Is Distilled Water Safe to Drink?

Andrea Piacquadio

Distillation is one of the methods used to purify water. Is distilled water good to drink or as healthy as other types of water? The answer depends on many different factors.

To understand whether distilled water is safe or desirable to drink, let’s look at how distilled water is made:

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water that has been purified by distillation. There are different types of distillation, but they all rely on separating the components of a mixture according to their boiling point. In short, water is heated to its boiling point. Chemicals that boil at a lower temperature are collected and removed; substances that remain in a container after the water evaporates are also removed. The collected water is therefore of higher purity than the original liquid. As it becomes increasingly difficult to find pure water, distillation is being developed on an industrial scale.

Important points to remember: Drinking distilled water

Is water that has been purified by distillation. In this process, different boiling points are used to separate the components of water.

In general, distilled water is safe to drink. However, it is not the best choice for drinking water.

Distilled water contains fewer metals and minerals than its source water. Since some minerals are essential to human health, drinking distilled water may not be a healthy option.

In some cases, distilled water is contaminated with chemicals from the still. This phenomenon is more common with domestic stills.

Distilled water, like any other bottled water, is prone to leaking from its container.

Distilled water is a good choice as drinking water if the water source is contaminated with metals, volatile organic compounds, or fluoride.

Is distilled water safe to drink?

In general, the answer is yes, you can drink distilled water. When drinking water is purified by distillation, the water obtained is cleaner and purer than before. The water is safe to drink. The disadvantage of drinking this water is that most of the natural minerals it contains are gone. Minerals are not volatile, so when the water boils, they stay put. If these minerals are desirable (e.g., calcium, magnesium, iron), distilled water may be considered inferior to mineral or spring water. On the other hand, if the source water contains traces of toxic organic compounds or heavy metals, it is better to drink distilled water rather than spring water.

Usually, the distilled water you find in a grocery store has been made from drinking water and is therefore safe to drink. However, distilled water from other sources may be unsuitable for consumption. For example, if you take undrinkable water from an industrial source and distill it, the distilled water may still contain enough contaminants to be unfit for human consumption.

Using contaminated equipment is another situation that can result in impure distilled water. Impurities can escape from glassware or tubing at any point in the distillation process, introducing undesirable chemicals. This is not a problem in the commercial distillation of drinking water, but it can be in domestic distillation (or in the distillation of contraband alcohol). Similarly, unwanted chemicals may be present in the container used to collect the water. Plastic monomers or glass leaching are a problem for any form of bottled water.

History of water distillation

People have been distilling drinking water from seawater since at least 200 AD. Alexander of Aphrodisias described this process. However, historians assume that water distillation occurred earlier, as Aristotle refers to water distillation in Meteorologica.

In modern times, it is common for distillers to add minerals to distilled water for drinking to improve the taste and give it health benefits. Ordinary distilled water is important for laboratory experiments to control the composition of the solvent. Distilled water is commonly used as water for aquariums to prevent the introduction of contaminants and microorganisms from tap water. Humidifiers and evaporators benefit from the use of distilled water because it does not lead to mineral or scale buildup. Ocean-going vessels regularly distill seawater to turn it into drinking water.

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