A new health craze that has many people paying high prices for unfiltered water is also reportedly putting those Americans at risk for diseases like hepatitis and norovirus.
Per a report in the New York Times on Friday that manages to be unusually irritating even by the Times' rich-people-trendpiece standards, "raw water" is now somehow a thing on the West Coast and "other pockets around the country".
The fact that people are voluntarily forgoing treated water was met with concern, horror and shock on social media.
According to the WHO, about two billion people around the world get their drinking water from a source that is contaminated with feces and more than 500,000 people around the world die each year from contaminated water-related diarrhea. "We celebrate this ancient life source that humanity flourished from, since the beginning of our existence", the Live Water website says.
But all in all, "we have an incredibly safe and reliable water supply" in the United States, said David Jones, professor of history of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Much of the raw water is collected by a company called Live Water, which was popularized in part by entrepreneur Doug Evans after his Juicero company shut down in September. This company's stand against filtered, treated water has already found fertile ground in the minds of plenty of people in Western California, riding on the public outrage around the water crisis in the city of Flint, Michigan.
None of the raw water is cheap. The Food and Drug Administration regulates water that is bottled and sold to consumers.
Raw food advocates have been expounding the health benefits of a "raw" diet for a long time, but now there is another "raw" fad that has come into existence and it is not a food.
"Without water treatment, there's acute and then chronic risks", Donald Hensrud, MD, MPH, director of the Health Living Programme at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota told The New York Times. According to Fortune, the water turns green if not consumed within a month, so that's probably not an empty claim. However, this is only an appearance, as clear spring water is full of bacteria and dirt which can only be removed through serious purification processes.
A cool glass of (clean) water. Live Water's founder, Mukhande Singh, said that tap water has been poisoned. "Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use". They are perfectly healthy to eat raw. Other conspiracy theories claim that the chemicals added in tap water, like fluoride, are a means of "mind control", and so on.