Are there any advantages or disadvantages to drinking hard or soft water ?

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Historically, water was hardened to raise the pH to reduce the leaching of lead from lead pipes, which could cause lead poisoning.

    The advantage of drinking hard water is that it will supply calcium in the form of calcium carbonate (chalk), which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In order to be able to absorb it, however, you will need to have a good supply of natural vitamin D in your diet. Calcium carbonate is also poorly absorbed compared to dietary calcium that is found in, for instance, dairy products and nuts.

    The disadvantage of hard water is that it tends to clog up your kettle and your washing machine, and it has (in my opinion) a sour taste. It also leaves a scum around the cup when you make tea, and gives tea an off taste.

    Hard water also tends to be treated with chlorine, which is used to kill off harmful pathogens such as typhoid and cholera.

    Chlorine also kills off the friendly bacteria in your gut, which are essential for good health, so if your local mains water is chlorinated it is recommended that you use a water filter containing activated carbon to remove the chlorine.

    Fluoride is sometimes added to public water supplies as a cheap way of disposing of poisonous fluoride emissions from the aluminium and fertiliser industries.

    Even moderate levels of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, where the calcium structure in tooth enamel is affected by fluorine, causing a mottled, glowing effect. Contrary to protecting teeth, the porosity of the sub-surface enamel is increased by fluoride, leading to more cavities in adulthood.

    Fluoride has been promoted for reducing cavities, as statistically there are less visible cavities in children in areas with fluoridated water. However, fluoride only reduces the visible appearance of cavities and over time the decay continues inside the tooth, due to the increased porosity of the sub-surface enamel. When the cavity is finally visible, much more extensive work is needed requiring an unnecessarily disproportionate use of filling material (and if amalgam is used, unnecessary exposure to mercury).

    Also, a linear correlation between the Dean index of dental fluorosis and the frequency of bone fractures is observed among both children and adults.

    (Alarcon-Herrera MT, et al. (2001). Well Water Fluoride, Dental fluorosis, Bone Fractures in the Guadiana Valley of Mexico. Fluoride 34(2): 139-149.)

    Fluoride is actually poisonous (as is chlorine), and one tube of fluoridated children's toothpaste contains enough fluoride to kill a child.

    Too much fluoride can cause osteosarcoma (a very rare bone cancer), reduced intelligence in children, and impaired thyroid function.

    Fluoride exposure has been blamed for Crohn's disease, IBS, joint pain and other auto-immune disorders, and kidney and liver damage.

    Fluoride at levels as low as 1 part per million (ppm) has been shown to affect the ameloblasts responsible for secreting enamel in teeth.

    Studies have also shown that fluoride can disrupt the function of the pineal gland - "a small gland located between the two hemispheres of the brain that regulates the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the onset of puberty and helps protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals.It is now known - thanks to the meticulous research of Dr. Jennifer Luke from the University of Surrey in England - that the pineal gland is the primary target of fluoride accumulation within the body."

    Therefore, if your local water supply is fluoridated, you should filter it before drinking, and you should change the filter regularly. You should also campaign to stop it being added at the source.

    On the other hand, soft water (and filtered water), does not clog up your kettle or washing machine, and it doesn't make a scum on your tea.

    However, soft water can still contain chlorine and fluoride and it is still recommended that you filter it to remove these poisons.

  • 3 years ago

    Water Softener Advantages And Disadvantages

  • 4 years ago

    In the end if you look at nature, most water supplies for those hiking and living in the forest are soft water like the rain, water from the ground is generally hard water with minerals. Salt is from the ocean and upon meeting rivers becomes brackish and eventually back to fresh and soft water. So all water has value, we need it but it must be clean and like all things variety is good for good health. This is just good natural sense. Did you know walking along the water in your bare feet also has its nutritional values? Just make sure you do it legally and in healthy waters if you can find them.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't think it's the water specifically that could make you ill.

    Very soft water can corrode the metal pipes in which it is carried and as a result the water may contain elevated levels of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc which can be harmful to your health.

    Also, some confusion may arise after a first experience with soft water. Hard water does not lather well with soap and leaves a "less than clean" feeling. Soft water lathers better than hard water but leaves a "slippery feeling" on the skin after use with soap. For example, a certain water softener manufacturer contests that the "slippery feeling" after showering in soft water is due to "cleaner skin" and the absence of "friction-causing" soap scum.

    However, the chemical explanation is that softened water, due to its sodium content, has a much reduced ability to combine with the soap film on your body and therefore, it is much more difficult to rinse off. Solutions are to use less soap or a synthetic liquid body wash.

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  • cunny
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Hard water is high in mineral salts so will usually be very beneficial to the health - hard water is also often better tasting - not so good for boilers or washing though.

  • 1 decade ago

    Interesting question. I know the reason people put water softener in their filters is to lessen the damage that water will do to the pipes in their house... personally I would stick to bottled water.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are lots of great answers, but your question relates to DRINKING water, so hard water is actually better because it contains calcium, and as we know, calcium builds bones and teeth.

  • Jed
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Soft is better. Cleanses from the inside out.

  • salem
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    but in the end water is water and water is good for you no matter what

  • 1 decade ago

    soft water has more nutrients and minerals and is easier on your stomach

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