Mineral, Treated and Bottled Water: Knowing the Differences

Photo: Fabio Lima
Not all bottled waters are mineral; Mainly added salt, of lesser quality

Water is the source of life, however, it can also be a source of disease and can even lead to death. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to know the properties of water that can benefit or harm our health.

New chemical and biological compounds appear every day and therefore we must always be aware of their impact on human health. For this, we need science and technology to continue living and improve our quality of life”, explains Jose Cabello Neto, professor at the Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) and coordinator of the Water Quality Laboratory (Salaga).

According to the specialist, when studying or researching the water we consume, it is possible to understand how our activities affect the quality of the product, as well as to understand the path taken by the water until it that it reaches the consumer, being drinkable, at an acceptable cost and with a lower environmental impact. many diseases [causadas por água contaminada] It is easily preventable but can cause serious health damage, especially to children and the elderly,” he says.

“Life on Earth depends on water. The earth is made of water and living things depend on it to live. Ecosystems depend on it. We humans are more dependent than most earthly organisms. Our economy depends on the availability of water: it suffices to note that areas with more than abundant water have a higher level or potential for development,” he adds.

What is the difference between mineral water and natural water?

Resolution Anvisa – RDC 173 of 13/11/2006 describes the main differences between mineral and natural waters. The mineral is obtained directly from natural sources or by extracting groundwater. According to the standard, “it is distinguished by the specific and constant content of certain mineral salts, trace elements and other components which take into account natural fluctuations”. Specialist Jose Cabello Neto points out that there is no purification of mineral water, it must be drinkable and safe at the source.

On the other hand, natural water comes from natural sources or by extraction from underground water, and is characterized by “the specific and constant content of certain mineral salts, trace elements and other components, at levels below the minimum specified for natural mineral water”. According to the DRC, the content of the ingredients may have normal fluctuations.

“Consequently, mineral and natural waters do not contain added salts, and the main difference may be, for example, the higher amount of salts in mineral water, or the water temperature at the source, which is higher than 25°C in mineral water. Mineral water has its chemical composition, physico-chemical or physico-chemical properties different from natural water,” explains the Selaqua coordinator.

Bottled water and treated water: which is better?

Salt water, most bottled water sold, is water that undergoes a treatment process (reverse osmosis) where salts are then added in an attempt to simulate mineral water. This is explained by Professor Jose Cabello Neto.

The treated water is natural water (dam, river, lake or groundwater) that has undergone several treatments. These processes can be more complex (conventional treatment) or simpler (filtration).

According to Jose Cabello Neto, one of the most important points in water treatment is the addition of chlorine, a substance that ensures the safety of water against pathogenic microorganisms, that is, microbes that cause disease.

The expert affirms that the best water for human consumption is water that meets the requirements of Order No. 888/21 issued by the Ministry of Health. This determination establishes a standard of water that does not pose a risk to human health because this water is potable.

According to the Ceará Water and Sewage Company (Cagece), the product that comes out of the Ceará faucet meets all the requirements of the ordinance. “On average, 36,347 water tests are performed per month at the company’s quality control labs, including raw, treated and distributed water samples,” the agency said in a statement.

Tap water and the myth of pollution

Until the water reaches the consumer’s home, it goes through a rigorous process of treatment and quality control. Many professionals are mobilized (chemists, biologists, engineers from various fields, etc.). It first undergoes coagulation, then a process of pre-oxidation, direct filtration, fluorination and chlorination. “Sufficient operations to fetch water [dos reservatórios] According to the potability standards required by the Ministry of Health and safe for consumption,” explains Jose Cabello Neto.

According to Cagece, the pipes used to deliver water to customers’ homes are mostly made of an inert material, meaning that the probability of interaction between this material and water is very low. The type of material used in the manufacture of the pipes has a long durability.

To carry out the necessary maintenance, the network in question is isolated and released after service, without compromising the rest of the network. According to the company, the concern that pipes are interfering with water quality is caused by a lack of knowledge of the treatment process and the distribution of treated water.

“Cagece’s water from the tap can be consumed as normal, requiring only maintenance of the water boxes and pipes in the property by the customer, with a minimum of six months. Cagece guarantees the life of the water delivered to the property’s water meter, through a rigorous and approved treatment process,” as one note points out.

Tips for identifying unsafe water and the dangers of drinking it

Not paying attention to the source and path of water until it reaches our hands is very dangerous, so you need to be careful. Jose Cabello Neto highlights some of the signs people can spot when in doubt about the quality and origin of water:

1. Know the source of the water and whether it has been treated or if it is natural. If it is natural surface water (dams, ponds or rivers), avoid consuming it. if it is natural and ground water, it is better to add a little chlorine to it in the recommended proportions;

2. In the case of treated water, certain indicators can be used to get an initial idea of ​​its quality. First, turbidity and color, that is, whether the water is cloudy or colored. Then the smell and the taste. Only the taste and smell of chlorine are allowed in the water, it is used to disinfect the water;

3. If tap water does not contain chlorine, or if it is not noticeable, be careful even in the shower.

Diseases of polluted water:

Diarrhea due to Escherichia coli;
– amoebiasis
– cholera
– Bacterial dysentery.
– Hepatitis A;
Typhoid fever.

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