What’s In Your Water?

Pop into any convenience store and you’re sure to be bombarded with countless brands offering the purest water available. How do you choose? It shouldn’t come as any surprise that some water is better than others, and while some might be healthy, others might harm you. Stick around and find out how Frank picks the best water for his household.


In Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant 1964 movie, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a paranoid U.S. Air Force General, Jack D. Ripper, tries to explain to a Royal Air Force Group Captain, Lionel Mandrake, part of his ludicrous reasoning for launching a bombing campaign on the Soviet Union.
His premise is crazy and reasoning insane, but his statistics about water are close
enough when he says, “Water, that’s what I’m getting at, water. Mandrake, water is the source of all life. Seven-tenths of this Earth’s surface is water. Why, do you realize that seventy-percent of you is water? And as human beings, you and I need fresh, pure water to replenish our precious bodily fluids.”

Water is indeed important. Now, doctors and cancer researchers are starting to emphasize the importance of the right water to drink. But considering our ample choices of bottled brands, which water should we buy?

Tapped out
Our whole inquiry started simply enough in the first place. First of all, we don’t use tap water. It doesn’t matter what country or city you live in, tap water isn’t fit for humans and maybe not for some animals, either. As always, I could be wrong, but health is something too important to chance.

Let’s start with the bottom line: according to many experts, we get maximum health benefits and optimum cancer prevention by drinking water with high alkaline levels. Why?

We also don’t use water dispensers because of the inevitable bacterial build-up and need for regular sanitizing. After cleaning, we discovered that the solutions used to wash and sterilize the machines make processed water taste terrible. At this point, we only use bottled water from the supermarket.

For a long time, we were buying a particular brand of water to nourish our four cats, three fish, two birds and ourselves. Despite changing the water daily, we began to notice some green algae that appeared about every two days in the birdcage’s water dishes. I tried a different brand and there was less algae.

It was one of my Chinese friends who later explained that the algae might have something to do with the pH level of the water. This took me on a modest research detour from everything else I was doing and led to the information written here.

Just to be clear, I’m not a scientist and won’t attempt to compare brands by strict experimentation. I aim to expose new details that can help us more effectively choose what to buy and consume.

What’s in a drink?
Let’s start with the bottom line: according to many experts, we get maximum health benefits and optimum cancer prevention by drinking water with high alkaline levels. Why?

The discussions—and even heated debates—surrounding cancer prevention and cures related to pH levels in the body are ongoing. There is little disagreement among experts, however, that long-term acidic environments can damage normal cell structure and function.

More specific research indicates that cancer thrives in acidic environments and doesn’t survive in more balanced, alkaline environments. Now, some doctors contend that people with cancer have low pH levels and, therefore, more acidic tissues and cells. In turn, this provides a more favorable environment to support cancer growth. Many researchers advocate that a higher pH level in body tissues is healthier.

Of course, all of this is contrary to the stomach, which is the exception to the rule. Hydrochloric acid assists with digestion and the stomach is lined with special cells that prevent acid from burning through it.

Like the food we eat, human tissue, including muscles, organs and cells, break down faster in acidic conditions. The big difference between normal operation is that ingested food becomes fuel for our bodies after it is metabolized. Broken down tissue simply dies and becomes useless toxic waste.

Health websites explain that the pH range of liquids is measured from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Anything above 7.0 is considered alkaline and below is acidic. To get an idea of acid levels, battery acid is 1.0 on the scale, while vinegar is about 3.0. Healthy human blood has an alkalinity level of 7.4 on the scale. Pure water should be 7.0.

There’s also an interesting backstory with lemon water. First, there’s some confusion for Chinese people between the terms lemon water and lemonade. Many think they’re the same, but once I explain that lemonade has sugar, while lemon water doesn’t, they understand.

Lemon juice has about the same pH level as vinegar, which is a no-brainer considering lemons are a citrus fruit. Inside the body, however, lemon juice is metabolized as an alkaline material and therefore raises the pH level of body tissue. This gives it a special property and sets it apart from regular acidic drinks.

What went into our testing?
In our examination, we looked at thirty brands, but did not consider any prices. We were only concerned with the pH value of the water and its impact on health.

Testing— remember, non-scientific, informal testing—is actually pretty simple. There are many different kits available and they are very low-priced, if you would like to try this on your own.

The pH testing solution comes in small plastic bottles with eye-dropper tips that are able to dispense one drop at a time. They also come with a color scale to measure the pH value. It ranges from orange, at about 4.0, through yellow and green at 6.0 to 7.0, then various blues above 7.5 and finally, purple at 10.

Test samples of water were measured out in 50 ml and three drops of pH solution were added.
Remember, this is only a general indication of pH level. Oranges and yellows indicate a higher acid level. Blue signifies a positive-alkaline level. Keep in mind that our results were only visually defined using the color of the water related to the paper scale. Deeper, verified testing may yield differing conclusions.

The bottom line is that blue is what we should typically be drinking. By following our basic guide (below), you should be able to easily identify brands we have crudely determined to be at least a little bit heathier. We encourage you to always be skeptical and try these experiments for yourself.


Contribution by: Belinda Robertson