There are various methods that can be used in order to purify water. One of those methods is known as distillation. Generally, distilled water is most commonly used by labs and pharmacies due to its purity, but is it something humans should consider drinking? Is it safe to drink distilled water? The answer depends on a variety of factors.
What is Distilled Water?
Distilled water is basically water that has been purified through the process of distillation. Water is heated and goes through a boiling and evaporation process. Impurities and substances that remain are then collected and discarded. The water that results from this process is then in turn much cleaner and has a higher purity from its original state.
Distillation is used to remove dissolved solids from water and has been used since 200 AD to purify seawater during voyages. Distillation was also used during World War II in order to produce fresh water from seawater.
Uses for Distilled Water
There are many things that distilled water is used for. During the time of World War I and II, it was difficult to keep troops well hydrated. As a result, they started distilling seawater so they could remove the salt from it and have large amounts of fresh water at their disposal. Since then, water distillation has been widely used.
Today, distilled water is widely used in labs to control the composition of solvents. Distilled water is also used in aquariums and fish tanks in order to avoid contaminants and microorganisms that may be found in tap water. It is also recommended to use distilled water for humidifiers, diffusers and evaporators to avoid mineral buildup and keep them cleaner and lasting longer.
Pros of Drinking Distilled Water
Distilled water is one of the purest forms of water you can drink as distillation removes 99.9% of bacteria and harmful dissolved solids. As a result, distilled water could be better for you than tap water depending on where you live. If you live in a third world country or poorer area where the water is contaminated or not the cleanest, then distilled water would be ideal.
2. Prevent Waterborne Illnesses
Following up on the point above, if your only source of water is contaminated or unclean, then you may be ingesting microorganisms and parasites which may be harmful for your body, causing you to get sick. In this instance it would be better to drink distilled water in order to avoid getting water borne illnesses.
3. No Chemicals
When it comes to tap water, it does have some added chemicals in it to ensure that it stays clean and free of bacteria and contaminants. Distilled water on the other hand, is 100% chemical free. Some of the chemicals found in tap water are:
- Lead: Can enter the water supply when faucets or pipes erode
- Chlorine: Is used to disinfect the water from contaminants, but exposure to too much chlorine is not good for your nervous system
- Fluoride: The American Dental Association has endorsed the addition of fluoride into the water supply to help prevent tooth decay. The long term effects of ingesting this chemical are still unknown
Cons of Drinking Distilled Water
1. Tastes Flat
Distilled water has a lower oxygen amount, and no vitamins or minerals in it causing it to have a weird, flat taste. Minerals in regular water are what help preserve the water’s fresh taste. So if you’re picky about the taste of your water, distilled water may not be for you.
2. No Minerals
Distilled water doesn’t contain any minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which regular water has. As a result, if you’re only drinking distilled water, it may cause you to become deficient in those minerals unless you are supplementing those minerals from your diet.
For athletes, the lack of minerals in water can make a difference. That’s because when they train or work out, they lose a lot of electrolytes as they sweat. Unfortunately, distilled water is unable to replenish those electrolytes due to its zero mineral content. So if you’re asking the question of is it safe to drink distilled water? Maybe not for athletes, unless they’re also drinking sports drinks with added electrolytes.
3. Pulls in Minerals From Other Sources
Storing distilled water can be a little tricky. Since it has no minerals of its own, it is able to pull minerals from any material it touches. This means that if you store it in a plastic bottle, it is able to absorb trace amounts of plastic, which would not be good for your health if you then consumed it.
Additionally, when you drink distilled water, it may also pull small amounts of minerals from your body, including your teeth.
Should You Drink Distilled Water?
The debate on whether drinking distilled water is safe to drink or not has been going on for years. So what’s the verdict? Is it safe to drink distilled water? Or is it something one should avoid? Based on the points discussed above, one can conclude that while distilled water may not dramatically improve your health, it probably won’t hurt you either. Just make sure to eat a well-balanced diet to ensure you get enough minerals if you do drink distilled water.
If you opt to not drink distilled water, it is best to use it for things around your house, such as filling up your aquarium or using it in your humidifier or a steam iron to prevent mineral buildup.