Reverse osmosis is a water filtration technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to filter impurities from water. The technology was originally introduced to make seawater more drinkable and reduce heavy metals in water. Now, it’s commonly used for home water filtration systems.
Reverse osmosis systems are highly effective for filtration because they eliminate a wide spectrum of contaminants from water. They filter out contaminants like bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, fluorides, and hard minerals.
Reverse osmosis systems are great at what they do, but there’s a catch. The WHO says that the low mineral water produced by RO systems tends to negatively affect human health, especially after long-term consumption.
Since these reports, many homeowners who rely on reverse osmosis systems for clean drinking water have become concerned. People wonder if RO Water is really safe to drink and if it’s still a good investment. There are a lot of factors to consider before concluding on this.
Here we will discuss why RO water may be considered harmful. We’ll also weigh the pros against the cons to see if RO water is really worth it.
How is RO Water Harmful to Health?
Reverse osmosis removes a lot of impurities from water. Unfortunately, this includes a large percentage (90-99%) of beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium. Based on several studies conducted by the WHO, demineralized/low mineral water is harmful to health. And according to WHO reports, the effects of drinking demineralized RO water start to show very quickly.
In several weeks or a few months, people who drink demineralized water may notice symptoms that suggest acute magnesium or calcium deficiency. Other complaints like cardiovascular disorders, muscle cramps, tiredness, and weakness also surface. Intake of low mineral water has also been associated with a higher risk of fracture in children, pregnancy disorders, and certain neurodegenerative diseases.
Demineralized water causes malnutrition and leaches away existing minerals in the body (meaning that minerals gotten from food the person eats will be urinated away).
Even when used for cooking, RO water leaches away important minerals from food.
Is RO Water Still a Good Option?
Although RO systems produce demineralized water, they still have some benefits. Reverse osmosis systems are one of the most effective filters available. If you choose to ditch RO filters, you may have to deal with contaminants like lead, arsenic, chlorine, bacteria, and high amounts of total dissolved solids (TDS) that come with tap water. Compared to demineralized water, these contaminants could lead to a longer list of health problems.
Reverse osmosis filters are a lifesaver in places with poor water quality. They make the water potable and prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
Also, with a well-balanced diet, you’ll barely feel any effects of demineralized water. You can supplement some of the minerals missing from your drinking water with food. Ordinarily, water shouldn’t be your primary source of nutrients, so altering your diet to include more minerals and vitamins should sustain you.
But if you’re still worried about the demineralized water affecting your health, there are ways to go around it.
Some reverse osmosis filters have a remineralization stage where healthy minerals are added back into the water. Of course, the water will not contain the same amounts of minerals as regular water, but it’s better than having no minerals in the water at all. With some more minerals in your water, the adverse effects of RO water will reduce considerably.
Best Reverse Osmosis Filters
We listed mostly under sink filters since they are a more common type of RO filter. But if you prefer a RO filter with zero installation requirements, you can find at least 5 countertop RO filters that are just as effective.
We also tried to include filters with the remineralization feature since they are a better variety.
1. Home Master Artesian
Home Master is an under sink system with the remineralization feature. The filter adds beneficial minerals into the water at two different stages before finally dispensing it. It has easy-to-change filter cartridges and doesn’t come with a bulky filter housing. The system is also designed to reduce wastewater considerably.
2. iSpring RCC7AK
This filter is highly rated for its remineralization abilities. It works in 6 stages, with alkaline remineralization being the last stage. The alkaline filter needs to be changed twice a year, but the RO membrane can last up to 3 years before needing a change.
3. APEC Essence ROES-PH75
APEC essence also has a remineralization feature. It has a 6 stage filtration process, the last stage being an alkaline calcium filter which makes the water taste like bottled water. The filter is suitable for small cabinets. Its installation process is also simple and can be done without a plumber.
Reverse osmosis water may be deficient in a few minerals, but it’s still good to drink with the right precautions. If you have contaminants in your water, you should consider getting one. All that matters is that you take the necessary precautions to ensure that you don’t lack the nutrients you need to stay healthy.