Mornings spell a mad race for time. Amidst waking up and dressing up and the million other chores, the best thing about daybreak is that warm, cozy cuppa. You might be a tea person or a coffee person, but the process of getting on that water to boil is just the same.
Some of us love our Indian chai and filter coffee, but for the more hip tech-savvy folks who use the kettle to get their water going, here’s a word of caution. This one also goes out to the mothers of young toddlers, and everyone out there who boils water for some or the other reason every day.
Boiling water is fine, but re-boiling it? Well, not a good idea!
What Happens When You Re-Boil Water?
For most of us who didn’t pay attention in our chemistry classes, there is nothing to worry, because this is something they didn’t teach us at school. But hey, read carefully now.
Boiling water changes its composition. It is almost always a good thing, because the volatile compounds evaporate and all the unsafe gases are dissolved, making the water drink-worthy and benign.
Now, chemistry being as twisted as it is, re-boiling water condenses and concentrates certain harmful compounds, making the same pure water, unsafe. This happens even when the water is left to boil for too long.
The chemicals present usually include fluoride, nitrates, and arsenic. But it should be noted that even healthy minerals could become quite dangerous if concentrated. For example, excessive calcium causes gallstones and kidney stones.
What Dangers Do The Three Deadly Gases Invoke?
The World Health Organization claims that the most dangerous threat to public health from drinking water is from its arsenic content. It could lead to arsenic toxicity, which builds slowly over the years, and its effects are seen only much later. Peripheral neuropathy, skin lesions, effects from the renal systems, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and gastrointestinal troubles are some diseases that arsenic toxicity can cause.
Nitrates are found commonly in the soil, air, and water. But when exposed to high heat, especially when water is re-boiled or over-boiled, it can become a harmful chemical. Reason being, high temperatures convert nitrates to nitrosamines. These nitrosamines are carcinogenic.
The diseases that can be caused owing to the nitrates are non-Hodkin lymphoma, leukemia, and cancers of the colon, bladder, ovaries, stomach, pancreas and esophagus.
This one is a dicey chemical. It is good as well as bad for you when present in the water. The dangers, however, are ill effects on the neurological and cognitive functioning in children. Studies have found lower IQ in kids who have had fluoride-rich water over a period of time.
A recent study shows fluoride causes infertility in male animals. We are yet to find out if it holds true for human beings as well.
How To Avoid Chemical Concentration?
Even though re-boiling of water does not directly affect our health, you still need to make sure you avoid doing it. If you are using a teakettle, and re-boiling seems inevitable, make sure you keep adding more water so that it sort of nullifies the boiling effect. Pregnant women are always at a risk of certain diseases if they have re-boiled water. It is very important that they avoid this at any cost.
If you think that the water you drink is not pure, and that boiling once will not help, then it’s best to invest in a pitcher water filter or a RO UV system, to get purified water that doesn’t rely on boiling.
It is important to be aware and stay safe at all times, isn’t it?
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