The issues and views developed herein differ on a certain number of points with conventional water supply views. They must be read discriminately, with critical thinking. On the other hand, the reader is invited to apply the same discernment with information put forth by conventional water supply proponents and water distribution company representatives. It is wise to remember that a company representative is obligated to defend his employer's or sponsor's interests. He is not permitted to undermine the company's interests, be they products or policies.
The considerations explained on this website's pages concerning the legal aspects of water utilization must be regarded as a citizen's manifesto on water policies. The decision to adopt a PLUVALOR system is a personal choice that should strictly come under private concerns.
The text within this page was first published on www.eautarcie.com : in 2003
The original text has been adapted and translated in English by André Leguerrier and was first published on this page at www.eautarcie.org : 2009-09-24
Last update : 2015-10-17
« Potable water » is a legal concept defined by law that aims to define what water is fit for human consumption. Such water must comply with fifty or so physicochemical and microbiological parameters, yet it doesn't provide full safeguards for a person's health.
On the chlorine page, we shall look into the disadvantages of chemical disinfection. Present legal potable water standards are the result of the notion that our drinking water must, at all cost, be totally free of reputed pathogenic bacteria. Such stringent bacteriological standards make chemical disinfection inevitable.
To our knowledge, the standards limiting bacterial content were never based on epidemiology studies of a healthy person's tolerance level, but came into being as a result of the technical possibilities provided by chemical disinfection.
When confronting drinking water bacteriological standards to field experience, one discovers incoherent discrepancies. Considering the extreme sensitivity (or efficiency) of bacterial detection methods, it is hard to comply with these standards, even for natural water that contains no chemical disinfectant. Experience has shown that perfectly pure water samples can quickly be declared « non potable » if the samples were even slightly « contaminated » (nevertheless harmless) during their manipulation prior to analysis.
An example of such a tragedy has afflicted long-standing small-scale dairy farms that have produced good quality milk for generations. After a bacteriological analysis of their well water, some have seen their milk production permits revoked because a few streptococci or staphylococci were detected in the well water used to feed the dairy. Yet, the same wells have been feeding man and beast for generations without any health problem. Some of these dairies have been forced out of business because of the high cost of having to upgrade to centralized purified water conveyance.
With city water, unless we put our mouth directly to the tap to drink, it is in fact very rare that we drink water that is compliant to legal standards. To test water standards' real impact, you need only pour city water in an open dispenser, leave it exposed to 12 hours of daylight to eliminate its chlorine content, then pour some in a clean (but not disinfected) glass, and send it to a lab for testing. Repeat the experiment many times, and you will discover that a certain number of samples will be declared « non compliant ». In fact, to insure microbiological conformity in your glass and your plate after dishwashing, you would need to steam clean your dishes and utensils, serve them on sterile tablecloths, while wearing sterile gloves and a protective mask over your mouth, just like in hospital operating rooms.
To demand that the water in your glass be totally compliant to bacteriological standards is unrealistic. What laws state about potable water quality should only apply to that water that emanates from the mains water distribution network. Unfortunately, in certain countries, there is an abusive tendency to extend these prescriptions to the water contained in your glass, even in Belgium where the guarantee of water's compliance stops at the water meter. In France, the government has a right of say on the water quality in your glass, if you are not connected to a centralized water conveyance system, thus contravening its own law that is supposed to protect a citizen's private rights.
To speak out on the « dangerous custom » of using domestic rainwater becomes less credible in a country like Belgium, for example, where more than 750 000 people have been using filtered rainwater for personal hygiene, for many years. (Of those, 100 000 have been drinking it.)
Biocompatible water is a concept that was proposed by Joseph Országh in 1995  based on BEV criteria, which defines drinking water that conforms to values different from those of legally-compliant potable water, and whose prolonged consumption does not represent a health risk. Biocompatible water is never obtained by chemical disinfection. It is weakly mineralised (less than 250 mg/l), lightly acid to neutral and chemically « indifferent » or neutral in terms of redox properties, never oxidative (with respect to chemically pure water).
Yet, biocompatible water may also contain a few fecal-contaminated bacteria (less than a dozen per 100 ml) and over a hundred common germs. This bacterial content is very well tolerated by the human organism.
Current scientific knowledge provides us with guideline values (in contrast to rigid standards) for the quality of water, which's prolonged consumption will not constitute a health risk.
