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Author Topic: Is it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?  (Read 18607 times)

@agordinskiy

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@agordinskiy asked the Naked Scientists:
   
It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 27/09/2012 20:31:54 by chris »

CliffordK

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #1 on: 01/06/2011 22:32:14 »
As with anything, it would depend on the source of the water.

I've tasted distilled water, and haven't liked the taste of it.  Ozone is often added to the distilled water which is supposed to be flavorless.  I think what I'm tasting, however, is a "plastic" flavor.

Hmmm, I see that ozone is a common water treatment, and is considered safe although it does create free radicals.

The bottles that distilled water is sold in is the same as milk.

Water often contains minerals that are important in the diet, although they can be ingested through food and vitamin supplements.

Anyway, if you had your own still & purification system (glass lined?), then it should be perfectly safe to drink the distilled water.  I don't like the taste of commercially available distilled water perhaps due to leaching plastics, and thus would choose not to drink it.

Geezer

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/2011 00:28:53 »
If it's distilled water with no additives, it's not going to do you any more harm than any other water consumed in moderation. However, the absence of any of the minerals commonly found in drinking water will make it seem "flat" and rather unappetising.

Bill.D.Katt.

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #3 on: 02/06/2011 04:39:24 »
I agree, Distilled water should be fine. But bear in mind that if everything except the water was removed (all suspended and dissolved particles -deionized water), then the water itself would be very harsh. Drinking this would probably give you a dry throat due to the cleaning off of all the mucus and the osmotic rupture of the cells in your throat.

Geezer

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #4 on: 02/06/2011 05:06:20 »

But bear in mind that if everything except the water was removed (all suspended and dissolved particles -deionized water),


Isn't that what distillation does?

CliffordK

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/2011 05:48:04 »
I agree, Distilled water should be fine. But bear in mind that if everything except the water was removed (all suspended and dissolved particles -deionized water), then the water itself would be very harsh. Drinking this would probably give you a dry throat due to the cleaning off of all the mucus and the osmotic rupture of the cells in your throat.
There isn't that much osmotic pressure from the water.

I wouldn't encourage injecting pure distilled water IV without adding salts.  But, your mouth and throat can handle anything from pure water to saturated saltwater.  That is what the mucous membrane is designed to do.

Bill.D.Katt.

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #6 on: 02/06/2011 17:07:58 »
Distilled water from the store will have a higher ion concentration that what is usually used in labs as DI water. I've gotten DI water on my hands before, and they got quite dry as soon as the water was removed, so I'm just talking from personal experience here, and the knowledge that DI water more aggressive than standard water.

Bored chemist

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #7 on: 03/06/2011 05:58:41 »
Bill,
People are "designed" to deal with rain water which is very pure.
I have used DI water for washing and drinking without any effects.
How did you do the double blind trial that would let you say  you have "knowledge that DI water more aggressive"?

CZARCAR

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #8 on: 03/06/2011 14:16:34 »
i bought a mega water filter once [cheap!] & on it said 'not for drinking water' so i called the co. who said " drinking pure water will result in absorbing minerals & whatever from the body"...............made sense?

Bored chemist

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #9 on: 04/06/2011 00:50:08 »
No, it still doesn't make sense.
There is absolutely no mechanism by which drinking water of arbitrarily high purity will cause any harm.

CliffordK

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #10 on: 04/06/2011 06:47:54 »
Some "Energy Drinks" advertize the benefits of replenishing electrolytes. 

But, that would be a Water vs Gatorade argument.
Rather than Distilled vs Tap Water argument.

What would you buy the super-special water filter for if you aren't intending to drink the water?

Some warning labels don't make any sense.  I remember the MSDS for medical-grade sterile water suggested that after exposure to one's eyes, one should rinse one's eyes out with water.

Ahh, found a couple.

Product name(s) Sterile Water

4. FIRST AID MEASURES
IF INHALED: Remove victim to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing.
IF ON SKIN: Wash with plenty of soap and water.
IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.
IF SWALLOWED: Rinse mouth.

5. FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES
Suitable extinguishing media
Use water spray, alcohol-resistant foam, dry chemical or carbon dioxide.

Special protective equipment for firefighters
Wear self contained breathing apparatus for firefighting if necessary.

7. HANDLING AND STORAGE
Precautions for safe handling
Avoid breathing dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray.

Can someone please explain to me how to avoid "water dust"?

If water vapor is so harmful...  should I set up a supplied air system with a full face mask for my shower?

Ahh, found some MSDS sheets for Distilled Water (a bit more on topic).

Name: DISTILLED WATER PRS

4. FIRST AID.
Eye contact. If wearing contact lenses, remove them. Wash eyes with plenty of clean and cool water for at least 10 minutes while pulling eyelids up, and seek medical assistance.
Skin contact.  Remove contaminated clothing. Wash skin vigorously with water and soap or a suitable skin cleaner. NEVER use solvents or thinners.
Ingestion.  If accidentally ingested, seek immediate medical attention. Keep calm. NEVER induce vomiting.

5. FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES.
Recommended extinguishing methods.  Extinguisher powder or CO2. In case of more serious fires, also alcohol-resistant foam and water spray. Do not use a direct stream of water to extinguish.
Special risks. Fire can cause thick, black smoke. As a result of thermal decomposition, dangerous products can form: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide. Exposure to combustion or decomposition products can be harmful to your health.
Fire protection equipment.  According to the size of the fire, it may be necessary to use protective suits against the heat, individual breathing equipment, gloves, protective goggles or facemasks, and gloves.
Other recommendations.  Use water to cool tanks, cisterns, or containers close to the heat source or fire. Take wind direction into account.  Prevent the products used to fight the fire from going into drains, sewers, or waterways.

6. MEASURES TO TAKE IN CASE OF ACCIDENTAL SPILL.
Individual precautions.  Eliminate possible ignition points and ventilate the area. Avoid breathing fumes. For exposure control and individual protection measures, see section 8.
Cleaning methods.  Pick up the spill with non-combustible absorbent materials (soil, sand, vermiculite, diatomite, etc.). Pour the product and the absorbent in an appropriate container. The contaminated area should be immediately cleaned with an appropriate de-contaminator. Pour the decontaminator on the remains in an opened container and let it act various days until no further reaction is produced. For later elimination of waste, follow the recommendations under section 13.
Environmental protection precautions. Prevent the contamination of drains, surface or subterranean waters, and the ground. In case of large spills or if the product contaminates lakes, rivers, or sewers, inform the responsible authorities according to local legislation.

7.1 Handling.
The fumes are heavier than air and can spread across the ground. They can form explosive mixtures with air. Prevent the creation of flammable or explosive fume concentrations in the air; prevent fume concentrations above work exposure limits. The preparation must only be used in areas where all unprotected flames and other ignition points have been eliminated. Electrical equipment has to be protected according to applicable standards.

The preparation can be electrostatically charged: always use earth grounds when transferring the product. Operators must use anti-static footwear and clothing, and floors must be conductors.

Keep the container tightly closed and isolated from heat sources, sparks, and fire. Do not use tools that can cause sparks.

Prevent the preparation from contacting the skin or eyes. Avoid the inhalation of fumes and mists that form when spraying.

7.2 Storage.
Store according to local legislation. Observe indications on the label. Store the containers between 5 and 35o C, in a dry and well-ventilated place, far from sources of heat and direct solar light. Keep far away from ignition points. Keep away from oxidising agents and from highly acidic or alkaline materials. Do not smoke. Prevent the entry of non-authorised persons. Once the containers are open, they must be carefully closed and placed vertically to prevent spills.

8.2 Exposure controls
Measures of a technical nature: provide adequate ventilation, which can be achieved by using good local exhaust-ventilation and a good general exhaust system. If this were not enough to keep the particulate and fume concentrations of the solvent below the work exposure limit, suitable breathing equipment must be used.
Breathing protection: when workers are subjected to concentrations above the exposure limit, they must use suitable and officially approved equipment. Use active carbon masks.
Hand protection: for prolonged or repeated contact, use polyvinyl alcohol or nitrile rubber types of gloves. Protective creams can help to protect exposed areas of the skin. These creams must NEVER be applied once exposure has occurred.
Eye protection: use protective goggles especially designed to protect against liquid splatters. Install emergency eyewashes near the use area.
Skin protection: personnel must wear anti-static clothing made of natural fibre or synthetic fibres resistant to high temperatures. All body parts that have been in contact with the preparation must be washed.

12. ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION.There are no tested data available on the preparation. The product must not be allowed to go into sewers or waterways. Prevent penetration into the ground. Prevent the emission of solvents into the atmosphere.

13. ELIMINATION CONSIDERATIONS.  Dumping into sewers or waterways is prohibited.  Waste and empty containers must be handled and eliminated according to current, local/national legislation.

I hope the quote police don't ding me on the MSDS for Distilled Water.  It was just OVER THE TOP!!!   :D ;D ::) :o

I suppose I can relate to the warning of "Do Not Smoke", presumably in the vicinity of distilled water.  xx(

I always like the eyewash recommendations for getting water splashed in your eyes!!!!!!!! :o  Especially the idea of rinsing sterile water out of the eyes, presumably with non-sterile water.

CZARCAR

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #11 on: 04/06/2011 16:29:29 »
Fill a "proper" container with water & freeze until its 1/2 ice, drain the water & thaw the ice for drinking water. Whats left in the drinking water?

Geezer

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #12 on: 04/06/2011 18:52:13 »

I hope the quote police don't ding me on the MSDS for


Righty ho then sir. I'm citing you for excessive quotation in a school zone.

