Drinking Softened Water.
by Lisa Carter, RN, BSN, Cancer Coach – owner Carter’s My Plumber
Drinking Softened Water: What are the Health Effects of Drinking it? Water softeners remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water supply to your home by a local utility or from a well. The two major components of most water softeners are: a filtration unit that contains charcoal, resin beads and sand to remove contaminants, and a saltwater tank used to flush out the filtration unit and recharge it. There are pluses and minuses about a water softener and your health.
Improves Skin and Hair Condition
Hard water can make detergents less effective and thus, utilization is higher. The minerals present in hard water combine with soap, forming a residue known as soap curd or soap scum. This sticky substance can remain on the skin after a bath or shower.
As a result, it may be harder to remove dirt and bacteria. The soap curd may prevent skin from returning to its usual slightly acidic pH level, causing irritation. Residual soap and minerals in the hair can also accumulate and affect its health, rendering it dull and harder to groom.
Is it Safe to Ingest Softened Water?
Regular tap water contains very little sodium. The amount of sodium a water softener adds to tap water depends on the “hardness” of the water. Hard water contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium and most water-softening systems replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. The higher the concentration of calcium and magnesium, the more sodium needed to soften the water. Even so, the added sodium doesn’t add up to much.
An 8-ounce (237-milliliter) glass of softened water generally contains less than 12.5 milligrams of sodium, which is well within the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of “very low sodium.” Thus, it’s unlikely that sodium in softened water would pose a risk for most healthy people.
However, if an individual is on a very low-sodium diet and concerned about the amount of sodium in softened water, they may want to consider a water-purification system that uses potassium chloride instead. Another option is to soften only the hot water and use unsoften cold water for drinking and cooking.
In any case, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of sodium in an average person’s diet comes from table salt and processed foods.