There are a number of water filter companies around at the moment suggesting that water distillers are inferior because they do not remove Chlorine or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). For the record, Megahome Distillers do remove both Chlorine and VOCs, here’s how:
The process of distillation involves heating the water to boiling point and then cooling it to recondense the steam. The process of doing this creates pure water. Chlorine however, which is often added by water companies to kill bugs, has a lower boiling point than water. It is actually a very volatile substance. If you leave tap water for 24 hours all the chlorine present will “off-gas” and simply enter the atmosphere. A quicker way to remove Chlorine is to boil the water for 15 minutes (distillers boil water for 4 hours). Doing this releases all the Chlorine and it is the reason why the condenser tube in Megahome Distillers has a small hole drilled into its upper surface to allow Chlorine gas to escape. There is no Chlorine in the water produced by Megahome Distillers; if you test for Chlorine you will not find it.
Volatile Organic Compounds are a bit different. There are pretty nasty chemicals: pesticides, fire retardants, solvents. See the table below, they actually have a range of boiling points. Anything with a boiling point above 100°C will be left behind with all the other nasties in the distiller after distillation. Anything with a boiling point below 100°C will go through the distiller and be caught by the activated charcoal filter that your Megahome distilled water has as the final stage of purification. VOCs are absorbed by activated charcoal filtration. If you test for VOCs in the water produced by your distiller, you will not find any.
In summary, Megahome Water Distillers and distillation in general is the gold standard for water purification – more effective than any water filter or reverse osmosis. And that is why Megahome distillers are used in laboratories and medical environments for the production of pure water.
Table 1. Boiling points for different classes of Volatile Organic Compound
|Description||Abbreviation||Boiling Point Range (°C)||Example Compounds|
|Very volatile (gaseous) organic compounds||VVOC||<0 to 50-100||Propane, butane, methyl chloride|
|Volatile organic compounds||VOC||50-100 to 240-260||Formaldehyde, d-Limonene, toluene, acetone, ethanol (ethyl alcohol) 2-propanol (isopropyl alcohol), hexanal|
|Semi volatile organic compounds||SVOC||240-260 to 380-400||Pesticides (DDT, chlordane, plasticizers (phthalates), fire retardants (PCBs, PBB))|
One of the really hot topics which you see a lot of people talking about with regard to distilled water is acidity. The theory goes that because distilled water is very mildly acidic it can leach minerals from the body. There is also a competing theory that slightly different theories that the acidity of distilled water makes the body ultimately more alkaline. And there are many advocates of drinking alkaline water. Anyway, let’s now examine the scientific basis for this.
Distilled water at the moment of distillation is pH7 which is neutral. Then, after a relatively short time a very small amount of the distilled water will bond with atmospheric carbon dioxide to make a very small amount of carbonic acid, much less than you would get with a carbonated drink for example but enough to push distilled water to pH6. That is about the same as most fish meat, asparagus, butter, olives, or a curry. With the pH scale lower it is more acidic and it is also logarithmic. What that means is that ph6 is 10x more acidic than pH7, ph5 is 100x more acidic than pH7, pH4 is 1000x more acidic than pH7, etc. Something really acidic like Coca Cola (and most fizzy drinks) is pH 2.5. Your stomach acid is pH1.5 to 3.5. The acidity of a car battery is about pH0.7 – 1.0. So you can see, yes distilled water is technically acidic, but really not by very much.
Now, what happens in your gut?
When you swallow anything it triggers the release of hydrochloric acid into the stomach and part of the job of that acid is to kill off any bugs that might be in your food. Next stop after the stomach is the duodenum and at this stage lots of bicarbonate gets released into the food to neutralise the pH and from then on the food gets absorbed during its passage through your intestines. People have two main worries:
First, they worry that drinking distilled water will make their stomach contents more acidic. Let’s think about this, when you pour a very weak acid (distilled water) into a very strong acid (stomach) you end up with a diluted (less acidic) mixture. To make your stomach more acidic you would need to be consuming something more acidic than the stomach contents. Drinking distilled water is never going to make your stomach contents more acidic, it will only ever make it less acidic.
Secondly, people worry that drinking distilled water will somehow make their bloodstream more acidic and that this will leach minerals from their bodies. Drinking distilled water is not going to make your bloodstream more acidic. After the water has been mixed with the incredibly strong acid in your stomach and then mixed with the alkalising effect of the bicarbonate, any latent acidity that might have existed in the distilled water will have been completely wiped out.
The whole leaching minerals argument is an example of what is called psychologists call truthiness; it kind of sounds like it could be true so people believe it. In reality, it is non-science. Your body works extremely hard to keep your blood pH between 7.35 and 7.45. If it goes outside that range then your enzymes start to denature and you need to go to the hospital (in an ambulance). Even people who are slightly out of range like pH7.25 can be very ill indeed. For your blood to be acidic enough to actually start dissolving minerals it would have to be well below pH6 and you would definitely be long dead by then. In addition, minerals are held in bone in a complex organic molecule called hydroxyapatite, it’s a combination of Vitamin D and Calcium, you need enzymes to get the Calcium out – not acid.
The idea of acidic water sounds scary but it does not harm you, if it could, rainwater would harm you and most foods would harm you. There is nothing harmful about drinking distilled water. And if you are at all worried about it being mildly acidic then you can always add a pinch of Sodium Bicarbonate to rebalance the pH.
The whole leaching minerals argument is an example of what is called psychologists call truthiness; it kind of sounds like it could be true so people believe it. In reality, it is non-science. Your body works extremely hard to keep your blood pH between 7.35 and 7.45. If it goes outside that range then your enzymes start to denature and you need to go to the hospital. Even people who are slightly out of range like pH7.25 can be very ill indeed. For your blood to be acidic enough to actually start leaching minerals it would have to be well below pH6 and you would definitely be long dead by then.
You can make your distilled water more alkaline by adding say Sodium Bicarbonate to it. Alkaline water has a higher pH (above pH7). Some people claim that drinking alkaline water can help prevent diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. However, there isn’t enough research to verify these claims and there is no evidence that alkaline water is better than any other type of water. There are suggestions about potential risks from alkaline water. In a study, baby rats given alkaline water showed impaired growth and damage to cardiac muscle. Additionally, a case report released in 2015 said that when a municipal water plant in a town in Germany accidentally increased the water’s pH to 12, skin burns ensued.