What Are the Dangers of Drinking ‘Raw Water’?

Summary: The raw water trend in California is all the rage—but it’s also dangerous.

Do you long for the good old days? When times were simpler, the pace was slower. You know, the days before water was treated to eliminate deadly diseases like E.coli and cholera? Well then, Silicon Valley has the trend for you: raw water.

Raw water is unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water that will set you back upwards of $37 a jug. That is, if you can find it. It’s in such high demand in the Silicon Valley area that it’s often out of stock.

“It has a vaguely mild sweetness, a nice smooth mouth feel, nothing that overwhelms the flavor profile,” said Kevin Freeman, a shift manager at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco’s Mission District, which stocks Live Water’s raw water.

Mukhande Singh (formerly Christopher Sandborn) is the founder of Live Water, which sells raw water in artistic glass globes.

Singh is a long-haired, posture-perfect guru-type who said that “real water” should expire after a few months. “It’s most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” said Singh. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all the water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.”

Singh described tap water as “toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” along with healthy doses of chloramine and fluoride. “Call me a conspiracy theorist,” said conspiracy-theorist Singh, “but it’s a mind control drug that has no benefit to dental health.” (No evidence has been found that fluoride is a mind-control drug. The American Dental Association, along with numerous scientists, are convinced that fluoride prevents tooth decay based on decades of scientific studies.)

While adherents are lining up to buy into the raw water trend, scientists are calling it dangerous.

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