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Drinking Pure Water will Result in Death

Crazy headlines but it is one of many out there on the internet, it is interesting to note that almost all of the headlines are from water filtration companies or affiliates. Unfortunately we live in a world where some companies will grab on to a dramatic headline that suits their particular argument and helps to make a sale.

A classic example of this is an article that most people who are against drinking demineralised water will quote almost all the time without fail. The usual build up to the link is something like this ….The World Health Organization (WHO) also published a study on drinking water showing evidence of various health risks associated with drinking demineralised water.

The link is to an article from Frantisek Kozisek (an isolated report available through the WHO website) which states among other things that Sufficient evidence is now available to confirm the health consequences from drinking water deficient in calcium or magnesium”. This statement of course can be taken in many ways, I recently had an online conversation with a “water expert” who stated that drinking demineralised water will cause your body to “leak” minerals, and pointed to this article as proof. My question to him that was never answered was this:

Our diet gives us calcium. The foods highest in calcium include

Dairy products such as eggs, milk, butter and cheese – (where most of our calcium comes from)

Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and beans


Whole grain foods such as bread, rice and cereals.

Our bodies absorb calcium from the food we eat through the lining of the bowel. The calcium is stored in the bones. The body controls the amount of calcium in the bloodstream very carefully. When blood levels of calcium fall too low, the bones release calcium into the blood. The amount of calcium absorbed from food in the bowel also increases. And the kidneys get rid of less calcium through the urine. If blood levels of calcium get too high, the opposite happens.

Around 99% of calcium is stored in our bones, so I asked him was he stating that pure water will enter the body and cause calcium to “Leak out?” How many pure litres of water would you have to drink for this process to occur? If you eat a bowl of nuts at the same time will the pure water cause your body to lose any minerals that it would have gained otherwise? From your own experience forget about providing links, just from your own knowledge, why is it that we do not have a big issue with mineral deficiency in the population of the many Australians who have drank tank water all their lives which has a TDS of around 4 PPM?


The link to the article makes the argument sound very convincing, the World Health Organisation has published this it must be true right? In actual fact if you dig deeper beyond the masses of misinformation, the World Health Organisations ACTUAL views on the subject are as below:

(If you want a copy of the full PDF please contact us)

6.5.2 Potential health benefits of bottled drinking-water there is a belief by some consumers that natural mineral waters have medicinal properties or offer other health benefits. Such waters are typically of high mineral content, sometimes significantly higher than concentrations normally accepted in drinking water. Such waters often have a long tradition of use and are often accepted on the basis that they are considered foods rather than drinking-water per se. Although certain mineral waters may be useful in providing essential micro-nutrients, such as calcium, these Guidelines do not make recommendations regarding minimum concentrations of essential compounds, because of the uncertainties surrounding mineral nutrition from drinking-water. Packaged waters with very low mineral content, such as distilled or demineralized waters, are also consumed. Rainwater, which is similarly low in minerals, is consumed by some populations without apparent adverse health effects. There is insufficient scientific information on the benefits or hazards of regularly consuming these types of bottled waters (see WHO, 2003b).

The expert meeting concluded that only a few minerals in natural waters had sufficient concentrations and distribution to expect that their consumption in drinking water might sometimes be a significant supplement to dietary intake in some populations.

Here are some extracts from the Water Quality Association which shows their standpoint on the matter:

Established Drinking Water Standards

A review was conducted of the United States, Canadian, World Health Organization (WHO) and European Community (EC) drinking water standards. None have minimum limits or optimum levels of total dissolved solids. The US recommended maximum level is 500 mg/L, as is the Canadian guideline. In the EU, since the adoption of the new revision of the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC) in 2003, TDS, hardness, and alkalinity no longer have listed limits; member states are allowed to add limits if CONSUMPTION OF LOW TDS WATER International Headquarters & Laboratory Phone 630 505 0160 WWW.WQA.ORG A not-for-profit organization WQA Technical Fact Sheet they wish. Maximum level recommendations are made for aesthetic reasons, but there is no health criteria documentation for these advisories. These levels are listed as aids to operation for water supply systems, i.e., suggested parameters for laying down a passivating film of scale in municipal distribution mains. Calcium, magnesium, hardness, and alkalinity conditions are not necessary for judging the safety of drinking water.

