1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

July 11, 2008

:193 Reverse Osmosis

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:193 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis is a method for reducing the amount of dissolved solids in drinking water. It works best in combination with other water purification methods since it will not remove volatile organic compounds.

RO involves forcing water through a semipermeable membrane with extremely fine pores.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

RO systems will remove a variety of ions and metals as well as some bacterial contaminants (cysts), but not coliform bacteria. RO systems will remove some arsenic (arsenic V but not the more toxic arsenic III). Reverse osmosis is well documented in the literature and in post-treatment testing proves to be effective in removing uranium, but NSF [National Sanitation Foundation] does not certify for uranium reduction, RO membranes eject the bulk of almost any dissolved and suspended contaminant including ionic, organic and silica compounds.

One criticism of reverse osmosis-filtered water is that it is stripped of essential minerals. Although this is true, it is a tradeoff for overall water quality. Most consumers do not depend on water for their nutritional needs but elect to take vitamin supplements or remineralize their RO water. Savvy water treatment companies use a crushed limestone (calcite) post-RO filter to impart a pleasant taste to the water. Parents sometimes express concern that RO removes fluoride added to municipal water for dental health purposes. This is true, but water fluoridation in general is a controversial issue and today most children under professional dental care receive whole-mouth fluoride treatments.

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