Raw water has taken Silicon Valley by storm but while its consumers believe the product is preserving healthy gut bacteria, a safety food expert warns that what they are drinking could actually be deadly.
Glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of unfiltered, untreated, and unsterilized spring water are selling out in the city's grocery stores despite being exorbitantly priced. They are bottled by Live Water, which sells each orb for $60.99 and refills it for $14.99.
Live Water is a relatively new startup founded by Christopher Sanborn, who later changed his name to Mukande Singh. The company calls the trend as Live Water Revival and sources its products from the Opal Spring in Madras, Oregon. It claims the product improves not only consumer health but also conserves the planet's ecology.
Live Water Claims Sterilization Promotes Imbalance Of Good Gut Bacteria
A report states that around 100 trillion bacteria live inside the digestive system and not all of them are bad for the health. Good gut bacteria have been found by several studies to be beneficial, offering protection against certain cancers and even potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. They have also been claimed to trigger the immune system to attack cells causing tumor formation.
"This is a new frontier of medicine, and many are looking at the gut microbiota as an additional organ system," says Dr. Elizabeth Hohmann of Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "It's most important to the health of our gastrointestinal system, but may have even more far-reaching effects on our well-being."
Live Water banks on such report's findings, asserting that sterilization kills microbes, which are rich sources of minerals and probiotics. It believes that without these microbes, the amount of good bacteria in the gut is thrown off balance impeding the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This will then result in anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, and countless other ailments.
Food Safety Expert Reminds Consumers Unfiltered Water Kills
While the startup has many convinced, food safety expert Bill Marler says in a separate report that "almost everything conceivable" that can make a person sick is found in unfiltered water. Also, it seems people have forgotten that drinking unclean water has already killed people before.
The same report states that unprocessed water could contain animal feces, despite being sourced from the cleanest rivers. It could lead to Giardiasis, which symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and is the reason behind around 4,600 hospitalizations each year.
It also cites the California outbreak in 2017 where 20 people died of Hepatitis A caused by E. coli and cholera transmitted through unclean water.
"It's fine till some 10-year-old girl dies a horrible death from cholera in Montecito, California," adds Marler.
However, consumers remain unphased amid all the warning. Raw water continues to sell out in San Francisco, where the price of a 2.5-gallon orb has jumped from $36.99 to $60.99 due to insistent demand.