Diet and Exercise

Companies Are Selling 'Raw Water,' But Should You Drink It?

Raw water is untreated, unfiltered natural spring water.

Companies Are Selling 'Raw Water,' But Should You Drink It?
ExplorerBob/ CC0

There's a new Silicon Valley-backed health craze popping up in some parts of the country: drinking unfiltered, untreated "raw water." Some stores are bottling natural spring water and selling it for as much as $60 a pop. But is it safe?

Proponents of the raw water movement claim typical drinking water has the same bacteria and minerals you'd find in nature but also the chemicals and chlorine used to treat it. They also point out the risk of contaminants in municipal water — like lead from corrosive pipes.

But experts say raw water could contain dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites that could make you seriously sick.

Flint town hall meeting.

Flint Could Soon Lose Its State-Supplied Bottled Water Program

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said she hopes state officials consult with medical and public health professionals before a decision is made.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argues even basic water treatment methods and filtration can help stave off dangerous contaminants and that the chemicals used to treat the water are safe for consumption.

And even though treated municipal water can still become contaminated — as was the case in Flint, Michigan — it's probably better to be safe than sorry.