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Nobody Knows, and That's a Problem
Most people have a healthy skepticism of the latest marketing craze coming out of Silicon Valley: "Raw Water". While the region is known for its technological innovation, the vast amounts of wealth involved can attract a variety of shady businesses.
Raw Water' as a "health drink" has somehow received the attention of our national press. Maybe it's the sheer audacity of it, and the fact that one of the big names behind it was also behind one of the most ridiculous juicing products ever conceived.
We think this is a good time to remind folks about how far we've come in our understanding of environmental water and personal health.
Raw Water, The Bullet Points:
- A company will bottle water from a groundwater well or a a surface water source
- They will spend no money on treating it and, if they do test it, they aren't publishing the results.
- They will sell it at a 5x markup over regular bottled water and call it a health drink
We don't live in a pristine world. Water runs downhill, so unless you're collecting rainwater in the High Sierra, you're also collecting whatever that water picked up on its way down through developed areas. Even deep wells anywhere near populated or industrialized regions are frequently contaminated. In many cases, the toxic chemicals are naturally occurring; most arsenic in groundwater comes from natural rock formations, and it's a deadly poison.
Several articles have been published about the risk of bacteria like giardia or e.coli in these water sources. They'll give you diarrhea, or worse. But 'Acute health risks', as we know them in the industry, are only the stuff that will make you sick in the very short term.
SimpleLab, the maker of Tap Score, exists because untreated water can also carry a number of long term health risks. What we do is quantify those risks using real science, and make it simpler than ever to understand how what you drink every day could impact your long term health.
The Raw Water salesmen will turn a blind eye to the contaminants that have caused cancers for millions worldwide, while mumbling something about pro-biotics. We love that every day more people are learning about the importance of the micro-flora in our intestines. But we're not talking about a carefully cultivated cup of yogurt here.
The water you drink will never be a meaningful source of nutrients versus the rest of your diet, but it could be a meaningful source of chronic poisons and bacteria.
One of the reasons many people are rolling their eyes at Raw Water is that it's disingenuous to the people who rely on wells because they've been left behind by public utilities. In many cases those same people have no choice but to drink from a contaminated well or spend their own money on treatment.