A review of the literature has shown that there is very little information published in western scientific literature that relates the consumption of low TDS water to physiological effects on the human body. A report submitted to the World Health Organization in 1980 contained an annex reviewing work that had been reported in Russian literature. Current literature searches do not uncover any official translation of any of the articles cited in that annex. The annex concludes that consumption of water with less than 100 mg/L disturbs the body’s water/salt balance, promoting the release of sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium ions from the body of animals or humans, imposing a stress on the mechanism of homeostasis, promoting changes in the gastrointestinal muscles and mucosa, and reducing the thirst quenching capacity of the water. This annex has been intensively reviewed by many scientific experts, including Dr. Lee Rozelle and Dr. Ronald L. Wathen (see Appendix A for the complete reviews).

An additional search performed in 2014 reviewed a WHO publication on Nutrients in Drinking Water, which includes the meeting notes and related articles discussed in a 2003 meeting.2,5,9 There are chapters in this paper discussing consumption of demineralized water, which suggest that more research may be necessary to determine if guidelines should be established for minimum drinking water TDS limits, but the overall symposium conclusions are silent on the matter. The most recent WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (4th edition, 2011) discusses palatability and scaling issues at high TDS, but does not discuss low TDS. It also states that no health-based guideline value for TDS has been proposed.


It has been concluded that the consumption of low TDS water, naturally occurring or received from a treatment process, does not result in harmful effects to the human body. This is based upon the following points:

  • No public health organization with authority over the drinking water quality anywhere in the world has enacted or even proposed a minimum requirement for total dissolved minerals in drinking water.
  • The human body’s own control mechanism (homeostasis) regulates the mineral content of the body fluids and the discharge of different types of ions from the body of normal health individuals drinking water with low or high mineral content.
  • Several types of scientific literature searches have found no harmful effects to the human body attributable to the consumption of low TDS water.
  • Review of the Soviet report has shown that the scientific methods used are questionable and the conclusions are either vague or unsupported by the data.

This from the Canadian Water Quality Association

Many examples of real-world situations in which large populations have been and continue to be provided exclusively with low TDS water without any reported unusual or ill health effects, establishes the safety of consuming such waters by human beings.

Practical examples are presented by the people who live in Lake Tahoe, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; and San Francisco, California which have natural TDS levels below 100 mg/L. These areas represent a considerable total population that apparently experiences no ill health effects from the water they consume. A 1986 project sponsored by the US EPA in San Ysidro, New Mexico, offers an additional rebuttal to the Soviet studies. R.O. units were installed in the homes in this small town in order to reduce a high level of arsenic in the water supply. In addition to reducing arsenic levels, the units reduced the TDS level in the water from 800 mg/L to approximately 40 mg/L. According to Dr. Thomas J. Sorg, the EPA officer in charge of the project, there were no harmful effects observed in the subjects who drank the water. The project lasted an entire year. Finally, WQA commissioned Lee T. Rozelle, Ph.D. to conduct an extensive information search to find any other published findings on this issue. The results of the search supported the position that low TDS water was not harmful to the individual.

Appendix A

Dr. Rozelle review: “The data for their conclusions are not very convincing from a scientific viewpoint. The volume of water consumed per day was not indicated and the length of time of the experiment for the human “volunteers” was not indicated (one year fpr rats). The physiological changes reported apparently were based on rat and dog studies. For dogs, the same physiological changes were observed for water containing 50 mg/L and 1, 000 mg/L. The conclusion of a minimum TDS of 100 mg/L is confusing and thus not very convincing. In the human studies, diuresis was observed particularly on the second day of the study (the increase in urine output reported to be 18%). The volume of water in the body from the “distillate” was reported to be 50-100% higher than the “other groups.” They also reported increased elimination of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium in the urine, and the specific gravity was reduced. In the blood serum, the sodium was increased and the potassium decreased. Then it was reported that the “tendency” for similar changes were observed after consumption of 100 mg/L TDS and 1,00 mg/LTDS. The water intake (based on thirst) of various TDS waters was not clearly reported. In some cases it was difficult to determine if the data were from animals or humans. In summary, the Russian studies, as reported in Annex 8 of the WHO document appeared not to be rigorously scientific.”

Dr. Wathen review: “The annex of the report is an alleged “review” of water and salt balance under the influence of a variety of water and salt intakes, in a variety of animals, including humans, exposed to a variety of conditions. The review is long on deductions, but very short on (re) presentation of solid data.

(If you want a copy of the full WQA PDF please contact us)