As a mom, you do your best to keep your kids as safe, healthy, and happy as they can be. But with new health trends popping up left and right, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which ones are beneficial and which could make them sick. The latest health fad sparking concern and confusion? Expensive bottled “raw water,” straight from the spring.

What is Raw Water?

Raw water is untreated, unfiltered, and unsterilized water, such as spring water. It is typically bottled and sold in affluent pockets of the United States, with marketers claiming the spring water has a beneficial, “probiotic” effect.

But raw water may also contain unknown and unsafe levels of naturally-occurring minerals like arsenic and germs like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.

Is It Safe for My Kids to Drink Raw Water?

Despite unsupported claims that it is natural and safer to drink than treated water, one thing is certain with the potential for high levels of living microorganisms from runoff and other sources, there’s a chance that consuming raw water can make your family sick.

To put things into perspective, water that is contaminated with feces can spread diseases like diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, and polio especially in children. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 502,000 people die each year due to water-related diarrheal diseases. Eek! Fortunately, the treatment and distribution of safe drinking water throughout the United States has been hailed as one of our nation’s great public health achievements.

It is especially concerning that raw water’s popularity has gained traction through the so-called “water-consciousness movement,” which is getting larger and spreading, with increased marketing and financial support.

What Should We Drink Instead of Raw Water?

While the risks associated with drinking contaminated raw water from a spring are particularly alarming, it’s important to remember the safe option flowing daily from our taps. Living in the United States provides us the luxury of having access to treated and regulated drinking water sourced from lakes, rivers, and groundwater.

Knowing all of this, it seems ridiculous to take the risk of drinking raw water and falling ill. It’s just another misguided health craze that should be washed down the drain.