We live in strange times. Mistrust of institutions and governments continues to rear its head in ever more bizarre places.
Now we may have reached peak-absurdity with the spate of water-themed fads that have sprung up in recent years.
‘Raw water’ is exactly what it sounds like: “unfiltered, untreated, and unsterilized”, according to Live Spring Water, and it’s gaining popularity across North America.
Products like this have a certain ‘off-the-grid’ appeal to buyers, because they skip contamination from the government bogeyman at the water treatment plant. But let’s be clear: untreated water can contain many, many things that can harm or even kill you.
Dysentery, typhoid, cholera and all of their friends can be found in unfiltered water. Hikers will tell you all about ‘Beaver Fever’, which comes from water contaminated by animal feces, and causes diarrhea.
Off-the-grid but still middle class
For anyone still unsure, alarm bells should ring when you consider the price and New Age marketing language behind it.
“The earth constantly offers the purest substance on the planet as spring water. We celebrate this ancient life source that humanity flourished from, since the beginning of our existence,” according to the Live Spring Water site. For just $61 USD, you’ll get 2.5 gallons of the stuff.
Check out this promo:
Tim Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law & Policy, lambasted such companies for profiteering off conspiracy theories about fluoride and mineral removal by the government.
“It’s almost obscene that this has become a fad,” said Caulfield on CBC Radio back in January. “They are paying a lot of money for what’s basically dirty water.”
If Tim’s background is too suspect, look no further than the World Health Organization’s horrifying facts about raw water the world over.
High-alkaline, super-electrolyte, Ph-balancing snake oil
Raw water might be the peak, but it comes off the back of other ‘designer water’ products aimed at capitalizing on a misinformed section of the public.
Blk Water tastes like normal water, but it’s black as coal because of ‘fulvic minerals’ formed 80 million years ago deep in the Earth and extracted for this concoction.
Let’s ask a geologist about that.
As a geologist, I can say, beyond a doubt, that there is no such thing as a fulvic mineral https://t.co/VrrHgcZ2l4
— Elizabeth V (@geolizzy) 28 November 2017
Fulvic acid, on the other hand, is a real substance that can be found in soil and sediment via bio-degradation. As you may have guessed, in no way is it a necessary part of a human diet.
Of course, the market is similar to that of ‘raw water’ – $4 USD per 500 mL bottle.
Alternative water fads are able to take off because of scientific illiteracy and the aforementioned culture of mistrust, but the irony is that buyers are being duped on a whole other level.
Blk Water and other ‘organic’ sources may be silly, expensive fads that are likely harmless, but it should be understood that raw water is unscientific to the point of danger.