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The Truth About Reverse Osmosis -
Is it Safe to Drink the Water?


Facts on Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration

By Josienita Borlongan, eHow Contributor

Water Contaminants and Pollutants

Water may contain essential minerals and nutrients for the body; however, it also contains microscopic organisms and other environmental contaminants. Cryptosporidium, a parasite passed through feces, and giardia, a parasite that causes diarrhea, exist on the surface of water sources, such as lakes and streams, and can attack the immune system. They resist chlorine-based disinfectants and survive for a long period outside of the body. Pyrogen, a substance from dead bacteria that causes fever, also exists in water and so do other microbes that can cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramp and headache. In addition, contaminated water may contain amoeba, nuclear contaminants, chemicals used for pest control, mercury and other sodium-based salts.

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis drives away water radicals using osmotic pressure to remove contaminants and pollutants from water. Originally used to process and filter water in submarines, reverse osmosis comes highly recommended by the American National Standard Institute, ANSI, for home-based water treatment. It uses a semi-permeable membrane to pressurize tap water combined with a concentrated solution to separate pure water from several kinds of pollutants and contaminants. Once the process of reverse osmosis is complete, the result is clean water, free of radicals and other foreign materials.

The Benefits of Reverse Osmosis

According to ANSI, filters that use reverse osmosis effectively purify water. Reverse osmosis also washes out microorganisms, such as cryptosporidium, and eliminates chlorine and chlorine dioxide from drinking water. According to Dr. Schoen of Hygiene-Institut, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Germany, even with the popularity chlorine for disinfection of drinking water worldwide, it does not prevent water-mediated disease outbreaks from happening. In addition, chlorine can increase the body's susceptibility to bladder and rectal cancer, skin allergies, asthma and sinusitis. There's also a link between chlorine dioxide and nervous system defects in young children, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to Independent Cancer Research Foundation, in some cases too much chlorine in water can harm the fetus of a pregnant woman and, in extreme cases, may even cause deaths among infants. Using reverse osmosis can eliminate and prevent the harmful effects of microorganisms and chlorine.

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