In this time of heightened concern over infectious diseases caused by viruses, it is important that you understand what the term “bio-secure” means when applied to water, as some water is bio-secure and other types of water may not be bio-secure.
In its simplest form, “Bio-Secure” means “secure from biological contamination” (Wiktionary).
Water can host many contaminants. Seawater for example has a very salty taste due to the high level of salts that are dissolved in the liquid water. This is obvious through the taste of the water. Contaminants in water fall into several groups: particulate, organic, inorganic, radioactive, and biological. It is the group of biological contaminants that I want to address further. Biological, or more precisely micro-biological contaminants, may include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and molds that can be in the water. In most cases it is not obvious to the eye that there are biological contaminants present in the water.
However, biological contaminants are the most acute in their impact on the human body. By drinking biologically contaminated water one can become very sick or even die. This is well known and in fact is one of the causes of high infant mortality in developing countries where pollution is high and hygiene standards are low.
Some of the examples of microorganisms that can create significant human health problems include:
Biological contaminants are very common and persons who rely on well-water are particularly exposed. In large cities the drinking water is chlorinated before you drink it. Chlorine in the proper levels kills biological contaminants, but does not remove the biological remnants from the water.
How does one make sure biological contaminants are not in the drinking water? It’s best to start with the worst case scenario – an emergency situation like Hurricane Katrina. In many places water lines were compromised and sewage and drinking water were mixed. This created water that had very high levels of pathogenic bacteria. Such water is dangerous and should not be consumed. Most water treatment devices in homes are not designed to treat biologically contaminated water. In fact FEMA and the American Red Cross do not recommend the use of filters or reverse osmosis in emergencies. FEMA and The American Red Cross recommend distillation. Steam Distillation is a process where water is boiled – and the elevated temperature kills the microbiological contaminants. Once boiled, the water changes from a liquid to a vapor which we call steam. At this point virtually all contaminants remain in the water and the steam lifts away and is subsequently condensed to form bio-secure distilled water. We at Pure & Secure know this. We have tested many hundreds of water samples through independent third party laboratories. Regardless of the severity of the contamination of the raw water, we have never flunked a biological test through independent laboratories.
Bottom Line: Steam Distillation creates distilled water that is “bio-secure”.
In my next blog I’ll talk about some case histories where humans consumed biologically contaminated water.