Do You Want Minerals with That?

Ingegerd Rosborg

Division of Land and Water Resources Engineering

School of Architecture and the Built Environment

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

E-mail: irosborg@kth.se

Mobile: 0708-80 28 91

About 225 000 000 litres of bottled waters are sold yearly in Sweden. In USA this figure is a staggering 38 billions. More and more of the bottled water that we drink is produced by Reverse Osmosis (RO), with a zero content of minerals. Will that cause health problems?

People buy bottled water, not only to avoid infections when visiting tropical or subtropical countries, but because they believe it will keep them healthy. Due to water scarcity these are often RO treated sea water. Also public water supplies are increasingly using RO all over the world. Bottled water on the Swedish market come from a range of sources and thus are associated with different environmental effects from transportation and production. The mineral content in bottled waters also varies a lot, from almost zero as in RO water, to elevated levels especially in waters from the Alps. Consumers should choose water that provides the body with minerals. Choose bottles with at least 30-40 mg/L calcium (Ca), 10 mg/L magnesium (Mg), and 100 mg/L bicarbonate (HCO3), since such water is protective against many health disorders. Otherwise drink tap water! Researchers at KTH, the Division of Land and Water Resources, study essential minerals and toxic elements in drinking water. In an ongoing study using hair of people on an island in the Stockholm archipelago, we compare effects of pH-adjusted RO water with that of drinking well water.

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