Water that is supplied to houses and other places is not fit for drinking unless it is treated. Untreated water comes from streams, rivers and lakes might be contaminated by pollutants such as chemicals, oils or sewage, and harmful pathogens, such as Amoeba, Giardia, etc. Consuming this untreated water for drinking can cause severe digestive issues and even fatal diseases, such as cholera.
Boiling the water to make it drinkable is one of the most common traditional ways of purifying water. However, despite the amount of faith put in it, boiled water is not safe for drinking.
To boil the water, it is put it into a container and heated until it reaches the bubbling stage. Most bacteria die as the temperature rises and water hits the boiling point. But, certain pathogens can even withstand boiling temperatures, so you must ensure to boil your water for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
Does boiling contaminated water make it safe to drink?
If you think that boiled water is free from all contaminants and pathogens, and is safe for drinking, then you might be a bit surprised after reading this. Boiling does remove most pathogens from the water, but what about other contaminants?
Contaminants like dirt, pollutants and toxic chemicals are still in the water. Pollutants like lead, nitrates, and pesticides aren’t affected by temperature. And since boiling reduces the volume of water, the concentration of these pollutants increases.
Believe it or not, there is huge confusion surrounding this topic – whether or not boiled water is safe for drinking?
Boiling is a simple and cost-effective way to kill germs, remove chlorine-organic compounds, and soften the water. But, boiling cannot make the water completely safe for drinking, which can be best done by water filters. The water filter systems use different technologies, like RO, UV, etc. in combination, to make the water potable.
Toxins present in boiled water
Boiled water, by all counts, is universally accepted as one of the safest methods to make the water potable. However, certain toxins still remain in the water even after boiling. Toxins that are commonly found in drinking water include: –
When service pipes that contain lead corrode, the water that passes through collects lead. Lead is toxic and can be harmful to human health, but the severity depends upon the amount of lead that enters the body. Lead can have hazardous effects on the still-developing brains of young children.
Supplied water contains some amount of naturally occurring fluoride. Fluoride discharge from fertilizer or aluminum factories is another source. Fluoride toxicity is known to cause a variety of health problems like arthritis, fracture, dementia, thyroid disease, genetic damage, etc.
Combustion of fossil fuels, cement manufacture, metal smelters, and sewage are the most prominent sources of mercury release. Exposure to high levels of mercury can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system.
Arsenic can enter the water supply from natural deposits or from industrial and agricultural pollution. Arsenic poisoning affects lungs, skin, kidneys, and liver.
PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are chemicals that enter drinking water through their use, manufacture and disposal. PCBs are used in industrial purposes such as insulation, machinery, paints, oil, adhesives, and electronics. High levels of PCB exposure can cause skin conditions like acne and rashes, and negatively affect the endocrine, reproductive and immune system.
You must have understood by now that ‘why boiling water is just not enough’. Water that looks clean can still contain harmful pollutants and pathogens, which are invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, it’s important to purify your water by using a water filter or RO water purifier.