How Does Calcified (Hard) And Rusty Tap Water Affect Health?

In some areas, tap water is obtained from artesian wells. It is well cleaned and disinfected, it can be safely drunk without boiling, the taste is also pleasant. But it is highly calcified - a white coating forms on the kettle, dishwasher, washing machine and flower pots almost every day, and in a week a whole build-up of calcium. To clean equipment, I use acid - citric or acetic. I throw out the top layer of earth from the pots.

Is this water considered mineral water? How harmful is it to drink such water for many years? Does it increase the risk of kidney stones? How does it affect the bones, heart, etc.? How does watering with such water affect houseplants - flowers in pots?

PS And a similar question about rusty tap water.

Neither calcined nor rusty water can be considered mineral water. At the same time, such water is not dangerous for human health, but it can harm domestic plants.

If calcined water flows from the tap, you should either boil it before watering and let it stand for several hours, or even use bottled water.

Rusty water can even be good for plants, but only if watered with it from time to time, not constantly. Before watering, it makes sense to let rusty water stand for several hours.

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Our articles are written with love for evidence-based medicine. We refer to authoritative sources and go to doctors with a good reputation for comments. But remember: you and your family doctor is responsible for your health. We don’t write prescriptions, we make recommendations. Rely on our point of view or not - you decide.

Can calcined or rusty water be considered mineral?

What is mineral water?

In most countries, water is considered mineral water if two conditions are met:

  1. Water contains at least one food mineral in an accessible form for assimilation.
  2. There is more food mineral than in ordinary tap water. Water can be considered mineral if a liter contains at least one gram of dissolved substances.

Why calcined tap water cannot be considered mineral?

The concept of “calcined water” household. It is used because most of the salts dissolved in water are calcium, followed by magnesium. If the water in total is less than 60 mg / l of dissolved salts , it is considered soft, and if more than 60 mg / l - hard.

The content of mineral salts in water is usually expressed in degrees of hardness, or °F. One degree of hardness corresponds to 20.04 mg of dissolved calcium or 12.15 ml of magnesium per liter.

The hardness of tap water should not exceed 7 °F. There are no standards for the amount of calcium in water, but magnesium should be no more than 50 mg / l.

If we neglect other salts dissolved in water, which also add hardness, it turns out that in tap water with a hardness of 7 ° F there can be approximately 90 mg / l of calcium and 50 mg / l of magnesium. If there are no magnesium salts in the water, there may be even more calcium - about 140 mg / l.

Both calcium and magnesium are absorbed from water just as well as from food or supplements. The WHO considers calcined tap water to be a good source of dietary minerals. But 

since hard tap water contains less than a gram of dissolved salts, we still cannot call it mineral .

Why rusty tap water cannot be considered mineral?

In a humid environment, iron water pipes or the iron-bearing mineral pyrite , which is found in some wells, gradually oxidizes - and insoluble iron hydroxide is obtained. This is rust - a substance that gives the water a brown color and an unpleasant metallic taste.

Unlike mineral salts, iron hydroxide is very poorly soluble in water. And since only soluble substances can be absorbed in our gastrointestinal tract, the human body hardly absorbs iron from rusty water. That’s why,

no matter how much rust there is in a liter, yellow tap water cannot be considered mineral.

How calcined and rusty water affects people’s health

Calcined water

The body sends part of calcium and magnesium to the bones and teeth. It uses the rest of the minerals to contract muscles, including the heart, release hormones, and support many of the enzymes that control the body.

Many people fear that excess calcium and magnesium from water can turn into kidney stones. But in fact, the body of a healthy person removes unclaimed calcium with urine, and does not turn it into stones. This is confirmed by the results of long-term observations of patients: people from regions with hard water are hospitalized with kidney stones no more often than people from regions with soft water.

According to some reports, if a person has already had a predisposition to kidney stones, hard water can slightly increase the risk of stones formation - but only if this person drinks too little liquid. If he drinks enough of any water, even hard, the risk of kidney stones does not increase.

Calcium and magnesium control the work of the heart muscles, so once scientists assumed that extra minerals from water could harm the cardiovascular system. But a ten-year observation of the Dutch , who drank soft, medium hard and hard water, showed that all these people suffered from coronary heart disease, suffered from a stroke and died from all causes with the same frequency and at the same age.

Theoretically, hard water can exacerbate the symptoms of eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin disease: in the past, it was believed that hard water could react with soap and leave more irritating insoluble salts on the inflamed skin. However, it has not been possible to prove that people with eczema who bathe in hard water suffer more from the symptoms of this disease, so far it has not been possible.

WHO experts believe that an additional source of calcium and magnesium in the form of hard water is more useful than harmful,

especially if you don’t like calcium-rich dairy products too much.

Rusty water

Iron hydroxide does not affect metabolism, so its excess does not harm health. This substance is so harmless that it is even used as food coloring.

Theoretically, this substance can be toxic, but only in huge dosages - for adults it is 10 g per kilogram of body weight. To get poisoned, a person weighing 50 kg will have to eat a pound of rust. Such doses cannot be obtained from tap water .

Learn About: Qualities Of Good Drinking Water

How calcified and rusty water affects plant health

Calcined water:

Calcium, which plants take from the soil, is necessary for their growth: this mineral provides strength to the cell walls of roots and leaves. However, hard water is not suitable for watering plants.

Water, in which a lot of calcium and magnesium salts are dissolved, has a slightly alkaline pH. It doesn’t harm people at all. But if you water plants with such water, the soil in pots will also become alkaline. This land is not suitable for plants that prefer acidic soils , such as azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas. On alkaline soils, such plants gradually turn pale and turn yellow leaves.

The second major problem with hard water is the white lime scale that forms on the ground in pots. Salt deposits prevent plants from absorbing water and prevent roots from breathing normally, so they dry out and turn yellow.

Soil alkalization problems can be solved by adding acidifying fertilizers, such as phosphoric acid or ammonium sulfate. And to avoid dry crusting, you can replant the plants from time to time, remove the crust by hand, as you do, or use bottled water for watering. Artificially softened water from an ion-exchange filter is not suitable for irrigation, as such filters change the calcium contained in the water to sodium. As a result, hard water turns into slightly salty, and sodium in large quantities harms plants.

However, you can also water the plants with tap water, if you first boil it and let it cool for an hour. During boiling, excess salt will turn into a white coating on the teapot and, as a result, will not fall into the pot with the plants.

Rusty water:

Plants, like people, prefer water-soluble forms of iron, which are abundant in most soils. Therefore, if you water the plants with rusty water once or twice a month, it will not cause any harm.

But if you water the plants with rusty water constantly, iron hydroxide begins to accumulate in the soil. Over time, some of it turns into water-soluble forms. When too much water-soluble iron accumulates in a pot, it damages plants.

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