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Is Reverse Osmosis Bad For You?

If you’re considering purchasing a reverse osmosis water filtration system, there’s a good chance you have some questions about what reverse osmosis is and what it can do for you—and you might have even heard rumors that it’s harmful to your health.

You can watch the following video from Doug the Water Buff, which will answer some of the most common questions about reverse osmosis. Or, keep reading to learn more about reverse osmosis and whether it’s the water solution your home needs.

Do You Need to be Concerned About Reverse Osmosis?

The biggest question in considering a reverse osmosis filtration system is what water problem you’re trying to solve in your home. Ask yourself the following two questions before making a decision:

  1. Are you concerned about reducing unsafe levels of contaminants in your water?
  2. Or, are you only concerned about the odor and taste of your water?

What contaminants are you concerned about in your water?

Have you taken a moment to answer the two questions above? If so, it’s time to consider what water contaminants are concerning you.

Households often turn to reverse osmosis as a filtration method because they want to reduce unsafe levels of contaminants in their water, like lead, VOCs, PFAS, and more. Because reverse osmosis reduces water to a near-pure state, that also means that beneficial minerals—calcium, magnesium and sodium—will be reduced as well, but those minerals can be consumed in other ways.

When making this decision, it’s smart to consider the high amount of unsafe contaminants a reverse osmosis system reduces and weigh it against your concerns about your water. Keep in mind that you can offset any reduced minerals through a diet that includes appropriate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sodium.

Acid levels in reverse osmosis water

The next consideration is related to acid levels in water produced by reverse osmosis systems. RO systems will drop the pH level of your water slightly to between 5 and 7 pH, which could be more acidic than what you’re expecting. If you regularly consume beverages like sodas, orange juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, even certain coffees and teas, they are all more acidic than reverse osmosis water.

So, Is Reverse Osmosis Right for You?

As noted in the video above, the decision is now up to you. If your primary concern is reducing harmful contaminants from your water, a reverse osmosis system is a top choice. But if you’re more concerned about odor or taste, then you might be better off with a carbon filtration system, which is not as thorough as a reverse osmosis system but will not drop pH or reduce dissolved minerals.

Have a question for the Water Buff about home water systems? Leave a comment on the YouTube episode page and Doug might answer your question in an upcoming “Stump the Water Buff” episode!

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