‘Raw Water’ Trend Has U.S. Doctors on Alert

'Raw Water' Trend Has U.S. Doctors on Alert
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Doctors and medical professionals are concerned about the dangers of the new “raw” water trend, which is water found in the environment that has not been treated or filtered in any way. A number of companies have recently started selling raw water, claiming that it is healthier and contains essential probiotics and minerals, but Officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warn that the water could contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and David Sedlak, co-director of the University of California, Berkeley’s Water Center, tells News-Medical.net that there are no proven health benefits to the bacteria present in the water.

“If you’re not filtering it, if you’re not disinfecting it then you are creating a risk for yourself or anybody you give the water to of diseases and other illnesses that can come from the water,” Vincent Hill, chief of the CDC Waterborne Disease Prevention branch, tells WCAX.

“While I understand the treatment process of water coming from our municipalities being less than desirable (fluoride, chlorine, and contamination with other chemicals used in the treatment process – let alone the chemicals including medications that are dumped into the drains by the consumers themselves contaminating this ‘treated water’), to abandon common sense and drink water that is ‘raw’ from an unknown and untested source is even more foolish,” says Dr. Alexander Thermos.

”Even in the ‘clearest’ of water sampled from a stream can contain potentially harmful organisms, let alone whatever is dumped (chemical pollution, etc.) into the streams, rivers or lakes at another site far from the location it is being sampled.”

The Washington Post warns that if the trend catches on, “the proponents of the raw water craze are threatening to undo one of the greatest public health and sanitation achievements in U.S. history:” clean public water supplies.

“When the rich willingly pay a premium for water, the rationale for keeping the water supply of ordinary people clean and inexpensive will eventually disappear, which could create a public health nightmare,” the Post writes.

Maine-based Tourmaline Springs was one of the first players in this new trend, launching its raw water in 2009 and trademarking the term in 2012. San Francisco-based Live Water is another high-profile company selling untreated spring water at retail prices of nearly $40 per 2.5-gallon jug.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.