Why a safe TDS level does not imply safe drinking water? What are the possible solutions?

It is a well-known fact that the water supply that reaches our home is contaminated with different types of hazardous materials which is unfit for drinking. According to the NITI Aayog’s recent report, it is estimated that more than 600 million Indians are facing high to extreme water stress and 75 percent of households do not have drinking water. At least 163 million people do not have access to treated piped water and approximately 70 percent of the water supply is contaminated, resulting in nearly 2,00,000 deaths each year. India ranks 120th out of 122 nations in the water quality index. 

To address the issue, in 2019, the Indian Government made a major commitment to provide clean water for all and access to safe piped water in rural areas by 2024. The pledge can indeed help in providing clear water however, many natural minerals are stripped away with the water treatment process. Further, treated water traveling through the old, rusted pipes may again contaminate it eventually making it unsafe for drinking. Hence, it becomes extremely critical to choose the right filtration processes to remove the toxins and infuse water with mineral properties to make fit for consumption. 

Here are some terminologies and their relevance which can help you choose the right water purification technology to make drinking water safe for you and your family. 

What is TDS?

TDS means total dissolved solids -the value represents the total amount of dissolved substances in water. TDS contains both inorganic salts, as well as some amount of organic chemicals. It may include both essential/ useful and harmful or hazardous chemicals dissolved in a specific volume of water.

Common inorganic ions that are found in water include calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, iron, lead, arsenic and carbonates, bicarbonates, nitrates, sulfates, and chlorides, etc. The dissolved organic matter can include hydrocarbons, herbicides, pesticides, fulvic acid and humic acids and a variety of organics from industrial effluents. 

Increased TDS level can be based on various reasons such as minerals in springs from geological formations, disinfection by products from chemicals used to treat the water, surplus from road salts, pesticides, fertilizers from agricultural run-off, and rust, lead from pipes through which water has been supplied. 

Why is it important to measure TDS?

Although pure water is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, any additives can alter its scent, color, and taste. Thus, it is important to know the level of TDS in water. In many studies TDS level was defined as the measure of taste on water.  

In general, higher level of TDS is associated with higher level of hardness in water, which also plays a role in imparting an objectionable taste to water. This makes it important to measure the TDS level in water before consuming it. It can be measured using a TDS meter. It also lets you know the total amount of impurities dissolved in water. As per Bureau of Indian Standards the acceptable limit of TDS for drinking water is 500 mg/L. 

A safe TDS level does not indicate safe drinking water

A TDS meter or gravimetric analysis gives a quantitative measure of the total amount of dissolved ions/solids in the water, but it does not reveal what the dissolved substances are or their relationships. In essence, this means that a high TDS count of your water could be filled with essential minerals, and toxic organic matter. TDS measures the solids in your water but does not indicate whether those solids are beneficial or hazardous.

TDS alone can’t guarantee the safe drinking water. It is far more important to ensure the absence of hazardous chemicals in water or maintaining them within permissible levels prescribed by the standards. The presence of toxic ions such as lead, cadmium, nitrate, and arsenic present in water are responsible for numerous serious health concerns. This instantly impacts children since their immune system is developing and is not as strong as mature people.

As mentioned, TDS only refers to the total amount of dissolved solids in water however, its level is not the only signal of water purity. As a matter of fact, these days water is contaminated with numerous types of pollutants including new-age contaminants from industries and from the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, etc. Also, there are hazardous biological and chemical elements present in the water which cannot be tasted or seen. Some of these contaminants can be extremely toxic in nature and may lead to major health hazards. All these factors contribute to making a strong case for the use of a quality water purifier at your home to safeguard yourself and your family from deadly diseases. 

Advance purification technologies ensuring well being 

Today, there are numerous technologically advanced water purifiers available in the market, which not only removes the excess TDS level but have a host of other smart features which are essential for removing toxic elements from the water. For instance, water purifiers with 100% RO and UV purification allow 100% of water to pass through the purification system to ensure that you consume absolute safe and healthy water. Additionally, the water is treated with UV exposure every four hours which ensures the water in hygienic state all the time.  

The most recent and innovative development in water purification systems is the introduction of alkaline water purifiers. These water purifiers dispense alkaline water which not only neutralises the acidity but also lowers the Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) resulting in the antioxidant nature of water by the addition of a wide range of natural minerals to the water. It also supports digestion, strengthens bones, helps in weight loss, keeps the body and skin hydrated, and has anti-aging and detoxifying properties.

Drinking pure water, with an alkaline pH value, and free from microbiological, chemical toxins and contaminants is vital to maintain our health. Hence, it becomes important to invest in good quality water purifier that delivers healthy, clean, safe, and pure drinking for you and your family.

 

By Dr Suresh Sisodia,  Senior Vice President, Havells India Ltd.

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