water sources making people sick and exposing them to long-term health conditions such as liver damage and other serious conditions.

Drinking water must be treated at the point of use. During purification, the aim should be to minimise microbial load (bacteria and viruses), chemical toxins, heavy metals including pesticides and retain useful minerals like calcium and magnesium.

There are several ways to treat water at home.

Boiling

This is by far the most commonly used approach to disinfect water at household level. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms. However, it does not remove heavy metals and minerals. Boil the water for 5-10 minutes, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers and dispensing device such as a tap or spigot. It is recommended that heat-treated water be consumed soon after it has cooled and preferably within the same day.

Filters

Filtes using UV light are also used for water treatment and purification. Filters use thick porous materials such as carbon or ceramic to trap particles as water flows through the material. Activated carbon filters also remove organic chemicals and heavy metals. UV disinfection inactivates water-borne pathogens, is a light on the pocket and does not require the use of chemicals, odours or toxic chemical by-products.

Reverse osmosis

This is a new method of water purification that has become more popular than the traditional methods. Reverse osmosis (RO) can remove 90-99% of all contaminants and deliver healthy drinking water. Reduced cost and increased performance of this method of water treatment has further increased its usage. However, along with removing the unwanted chemicals, microbes and compounds, it also takes away minerals from water.

Such de-mineralised water has been associated with several health risks such as disturbed mineral homeostasis and other body functions; poor mineral intake especially calcium and magnesium; low intake of other essential elements and micro-nutrients; and dysbiosis.

There are many who use bottled water regularly. Bottled water comes in two main types — spring water and purified water.

Purified water is the most highly treated and closely regulated water product. There are three primary processes used to produce purified water: deionization, distillation and reverse osmosis. Most bottlers choose RO over the others because of economics and efficacy.

Drinking water should contain minimum levels of certain essential minerals. Bottled water with minerals, conforming to standards is better than de-mineralized water.

 

Tips for clean drinking water

* Water must be treated to avoid any water-borne infections.

* When on the move, purified mineral water bottle is always better than regular tap water

* It is a good idea to sanitise storage tanks routinely with bleaching powder

* Water must be stored in PET bottles as chemicals from cheaper plastic like PVC can leach harmful constituents into the water. However, PET bottles require periodic replacement because they can be scratched and they become deformed at higher temperatures

* Do not reuse packaged water bottles for storing water

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