Move over anti-vaxxers, there is a whole new pseudo-science health movement flooding California and other left coast granola munching states. It’s “raw water.” The New York Times reported on the raw water movement taking hold in San Francisco (naturally).

At Rainbow Grocery, a cooperative in this city’s Mission District, one brand of water is so popular that it’s often out of stock. But one recent evening, there was a glittering rack of it: glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill, bottled and marketed by a small company called Live Water.

That is probably the most California paragraph ever written.  Somebody is getting rich though. Think about it. They’re selling water at higher prices for doing less to it. In a state like California that is saddled with totalitarian regulations, one has to wonder how this is even legal to sell. California heavily regulates sales of raw milk for example.

And Liquid Eden, a water store that opened in San Diego three years ago, offers a variety of options, including fluoride-free, chlorine-free and a “mineral electrolyte alkaline” drinking water that goes for $2.50 a gallon.

Trisha Kuhlmey, the owner, said the shop sells about 900 gallons of water a day, and sales have doubled every year as the “water consciousness movement” grows.

The “water consciousness movement” (facepalm.gif).

The founder of Live Water, Mukhande Singh, started selling spring water from Opal Springs in Culver, Ore., three years ago, but it was a small local operation until this year. Marketing materials show Mr. Singh (né Christopher Sanborn) sitting naked and cross-legged on a hot spring, his long brown hair flowing over his chest.

Nothing sells the idea of drinking untreated spring water like pictures of a naked hippie sitting in it. (I’ll take my chances with the flouride, thanks.) Also is no one going to mention Christopher Sanborn’s obvious cultural appropriation here?

Pure water can be obtained by using a reverse osmosis filter, the gold standard of home water treatment, but for Mr. Singh, the goal is not pristine water, per se. “You’re going to get 99 percent of the bad stuff out,” he said. “But now you have dead water.”

He said “real water” should expire after a few months. His does. “It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” he said. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.”

Most people are well aware that dirty water turns green, though they may not be clear on how many lunar cycles it takes for it to happen. This is some Gwyneth Paltrow level stupidity at work here. I am half expecting to read how purifying water strips it of it’s “essential oils.”

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Water is a chemical compound necessary for keeping our bodies hydrated. It is not alive. It may have things living in it, none of which are necessary to make it healthier or safer to drink. Some may be benign. Others are very unpleasant or sometimes deadly. Just like the anti-vaxxers, these “raw water” pushers are expecting you to take an unnecessary real risk in order to avoid a completely imagined one.

As a conservative the idea of getting water from “off the grid” is something I can empathize with. Municipal water systems are not run by infallible people. Flint, Michigan stands as a glaring example of that fact. There are a lot of things being put into water treatment plants today that the plants were never designed to filter out so many public water systems have chemical residue from medication and hormones and other things. The answer to that is to clean the water, not to choose to drink water with different undesirable things lurking in it.

The answer certainly isn’t to push bogus scientific claims that dirty water is good for you as long as the dirt is “natural.” Live Science points this out today by reminding us that Mother Nature doesn’t always have our best interests at heart.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature sometimes intends to give you an unpleasant case of diarrhea instead. Even America’s most pristine-looking springs can harbor natural contaminants that make drinking their waters a sickly mistake, said Vince Hill, chief of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Without an intimate knowledge of where your water comes from, it’s hard to say what’s in it and who handles it on its journey from spring to bottle — this is why water gets filtered in the first place, Hill said, and why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces strict quality guidelines on America’s public water providers.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), contaminated drinking water is one of the most dangerous preventable health risks the world faces. “Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio,” the WHO says, adding that contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502,000 diarrheal deaths around the world each year.

I’m perfectly fine with goofy, back-to-nature types drinking whatever they want and letting Darwin’s principles act as needed. It’s a problem for me if they’re forcing this sort of thing on children who are more vulnerable to water borne diseases though.

What really galls me though is that you can almost guarantee that these people who are distrusting the public water systems are exactly the same people who continually vote to have government provide and care for them from cradle to grave. Also, among the people shelling out cash for water that goes bad within a lunar cycle are those who ridicule reasoned skepticism over man made climate change as “anti-science.”