Raw Water’s Risks Shouldn’t Be Part Of “Pick Your Poison”:
Ok, so the non-medical, non bloodwork+antibiotics+mris world of wellness & supplements occasionally gets a little weird.
And that weirdness usually comes from one place:
Well, this time it’s more of the same.
And their new ideas on water are positively mad.
The Daily Struggle:
So for thousands and thousands of years, mankind has had a daily-struggle just meeting the basic requirements of a healthy life.
Food, shelter, & clothing was still a sketchy proposition right up until pretty recently.
And so was clean water.
Clean water is Still a real problem to deliver consistently all over the 3rd World.
And humans have been trying to filter it as long as they’ve been alive.
The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, & Indians even compiled general instructions on using sand and charcoal of all things, to filter it.
-Ancient man turns out to be pretty smart again, eh?!
The Latest Craze Is Crazy Dangerous:
Well the latest craze in pseudoscience health BS is called Raw Water.
And as you might have guessed, that Does mean going out and trespassing to whatever water-hole out in the hills you can find, hoping it’s is ok,
And bringing back unfiltered, untested, untreated water to drink,
-And (if you’re a company called Live Water) also to SELL to other people!
For the low, low price of about $20/gallon!
Hokum That Doubles-Down On Overpricing:
Not only is commercial bottled-water astoundingly-overpriced by hundreds of percent, compared to the standard US municipal water supplies,
(not counting Flint Michigan)
Now you can get special bay-area California water that might have all kinds of crap in it.
And though the proponents of this market-euphoria-idiocy have decided the only stuff you get in it is good,
Like natural probiotics & mineral-salts,
The reality is that you could get all kinds of yummy stuff in it, that the entire scope of human history has spent trying to get out!
Including, but not limited-to,
A Short List Of The Very Risky Things You Might Find In Raw Water:
8) Heavy Metals
9) Hydrazine Rocket Fuel
12) Petroleum Distillates
13) Runoff From Environmental & Agricultural Sources
17) E. Coli
22) Norovirus (hi Chipotle!)
23) Hepatitis A
24) Legionnaire’s Disease
25) Other Viruses
29) All the other Dysentery-producing Microbes that come from Animal-Poops
30) And Most-Ironically-Of All, Excessive Fluoride from Granite (didn’t see that one coming, conspiracy theorists, did ya?!)
The list goes on…
Back To The Future, Of 1828! The Raw Food Crowd Overgeneralizes:
And this is all based-on some crackpot over-generalization in the style of the Raw Food crowd that somehow Raw, from nature is always better.
There are plenty of examples where things close to their natural state Are actually better for you.
-The small amount of microbes you get on produce from farmer’s markets being one of them. Just ask the Hygiene Hypothesis guys
And their studies show kids end up with less asthma, fewer allergies & autoimmune diseases through that exposure.
On the other hand, even the Raw Food crowd may be hurting themselves from not fully-extracting all the nutrients from food.
Lycopene from tomatoes is only one example. Your body can’t use it if the tomatoes aren’t cooked first.
But to generalize the straight-from-nature==good narrative to every single thing is dangerously-ignorant.
Food-Safety Themes Across History:
And if you look at any food-safety-methodology from ancient times until now, there are a few themes.
1) Many items are perishable & have to be either cured, preserved, or (later) refrigerated, like meat & dairy products.
2) Raise & prepare animals you would eat in the cleanest, healthiest way possible to avoid getting parasites.
3) Keep everything in the food chain as clean as possible, because bad bugs eat what we eat, too.
4) Drinking water has been making people sick from the beginning of time.
The History Of Safe Drinking Water:
Hell even as late as the 18th century, people would still drink weak beer or cider simply because it wouldn’t kill you the way water would.
Major cities in the western world didn’t even have safe-ish supplies of filtered water until the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The very first one was the Chelsea neighborhood of London in 1829.
Even the US didn’t start Chlorinating its water until freaking 1908!
There wasn’t a Wastewater-Treatment act of any kind in the US until 1948, and even The Clean Water Act only became law in 1974.
So of all the things to think is safe to consume straight from nature, the entirety of history would advise otherwise specifically for water; -over just about everything else except a tiger, trying to eat those things raw is only slightly more-deadly than raw water.
Outdoorsmen Learn These Things The Hard Way; Don’t You Do The Same:
Even on hiking trips in the mountains, backpackers will STILL put chlorine-drops in their water, even if they get it straight from a glacial-stream.
-And you still don’t take snow from a glacier for drinking if it’s discolored at all; no, not just yellow.
The sad fact of all of this is that many health-frauds don’t fade away -even after they’ve been debunked-!
And there just might be an awful lot of folks from the tinfoil-hat crowd who think fluoride in the water is put there so the CIA can brainwash them more easily, who get very very sick from this.
Temporary Discomfort Is Minor, Disease & Poisoning Are Serious:
It’s one thing to throw up or have a weird reaction to excess supplements that eventually goes away.
But getting freaking Cholera is something different.
And if you think raw water is actually a great idea, just ask any backpacker who’s gotten Giardia how much fun that is,
Because that, and the next 6 months you will spend almost exclusively on the toilet, is the likely minimum table-stakes for you if you drink untreated water.
They say a fool and his money are soon parted.
What about good health?
-The dangers of the raw water fad are ready to punch that ticket, too…
Photo Credits: “You have died of dysentery” from The Oregon Trail, by The Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium
• More Coverage: CDC Healthy Water | REI-Treating Water In The Backcountry