Rain water and spring water is naturally purified, but when people say "purified water" it generally refers to a human led process of taking water contaminated by human activity and transforming it to a more desirable or safe state. water drops © by fox_kiyo

These days there are so many different waters; tap, spring, mineral, distilled, even greywater. What, then is purified water? In general terms, purified water means the water has gone through a process to make it potable, or safe to drink. It is an over-arching category that indicates there was a human hand in making unfit water, more purified and better or safer to drink. There are several ways to achieve purified water via means of removing chemicals and bacteria. In Western societies where water is plentiful, purified water usually means water that has been filtered to remove chemicals. In other parts of the world, purified water is a term that relates to a more basic state- water that has been boiled and removed of dangerous pathogens. Chemicals and other debris still may be present.

Water filters are sold widely in the U.S., in fact it is big business making tap water taste better. In reality, tap water is supposedly “purified” by US government standards, however recent independent research has suggested there are many synthetic chemical compounds found within tap water across the country that are unfit for regular human consumption. This does not make tap water immediately dangerous, but what about the long term impacts? There is legitimate concern about the fact that humans are drinking water with unnatural elements- what does this mean to our health? Non-organic food, full of pesticides also falls into this category, whereas such synthetics don’t kill us, but they are not supporting humans’ ideal health.

Aside from a table top filter, distilling water is another means to achieve purified water. Distillation is a process of boiling water and collecting the steam. The steam eventually returns to a liquid state and the result is water- purified of many chemicals and impurities simply because those elements could not turn into steam. Other methods of purifiying water are reverse osmosis, deionizing, and of course boiling.

Man-made methods of purified water have its setbacks however. The trace minerals found naturally in water will be filtered out. For health purposes it is encouraged to not to solely drink distilled water, but instead consume other forms of water with minerals intact. Purified water, depending on the form, tends to limit valuable minerals that are even found in the tap, such as calcium and fluoride- an additive. (The benefits of fluoride in water are subject for debate).

What is true is that when given a choice between the unknown state of water, such as in an emergency situation where tap water may have been contaminated by a broken sewer pipe- purified water is the safer choice.