According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans.” (World Health Organization, 2003)
That being said, it becomes copiously clear that hard water is safe to drink. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us first understand the difference between hard and soft water. Hard water is rich in mineral content, and many believe that drinking hard water actually benefits us by meeting our dietary mineral needs. However, hard water has some adverse effects in industrial and household settings, one of the most common one being its reaction to soap. When hard water comes into contact with soap, instead of making lather, it forms a white precipitate.
On the other hand, soft water is ‘softened water’ with reduced mineral content. It can be used in a variety of ways in the household and has no adverse effects to soap. While it is recommended for daily chores, its usage in drinking is debatable. Softened water is actually susceptible to leeching minerals once it is heated and is largely defenseless against lead and copper – two minerals that should not be present in drinking water!
Given the above is hard water safe to drink? According to the National Academy of Research Council hard water could actually be from a very low to a high contributor of magnesium and calcium as a dietary supplement. An article on BBC claims that hard water might actually decrease risk of heart attack.
What’s the verdict? When it comes to hard water vs. soft water, it is a universally acknowledged fact that hard water restricts many household activities and chores. Thus it is advisable to use soft water for these chores. Drinking water which has been ‘softened’ with high sodium content might have adverse effects on blood pressure patients. Thus caution is advised while drinking soft water.
Most physicians do not recommend having water softeners involved. At most, ‘softening’ only hot water and passing the softened water through a cold water line (to separate hard water for drinking). Thus as most sources indicate hard water is safe for drinking. Just make sure to run a test on water ‘hardened’ or ‘softened’ before you drink any. Remember, your health lies first and foremost in your hands.
With our recommendation, the rest is up to you. Make a wise and healthy decision!