Reverse Osmosis is loved and hated in almost equal measure. One reason given by the opponents of RO is that it has been banned in Europe and other countries. Such bans would obviously be a red flag.
Is RO banned in some countries?
The only place where RO has been banned is New Delhi where the National Green Tribunal of India observed that RO systems weren’t needed since the TDS of water in New Delhi is less than 500. There is still litigation around this ruling though. Other than that, there is no evidence of RO being banned in any country.
Why would RO be banned?
Even though RO is very effective in purifying water, it is often frowned upon because of the following reasons:
- Water wastage
Reverse osmosis systems produce a lot of wastewater. It will probably take more than a gallon of water to produce clean water via an RO filter. So, it might be true that RO systems waste a lot of water. However, it’s more of a perspective issue. For instance, when you take a shower, you waste 100% of the water. The same can be said of running the dishwasher and many other domestic usages. Also, the waster water from an RO system can be recycled. Even though it will have a higher TDS, it will be relatively clean due to its passage in the RO filters and also because no additional chemicals were used in the purification process. You can therefore channel the water to a separate tank for recycling.
Some RO systems are quite efficient and do not waste more than 50% of the water. When purchasing an RO system, do your homework to ensure you buy a system that is modern and efficient and that will help you to cut down on unnecessary wastage. Another tip for reducing water wastage is to change the RO membranes regularly. Check the usage instructions and strictly observer the recommended shelf life of the membrane. An old filter will not lead to more water wastage but it is also less effective in purifying water.
- Demineralization of water
There is often a misconception that RO filters demineralize water. While it’s true that RO systems remove some minerals from water, they do not remove all of them. Demineralized water is usually made via ion exchange. This is where water is passed through ion-exchange resins (a cation and an anion) which attract all the negative and positive ions from the water. The idea is to trap the minerals that are dissolved in water and can therefore not be filtered out by RO filters. Another popular way of demineralizing water is distillation. This is where water is brought to a boil and then the steam is trapped and cooled down to end up with pure demineralized water.
Demineralized water has lots of useful applications. For instance, it is used in automotive cooling systems and car batteries. The demineralized water is perfect for such applications because it doesn’t have minerals that can build up on surfaces and cause blockages. Demineralized water is however not good for drinking. The WHO warns of serious health complications that are directly linked to demineralized water. These include some types of cancer, pregnancy disorders (preeclampsia), motor neuronal disease, and sudden death in infants. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of drinking RO filtered water because it doesn’t remove the dissolved minerals in the water. The only way to remove all these minerals would be through ion exchange or distillation.
- Cost implications
Another concern for RO systems is the cost implications. if you are connected to a public water system, your tap water is probably good enough for drinking. This makes it hard to justify installing an RO system. Besides, if you don’t trust your tapped water, you can also get bottled water inexpensively. But as safe as tapped water might be, there is always the chance of led contamination from the plumbing. Also, buying bottled water might be cheaper in the short term but it is a more expensive option in the long run. Not only will installing a RO system save you the money you would have spent on bottled water but it can also increase the value of your home. In some instances, the RO system can also be tax-deductible hence saving lots of money.
- Water pH
The acidity of RO water is another reason why it’s frowned upon in some quarters. RO-filtered water is indeed more acidic than unfiltered water. The filtered water will typically have a pH of 6.0-6.5. But that is not a biggie because most of the fluids we drink have even lower pH levels. For instance, fruit juices, tea, coffee, and carbonated drinks are all more acidic than RO-filtered water. So even though it is true that filtered water is more acidic than unfiltered water, it is completely safe for consumption. In fact, according to the EPA standards, any water with a pH of 6.5-8.5 is safe for drinking.
There are widespread claims that RO filtered water has been banned in Europe and other foreign countries but these are just rumors. A quick search on google will reveal that there is no evidence to substantiate the claims. We have debunked most of the myths that make people think RO water is unsafe so do not be afraid of filtering your water using a reverse osmosis system. And here is an article that will help you to choose the best.