Geezer

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #13 on: 05/06/2011 04:14:01 »
Those sheets are magnificent. Behold the power of boilerplate! :D

JP

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #14 on: 05/06/2011 05:09:23 »
Quote
5. FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES.
Recommended extinguishing methods.  Extinguisher powder or CO2. In case of more serious fires, also alcohol-resistant foam and water spray. Do not use a direct stream of water to extinguish.

Yikes!  That distilled water sure sounds like a fire hazard!

Geezer

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #15 on: 05/06/2011 05:28:21 »
Perhaps they were drinking too much "water of life". http://www.whisky.com/history.html

Bored chemist

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #16 on: 05/06/2011 11:51:16 »
Quote
5. FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES.
 Do not use a direct stream of water to extinguish.


So you have to get the water to creep up sideways to the other water to put the fire out.
I suspect water might (just) burn in an atmosphere of fluorine.

CliffordK

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #17 on: 05/06/2011 19:03:31 »
So you have to get the water to creep up sideways to the other water to put the fire out.
I suspect water might (just) burn in an atmosphere of fluorine.
Metallic Sodium will cause water to burn.  I don't know about halogens.  I don't believe chlorine gas is explosive around water.  Ahhh...  I see fluorine may also burn in water.

I have to believe these MSDS sheets are "real", and were not intended to be a joke.  The company probably used a stock template to create them which caused a lot of irrelevant gibberish to be added, and would cause one to wonder about the accuracy of other MSDS sheets that they publish.

The actual containers (assuming plastic) might burn if drained of their contents, and water is highly reactive in a few limited cases as with Sodium metal and Fluorine gas.  But, if this is the case, then it should be specifically mentioned. 

Splashing it in the eyes should not be a problem as long as there aren't other contaminants.

Heavier/Lighter than air is complicated as H2O has a molecular weight of 18, N2 of 28, and O2 of 32.  So, pure water vapor is actually lighter than air and will tend to rise.  However, it does tend to condense in some situations at room temperature.  And, thus the droplets can create a low lying mist.  However, other than the risk of thermal burns from steam, and perhaps disorientation, I don't believe it is possible to suffocate from fog.

Nyxius

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #18 on: 21/06/2011 16:57:38 »
No, it still doesn't make sense.
There is absolutely no mechanism by which drinking water of arbitrarily high purity will cause any harm.
 
Actually this is not true.  There is a well documented medical condition called hypotremonia.  Your blood has the same salt content as your cells typically.  When you don't consume enough salt with your water, it results in an imbalance.  The higher level of salt in the cytoplasm induces osmosis, and causes cells to swell with extra water.  In the case of brain cells, there is no way to relieve the increasing pressure.  This leads in turn to catastrophic organ failure, unless highly invasive surgery is underwent immediately.  If you want to know more then look it up on Wikipedia.  There are several people who die from this condition every year in the US.

Water Overdose....  crazy world...

Geezer

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It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #19 on: 21/06/2011 22:43:23 »
No, it still doesn't make sense.
There is absolutely no mechanism by which drinking water of arbitrarily high purity will cause any harm.
 
Actually this is not true.  There is a well documented medical condition called hypotremonia.  Your blood has the same salt content as your cells typically.  When you don't consume enough salt with your water, it results in an imbalance.  The higher level of salt in the cytoplasm induces osmosis, and causes cells to swell with extra water.  In the case of brain cells, there is no way to relieve the increasing pressure.  This leads in turn to catastrophic organ failure, unless highly invasive surgery is underwent immediately.  If you want to know more then look it up on Wikipedia.  There are several people who die from this condition every year in the US.

Water Overdose....  crazy world...

Yes, but we don't get much salt from normal drinking water either, so distilled water is no more dangerous.

thedoc

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Is drinking distilled water bad for you?
« Reply #20 on: 24/09/2012 17:30:01 »
doughoover asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I googled distilled water and found a comment made by a Dr. Joseph Mercola, "Early Death Comes From Drinking Distilled Water"

Is that true? What would happen to someone who drank a gallon of distilled water every day for 40 years? or what would happen to someone who fasted for 40 days on just distilled water?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 24/09/2012 17:30:01 by _system »

CliffordK

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Re: It it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #21 on: 27/09/2012 01:56:10 »
This was discussed about a year ago (see above). 

The conclusion by most contributors was that there was nothing wrong with drinking distilled water.  One does need some salts (NaCl, KCl, and others) in one's diet, but, most of it would come from the food one consumes.

One can in fact buy home water distillation machines, and I've talked to someone who uses one regularly, and is still living.

evan_au

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Re: Is it potentially harmful to drink distilled water?
« Reply #22 on: 09/10/2012 09:47:27 »
In truly excessive quantities, you could drown in it...

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Re: Is drinking distilled water bad for you?
« Reply #23 on: 13/12/2012 17:34:53 »
   
 or what would happen to someone who fasted for 40 days on just distilled water?

You would die of starvation.  :)

 

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