Let's talk about lab water
Let's talk about lab water
Myths and fiction surrounding our beloved water really gets our blood boiling. So much so that we’ve dedicated another blog to debunking these aquatic parables and easing our H2-woes!
It’s nigh on impossible to escape a brief TV session without someone extolling the health benefits of water – how it’s so good for us. We’ve all heard the myth about how we need to be drinking more water in pursuit of eternal youth, but how much is too much? If we keep drinking it, will we get healthier and healthier? Are the hyper-hydrated being strung along in the hope of some fortuitous event which culminates in their prolonged longevity (most of which would surely be spent queuing for the bathroom)? Can drinking too much water be intoxicating and in fact hazardous to your health? Can we have too much of a good thing?
Apparently so. As almost everyone’s mother probably once said, ‘Everything in moderation’ really is key here. Morbid tales of water intoxication have occurred as a result of excessive water consumption (polydipsia) and subsequent dilution of salt levels in the blood. This is because your kidneys simply can’t flush the water through fast enough. Instead water moves from the blood to your cells where there is a higher concentration of salt, causing them to swell. Which is all well and good when they have room to stretch, however, when it comes to the brain, your solid bony skull encapsulates these cells and prevents them from expanding. Sadly, swelling as a result of excess water (edema) in the brain can lead to seizures, coma and death, all of which are no laughing matter.
Bottled water consumption continues to rise due to its supposed superior quality, but is it worth the cost? Should we be bothered with the bottled stuff or just go ‘eau’ natural? Does bottled water beat the regular ol’ tap variety hands down, or are we left in some sort of liquid limbo land?
What are they actually putting in the bottle or rather, what are they not? Reverse osmosis, which uses a pressurized system to force water through a semi-permeable membrane and remove bacteria and solutes such as fluoride, calcium and magnesium, is commonly used in the production of bottled water. There are fears that removing nutrients and minerals from our drinking water, and ultimately our diet, could be harmful to our health.
Ironically, bottled water is often chosen as a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks and, while there’s no denying that in many ways it is, there have been alleged concerns that it could be contributing to tooth decay. This is because fluoride, which is a superhero when it comes to protecting your enamel (hydroxyapatite) from acid attack and cavity control, is often removed from filtered water. However, it isn’t always clear on the label. It’s also worth noting that some mineral water providers even replace the fluoride lost through filtration. So, I guess it depends on what you’re partial to when parched. But regardless, I’d suggest that this is a myth busted, especially as there’s plenty of fluoride in toothpaste nowadays to protect your pearly whites and more importantly postpone that trip to the dentist.
Estrogen, more specifically the synthetic compound, ethinyl-estradiol (EE2), which is found in birth control pills and other contraceptives, is said to be contaminating our water supply. Obviously, this raises concerns, not only for human health but for aquatic plants and wildlife too. Some have even gone so far as to suggest this could be responsible for male infertility and fish feminization. Does the pill really kill the environment?
Thankfully this one’s a myth. A study from the University of California reported that in fact there’s only a negligible amount of EE2 in our drinking water. Instead the researchers identified many other sources of estrogenic compounds, such as crop fertilizers, livestock and industrial chemicals – not to mention natural estrogen from both men and women, particularly those of the pregnant variety. So there you have it, the pill is not the major culprit of estrogen contamination in our water supply and parental planning protocols can proceed with a clear environmental conscience.
When it comes to water, we’re on a mission to fish out the fabricated facts, so be sure to keep an eye out for the next part of our water myth-busting series. Or, if you’ve heard any mysterious water myths and want us to solve them, let us know in the comments below!