'Raw water' trend may leave Americans more at-risk for disease, CDC says

"Raw water," or water that has not been filtered or treated with chemicals, is one of the latest health trends sweeping the nation, with untreated water startups cropping up nationwide from California to Maine. However, some experts suggest drinking "natural" water may actually pose more harm to one's health, Time reports.

While aging pipes and infrastructure issues may sometimes lead to contamination, as demonstrated by the 2014 Flint, Mich., water crisis, experts suggest the addition of certain chemicals and additives to water has greatly improved public health during the past century. The use of filtration, chlorination and other sanitation practices has diminished the threat of contracting waterborne illnesses in the U.S., such as cholera and typhoid, to nearly zero, according to the report.

Potentially, drinking those pathogens left inside untreated water may increase Americans' risk of contracting disease once more, according to Vince Hill, PhD, chief of the CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch.

"When water isn't treated, it can contain chemicals and germs that can make us sick or cause disease outbreaks," Dr. Hill told Time. "Anything you can think of can be in untreated water, really. That's the part that is concerning, because there are many sources of water contamination that can affect spring water."

Experts also suggest the concern surrounding fluoride, one of the chemicals added to community water supplies to help prevent tooth decay, has not proven to be harmful at the levels commonly found in drinking water.

However, if individuals are still concerned about the potential harmful effects of treated water, they should aim to install an at-home filtration system rather than drink raw water, according to the report.

To read the full Time report, click here.

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