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Your RO Purifier Might Actually Be Harmful For Your Health!

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By P.V. Durga:

Popular media is filled with advertisements about the importance of drinking clean water in order to ensure good health. Have you been influenced by one of those ads and installed an RO (Reverse Osmosis) purifier at home? Or are you planning to install one? You probably need to think twice about your decision, because while you are drinking hygienic water, you might be causing more harm to public health at large.

RO purifier 28.5.15

True to their names, RO filters and purifiers function on the principle of reverse osmosis. Simply put, pressure is exerted on the water containing high concentration of impurities, and it is passed through filters to extract “pure” water. The process came as a breakthrough in the 1950s when people were on the lookout for methods to desalinate ocean water. Reverse osmosis is used not only in the purifiers at home, but also in industries, specifically the bottled water industry, both in India and abroad.

The problem begins with the disposal of the “stuff” that has been separated from the purified water. Reports state that the impure water is discarded back into the ground and aquifers. But why is it such a big deal when it seems like we are merely sending back the water that was not useful?

The answer is, the “waste water” contains higher concentration of harmful substances, which in turn poses a serious health threat to the population, including animals that are dependent on groundwater. Also, the RO process is said to cause a lot of wastage of water, both at the industrial, as well as household levels.

However, Dr. R. Suryanarayana Rao, a Deputy Civil Surgeon at ESI Hospital in Vishakhapatnam believes otherwise. He said that the problem, in reality, is with the “wastage” of the excess water, caused by faulty disposal through drains. Dr. Rao said that the unwanted water could be put to other uses, such as watering plants, when handled properly. He stated that if the water containing wastes is exploited through alternate use, it may not snowball into a health concern. He strongly recommends RO purification over boiling because it ensures that salts and other unwanted components are removed from the water.

However, it is important to remember that the true success of any scientific innovation is when it benefits everybody equally. In this regard, while RO purification is a major breakthrough in the provision of potable water, but the fact that it benefits some while causing harm to others who are dependent solely on groundwater calls for some introspection. It is high time we adopted long term perspectives even for seemingly simple inventions, rather than using science as a quick-fix solution for our daily hassles. The glitch with disposal can best be described as the “last mile problem“, which must be tackled at the earliest, lest we end up causing more harm than good.

You must be to comment.
  1. Thanks for the preaching

    Do you see the tone of your article – I bet you’re drinking RO water at your home right now. Start drinking water from a bore-well in larger interest. You cannot make people change what they do by guilting them into it.

    Good information, pathetic writing and overall tone of the article,.

    1. D

      We don’t use an RO purifier at home. The aim of the article was to provide information, and not make people feel guilty, which is why I brought in perspectives from people who strongly believe that RO purification is not a problem.

      A seemingly simple innovation has effects which we have not fathomed. As I said, we need to tackle the “last mile problem”. I didn’t mean to “preach” people out of it, though.

      Thanks for the feedback; will try to improve! 🙂

  2. Abirami

    Hai have a nice day,
    commonly Ro water purifier maybe littlebit affect our have shared about these problems.
    such a great expect for your next article with this great manner.

  3. Paloma Achlen

    Hello!! I too agree with your point, RO water may sometime be harmful for our health. Thanks for sharing the pot.

    1. Trisha Basu

      Ro water purifiers are not harmful as they balance the salts and minerals present in the water. They kill and remove the germs and bacteria present in water and also remove the excess salts and minerals making them safe and healthy for drinking. Browse the Livpure RO water purifiers where their technical details are mentioned @

  4. RajKumar

    The above post is very informative and true also. But now time the water purifiers have the technology for the remineralize the water. Like the Blue Mount Alkaline RO + UV/UF Water Purifier and many more purifiers are also there. So that nowdays not much danger in the water purifiers.

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