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WAE | Logo
16 Nov
Water Quality
By WAE on "Water Quality"

Scientific Facts behind TDS in Drinking Water

According to WHO report on Drinking water standards, NO health-based guideline value is proposed for TDS in Drinking Water which essentially means that human body can ingest any amount of TDS in water without any health impact.

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Why everyone is seems to be so worked-up about TDS level in Drinking Water? Let’s first understand What Safe Drinking Water is. According to WHO, Safe drinking-water is the water which does not present any significant risk to health over a lifetime of consumption, including different sensitivities that may occur between life stages. Now, why does TDS matter so much in drinking water?

To start with, TDS is a measure of Total Dissolved Solids in Water that comprises inorganic salts, principally calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides and sulfates, and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. TDS in drinking-water originates from natural sources, sewage, urban runoff, and industrial wastewater. Concentrations of TDS in water vary considerably in different geological regions owing to differences in the solubility of minerals.

There are two commonly held beliefs that need to be challenged with the scientific basis behind TDS in drinking water.

Myth 1: Low TDS in water leads to the mineral deficiency in the body.

Minerals are inorganic substances found in the earth as opposed to organic substances such as plant and animal matter.Not all minerals are necessarily good for you like lead, arsenic, antimony, aluminum, barium.The human anatomy enables absorption of minerals from organic sources very well. Inorganic sources of minerals such as water are inefficient because of less absorption. Most minerals in water are not assimilable by the body because minerals must be in an organic form, that is, processed through living plants to be usable by the body.

Another fact is, the minerals in the Natural Waters are inactive and insufficient. They do not contain enzymes, the essence of life. Only 1% of the total mineral content of the water is organic and hence you need to drink a bathtub full of water to get the minerals that the body requires. Therefore, we drink water ONLY for hydration and eat food for nutrients. And thus, even if the TDS of ingested water is nil, it does not lead to the mineral deficiency in the body.

Myth 2: high TDS in water leads to the harmful impact on health.

According to WHO report on Drinking water standards, NO health-based guideline value is proposed for TDS in Drinking Water which essentially means that human body can ingest any amount of TDS in water without any health impact. Now the question is Why high TDS is considered bad in Drinking Water?

The simple reason is the palatability or taste! Yes, you heard it right. High levels of TDS in drinking-water may have a certain objectionable taste because of salts. The palatability of water with a TDS level of less than 600 mg/liter is generally considered to be good; drinking-water becomes significantly unpalatable at TDS levels greater than 1200 mg/liter. Also, TDS may be high because of certain chemicals which are harmful and hence purification is required to eradicate them. However, this is not a concern in naturally available water. Thus, we can drink water of any TDS level if it is devoid of harmful pathogens, chemical, and other unacceptable impurities.Hence high TDS does not lead to any health problem. The presence of high levels of TDS may also be objectionable because of excessive scaling in water pipes, heaters, boilers, and household appliances.

Alternatively, water with extremely low concentrations of TDS may also be unacceptable because of its flat, insipid taste.Most purification techniques such as filtration, membrane processing or sedimentation aim to eliminate the impurities that form high TDS. Water is treated or purified to maintain palatability as well as purity in terms of microbial and chemical composition. It has nothing to do with TDS or mineral content. Purifiers in the market with TDS modulator or a Mineral Booster are just for marketing promotion for naïve customers and do not have any rationale behind it.

To know more about TDS in drinking water, go through the following research published by WHO.WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality -2008




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