The newest Silicon Valley fad is raw water. Some people are moving away from bottled water and drinking untreated, natural spring water. Live Water, the company that sells this water for $16/bottle, claims that the water is “free of industrial toxins and rich in healthy microbes because it is not processed” (i.e. filled with minerals and probiotics not found in treated water).
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a warning for that very same reason. This untreated, “pure” water could still contain bacteria, viruses, parasites and other contaminants. They list salmonella, rotovirus, norovirus and giardia as possible illnesses people could contract.
In light of this seemingly hazardous trend, we asked doctors if they would ever recommend raw water to a patient. Unsurprisingly, many doctors indicated that drinking raw water is a quick way to contract an illness:
“$16/bottle!?! There are cheaper ways to get gastroenteritis. On the other hand, I suppose there are more expensive ways to get gastroenteritis too – cruise ship anybody?” – General Practice
“This fad would be a big nothing… but using buzzwords like ‘raw’ makes some folks take leave of their senses.” – Radiology
“I had the misfortune of acquiring Giardia from raw water.” – Pathology
“The raw water fad will pass. Still, many people will still drink raw water as they’ve always done before and after the media and culture spotlight fades.” – Neurology
“Protozoans, viruses, bacteria. It hasn’t killed my dog yet. On the other hand, this is the same population that will be in your office on a daily basis to cure their chronic GI illness after they get Giardia.” – Internal Medicine
“Really stupid. Like my water sans bacteria and fluoridated.” – Internal Medicine
“Quality control is often an essential issue to protect the general public. Something like raw water seems to me like a ‘cheap’ marketing trick.” – Internal Medicine
“Drinking raw water is dangerous. Many natural but unhealthy organisms are in that water.” – Pediatrics
“I wouldn’t pay for drinking illness.” – ORL/ENT
“Raw water has a high rate of contamination so better to avoid it. In certain regions if it is a flowing water like a spring and no other water is available to drink then you might want to satisfy your thirst. Normally filtered water is more appropriate.” – Hematology
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