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Boiled water

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Boiling water is an effective way to destroy microorganisms, bacteria and viruses that causes diseases. It is a way how to make water drinkable in cases where there is no access to clean water from a reliable source or in cases where the quality of the water is unclear. However, boiling water does not remove all contaminants present in the water (e.g. heavy metals), accordingly, this method should not be relied on as the only way to purify the water.

In this article we will talk about boiled water as a method of disinfecting the water, about the properties of boiled water and its use in nutrition.

The effect of boiling water on microorganisms

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Centralized water supply systems is disinfected with chlorine, however, often it does not reach the end consumer as it oxidizes due to biological contamination of the pipes. As the water continues to move through the pipes, a second infection with harmless and pathogenic microorganisms is possible.

Boiling water is the simplest method of disinfecting the water which kills most of microorganisms. However, traditional boiling with turning off the kettle is not enough, it is recommended to boil the water for at least five minutes, optimally for 20 minutes. In addition, individual microorganisms as the hepatitis B virus survive boiling water for up to 30 minutes, while spores of the causative agent of botulism die only after six hours of boiling. Therefore, if there is no confidence in the quality of the water you should not rely on boiling as an effective method of disinfection.

The effect of boiling water on organic and inorganic substances

Some organic and inorganic compounds found in tap water tend to evaporate if they are not subjected to further reaction. For example, chlorine evaporates when the temperature rises to 30-40 °C while trihalomethanes, which are carcinogenic organochlorine compounds, begin to evaporate at 61 °C. However, it is important to understand that more complex organic matter, heavy metal ions and nitrates do not evaporate when boiled. If the composition of the water contains mentioned substances, they will remain in the composition of the water also after boiling.

Can boiled water be re-boiled?

Several studies have concluded that the more often the same water is boiled, the more harmful it becomes. As a result of repeated boiling of the water, the substances contained in it (eg.  arsenic, fluorides and nitrates) can change and become more concentrated and harmful.

The following risks are seen in the consumption of re-boiled water: the occurrence of oncological diseases, the formation of liver or kidney stones, infertility and development disorder of the mind for children.

Why does boiled water have a specific taste?

The process of boiling the water contributes to the release of minerals and oxygen, especially if the water is heated for a long time. Although the water becomes softer, as a result of the release of oxygen and mineral salts, changes the taste of the water.

In addition, researcher Lauma Bush points out that if there is an increased presence of iron compounds in the water, in this case also the water may have a specific taste which will not be reduced by boiling.

Why does limescale appear when boiling water?

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If calcium and magnesium salts are dissolved in the composition of the water, the salts in the water are released and form limestone. Although limestone can affect the operation and service life of heating systems or household appliances, it does not harm human health and is also not an indicator of poor water quality.

Conclusions

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  • It is recommended to use boiling as a method of heating the water and not as a way of purifying it.
  • During boiling most of the water impurities are not removed, such water is not recommended to use on regular basis.
  • When boiling the water changes occur in the taste (sometimes also in smell) of the water.
  • Limescale does not harm human health and it is not an indicator for poor water quality.
  • Re-boiled water for consumption is not recommended, the substances in it can change characteristic and become harmful.
  • To obtain completely clean and safe drinking water it is recommended to use other methods of water purification.

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Read also: How to choose a water filter?

 

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