“”In some respects, the fact that people are worried filtration is removing necessary minerals is really an extreme case of one of these First World problems
|—David Jones, professor of history of medicine at Harvard Medical School|
Raw water is water that is
uncooked neither filtered nor sterilized in any way and is used in human consumption. In 2017, raw water became a commercial enterprise for preying upon stupid people in United States. Modern water sterilization started in the mid-19th century following the advent of water chlorination and the discovery that cholera was a waterborne disease caused by bacterial contamination.
Raw water has long been available for people to drink at springs, but 2016 marked the start of commercial distribution of raw water to "solve" a "first world problem". Tourmaline Spring of Maine started distributing its water in 2016, and Live Water's "Fountain of Truth Spring Water" from Oregon started distribution in 2017.
Some of the microbe-borne diseases that can be contracted from drinking raw water are: giardiasis (from Giardia), Legionnaires’ disease (from Legionella), norovirus infection, Guillain-Barré syndrome (from Campylobacter), cryptosporidiosis (from Cryptosporidium), cholera (from Vibrio cholerae), salmonellosis or "food poisoning" (from Salmonella), and gastrointestinal infection (also known as "food poisoning") from pathogenic E. coli. And this doesn't get into the parasitic diseases that you can get from unfiltered water, such as schistosomiasis, a disease that causes bleeding from the urinary tract, and was (and still is) so prevalent that many cultures used to (and still do) believe that men also menstruate.
Tourmaline Spring is likely safe to drink because it meets Maine's drinking water quality guidelines, which is due at least in part to the water actually coming from a well rather than a spring. In the United States, thanks to the lobbying efforts of bottled water companies, bottled water can be labelled "spring water" even if it comes from a well (borehole) and not a spring if the water rises to the top of the well under its own pressure.
Live Water's product however comes from surface water. Disease-causing pathogens such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium can potentially be found in any surface water, including mountains streams and springs, because they can be spread by animal or human fecal contamination.
Live Water paid for two independent analyses of the water that they obtain from Opal Spring in Oregon, a "probiotic" report (actually a report "of non-pathogenic microbial growth") and a water quality report.
The probiotic report found the following in the water:
- Pseudomonas oleovorans: 11,640 CFU/mL[note 1]
- Acidovorax spp.: 5280 CFU/mL
- Pseudomonas putida: 1310 CFU/mL
- Unidentified species of Pseudomonas: 5320 CFU/mL
Probiotic is not a scientifically-defined term because there is insufficient scientific evidence that consumption of any specific microbe is efficacious for health. Nonetheless, probiotic bacteria are generally considered to be in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera, but even probiotics can be a source of infection.
Of all the possible diseases that could be found in raw water (above), the two reports only tested for E. coli and Legionella, neither of which were found in the samples provided to the labs. Importantly, neither study tested for other pathogenic microbes such as Giardia or Cryptosporidium, both of which are common in surface waters. Giardia can cause giardiasis, whose symptoms include violent diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea. Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, whose symptoms include "watery diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss." Giardia and Cryptosporidium can both be asymptomatic in some people. So just because the person marketing "Fountain of Truth Spring Water" didn't get sick, it doesn't mean that you won't.
- Germ theory denialism
- Holy water — sanctified water that is sometimes raw and that has been noted for high levels of fecal contamination!
- Raw food
- Water woo
- CFU/mL is colony-forming units per milliliter. CFU is a count of the number of viable (living) microbes.
- Is drinking 'Raw water' is the latest health craze. Here's why drinking it may be a bad idea. by Lindsey Bever (January 4, 2017 at 6:59 AM) The Washington Post.
- US Environmental Protection Agency: The History of Drinking Water Treatment (2000). EPA-816-F-00-006.
- Tourmaline Spring
- Live Water
- Food-safety expert warns latest bizarre Silicon Valley $60 'raw water' trend could quickly turn deadly by Kate Taylor (Jan. 2, 2018, 4:38 PM) Business Insider.
- All the cool new friends you'll meet when you drink raw water: So many buddies are going to show up in your GI tract. by Rachel Feltman (January 5, 2018) Popular Science.
- The Paleoepidemiology of Schistosomiasis in Ancient Egypt by Helmut Kloos & Rosalie David (2003) Human Ecology Review 9(1):14–25. (archived from November 26, 2013).
- The Diagnosis of Schistosomiasis in Modern and Ancient Tissues by Means of Immunocytochemistry by Patricia Rutherford (2000) Chungará, Revista de Antropología Chilena 32(1). doi:10.4067/s0717-73562000000100021.
- Premium Grade Designation Tourmaline Spring
- The Mystery of Tourmaline Spring Tourmaline Spring
- Federal and State Laws Regarding Bottled Water – An Overview and Recommendations for Reform by Noah D. Hall (December 12, 2007) Testimony Before the United State House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee Domestic Policy Subcommittee
- Report #1: Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Waterborne Disease by Brian Oram (2014) Water Research Center.
- Final Report: Assessment of non-pathogenic microbial growth in spring water Order Number: 371624622. Prepared for Fountain of Truth Spring Water (1/9/2017) EMSL Analytical, Inc.
- Informational Water Quality Report Ordered By: Fountain of Truth (11/6/2015) National Water Testing Laboratories, Ltd.
- See the Wikipedia article on Probiotic § Scientific reviews and regulatory actions.
- Probiotics: In Depth National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- What Are Probiotics? WebMD
- Lactobacillus Bacteremia, Clinical Significance, and Patient Outcome, with Special Focus on Probiotic L. Rhamnosus GG by Minna K. Salminen et al. (2004) Clinical Infectious Diseases 38(1):62–69. doi.org/10.1086/380455.
- Pseudomonas oleovorans Sepsis in a Child: The First Reported Case in India by Lipika Gautam et al. (2015) Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases 68(3):254-255. doi.org/10.7883/yoken.JJID.2014.174.
- Human infections due to Pseudomonas chlororaphis and Pseudomonas oleovorans harboring new blaVIM-2-borne integrons by Diego Faccone et al. (2014) Infection, Genetics and Evolution 28:276–277.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas putida outbreak associated with contaminated water outlets in an oncohaematology paediatric unit by C. Aumeran et al. (2007) J. Hosp. Infect. 65(1):47-53. DOI:10.1016/j.jhin.2006.08.009.
- Giardia infection (giardiasis) May Clinic.
- Parasites — Cryptosporidium (also known as "Crypto"): Illness & Symptoms] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Prevalence of Giardia infection in households of Giardia cases and risk factors for household transmission by A. Waldram et al. (2017) BMC Infect. Dis. 17(1):486. doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2586-3.
- Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis: the African perspective by H. M. Aldeyarbi et al. (2016) Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. Int. 23(14):13811-21. doi:10.1007/s11356-016-6746-6.