Soft Water & Soft Minds
(Think Hard! Drink Hard!)

by Daniel Brouse / The Membrane Domain
1999 / updated 2017

Since we've been studying drinking water for quite some time, I found it very interesting when several people asked me to write something on "water softeners."

It seems somewhere along the line consumers have confused water purification with water softening. When it comes to drinking water, I believe water softeners are one of the biggest threats to health.

Elements from the periodic table that you eat are called minerals. One of the most effective ways humans obtain the minerals they need is through drinking water. Fluoride in public drinking water is considered one of Ten Great Public Health Interventions of the 20th Century." (CDC) The first mistake many people make is to remove the minerals from their drinking water. The second mistake they make is to take mineral supplements. Mineral supplements are one of the most dangerous ways for humans to obtain minerals from their diet. Mineral supplements are unlikely to contain the proper minerals in the proper amounts. Even worse, it is difficult to make a pure mineral supplement. The long-term ingestion of the toxins found in mineral supplements is unlikely to be good for your long-term health. You might consider "the removal of minerals from the drinking water and the taking of mineral supplements" equivalent to hitting yourself in the head with a hammer... so that you can take more aspirin.

I do recommend testing your water and eliminating health risks. I do recommend purification for contaminated water that will be used for drinking. I do recommend water softeners for use in machinery and applications where "hard" water is corrosive to equipment. But, I do NOT recommend water softeners for drinking water.

The safest and healthiest drinking water is most likely found from your public water authority.

The local geology and hydrologic cycle will determine the minerals that leach into the water supply. In the midwest, the limestone adds calcium and magnesium. In the northwest, the granite and basalt add iron and manganese. This USDA Study shows regional mineral content of public and well water. (PDF File)

Natural mineral water has no known health risks only health benefits; however, minerals and metals that are found in water distribution systems should be considered. Obviously, lead found in older plumbing is not good. There is also evidence that iron can be detrimental to adult men. Many public and private water systems have used cast iron and other types of iron pipe. High concentrations of copper are often found in homes and water systems with copper pipes if the water has not been running. It is a good idea to flush your pipes by running the water for a minute before drinking or using water for cooking.

To obtain the highest degree of confidence, examine:
1) The source of the water
2) How the water gets to your home
3) What happens to the water inside your home

Young children, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, etc. are at the greatest risk from drinking softened water.

A list of essential minerals and elements in a healthy diet.

Think hard!
Drink hard!

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