This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Durga Punyamurthula. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Your RO Purifier Might Actually Be Harmful For Your Health!

More from Durga Punyamurthula

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 health.you have shared about these problems.
    such a great article.im expect for your next article with this great manner.https://www.demoport.in/home-products-services/water-purifiers-ro

  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 @https://www.livpure.in/water-purifier/ro-purifier

  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.

More from Durga Punyamurthula

Similar Posts

By Pushpendra Singh

By YLAC India

By Avinash Tavares

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below