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Health Effects of De-mineralization of Drinking Water

Chapter

Abstract

Desalinated water, mainly RO, but recently also produced from air humidity by condensation, is extremely low in minerals, comparable to rain water or distilled water, and even when pH-adjusted such water has low mineral content. Reduced mineral intake, due to drinking de-mineralized water, is not automatically compensated by one’s diet. Especially not since there are scientific studies that show decreasing levels of a number of essential minerals in vegetables. Animal studies showed that mean haemoglobin content of red blood cells was approximately 19% lower in animals receiving non-supplemented de-mineralized water compared to animals given tap water. Higher mortality in acute myocardial infarction patients was found in regions where the drinking water was desalinated water, attributed especially by reduced magnesium intake. “Water intoxication”, or delirium caused by hyponatraemia, may occur following intense physical efforts, like a marathon or working hard, and ingestion of several litres of low-mineral water. Early symptoms include tiredness, weakness, headache, brain oedema, convulsions and in severe cases coma and finally death. Electrolyte imbalance, hyponatraemia, hypokalaemia, hypocalcaemia and hypomagnesemia are the most common co-morbidities in cancer patients, which underlines the importance of minerals from drinking water. Declining dental health was reported in populations consuming desalinated water, due to low Ca and F levels in water. Drinking low-mineral water in the long run will increase the risk of acidosis, acidified tissues, as indicated by pH < 6 in urine. Thus, metabolic acidosis was reported in infants whose drinks were prepared from distilled or low-mineral bottled water. Acidosis may be a precursor to many diseases, e.g. cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Minerals in water are also needed to prevent corrosion and dissolution of pipe material, which makes the water unhealthy, and they are also needed for partial protection against uptake or transportation in the body of toxic elements, e.g. lead (Pb) and uranium (U).

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED)KTH, Royal Institute of EngineeringStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Water HygieneNational Institute of Public HealthPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of MedicalSurgical and Advanced Technologies “G. F. Ingrassia”, University of CataniaCataniaItaly

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