As to physicochemical standards, they are much stricter than for legally potable water. Here is a table of guideline values for biocompatible water. These are not legal standards, but values to be debated.
|Table of Guideline Values for Biocompatible Water
(compared to values for legally potable water)
|pH||5,0 - 7,5||6,5 – 8,5||6,5 – 9,2|
|rH2*||18 - 29||28 – 30||Not considered|
|k**||10 – 200 µS/cm||200 – 850||< 2 300|
|W***||3 – 30 µW||30 – 100 µW||Not considered|
To be biocompatible, water must be molecularly structured. Do not forget that life originated in salted seawater. The memory of this is encoded in our blood's serum. The ordered electrochemical structure of water is due to the dissolved ions' intense electric field. These ions come from electrolytic dissociation of the mineral salts. For biocompatibility, the whole of water's mass must be structured by the ions' electric field. In electrochemistry, we say that water is in the cybotactic region (the volume immediately surrounding a solute molecule (i.e. the cosphere) in which the local solvent structure is strongly affected by intermolecular forces between the solute and the solvent), as originally defined by Dr. E.W. Kosower. In the solute ions' cosphere, quadri-polar water molecules take on a determined order due to the solute's electric field. Instead of being disordered, like in chemically pure water, the molecules form an ordered array.
The solute's cosphere has a radius no longer that 10 Angstroms. It is therefore finite. Water is « structured » when neighbouring solutes' cospheres come into contact. This situation is attained when mineral salt concentration reaches a 10 mg/litre threshold. Beyond this value, water's structure does not increase, yet water becomes loaded with more ions. Below this level, it is only partly structured. This threshold value was established using the classical Debye-Hückel theory on electrolytes. This theory provides a mathematical model of electrolytic structures in a water medium.
That is the reason biocompatible water must contain at least 10 mg of mineral salts per litre.
Precipitation contains very little mineral salts. During rainwater's neutralisation in the (concrete) cistern, the water absorbs a light quantity of minerals. Its mineral content, although weak, is largely sufficient for an electrochemical structuring of the water.
About water quality for food purposes, there exists a preconceived notion that we need mineral salts in the drinking water we consume. On this basis, some people advise against the consumption of rainwater due to its weak mineral content, which would provoke a « demineralisation » of our body.
This notion, which is far from being scientifically founded, is largely invoked by the bottled water industry. In their commercials, we read or hear things like « mineral balance » with indications of the mineral content (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium etc.) that the human body needs every day. By association, it is suggested that this fundamental truth is directly related to the mineral content of the bottled water being publicized. The consumer is left to apply the simple rule of three to determine how much bottled water he must drink daily to cover his mineral needs. This type of publicity constitutes a falsehood by omission.
In fact, the fixing of mineral salts within the human body is a complex process, extremely difficult to measure experimentally because of the flux interactions. Minerals absorbed with drinking water only transit through our body. After a relatively short time (about 20 minutes, if we urinate), minerals are rejected with the urine, not necessarily those minerals absorbed 20 minutes earlier. It would be more precise to state that an almost equivalent quantity of minerals is eliminated with the urine. Our body's mineral needs are covered by our food and not by the water we drink.
As a whole, one can say that during normal feeding (i.e. when not fasting) the mineral salts contained in our drinking water do not participate in our body's tissue-building process (or at best, very marginally). However, the ions resulting from electrolytic dissociation of the dissolved salts in our water can participate in our body's biological processes, without being actually « absorbed ». A dynamic equilibrium settles in between the intake of salts through feeding and the discharge of salts through urination and perspiration. Generally speaking, to be available to the body, these minerals (ions) must be interlinked (chelated) with organic molecules. These chelated ions can only be found in our food, not in drinking water. Vegetables, fruit, milk products, meat, etc. constitute this source of absorbable mineral salts. Food supplements sold in pharmacies to make up for mineral deficiency in fact contain chelated metal ions, and are therefore bio-absorbed.
Drinking water's main role is to compensate water lost through evaporation, breathing and our excreta. Water that is lost in these ways carries with it our body's waste. Water we drink « washes » our inside. Thus, the greater our drinking water is loaded with minerals, the less it can play its role of purifying our body, and the greater our kidneys will need to work. That is not to say that we should drink distilled water or combined deionised/reverse-osmosis treated water, as some companies would have us believe.
If one could so easily absorb the calcium and magnesium found in hard water, wouldn't that mean the end of such ailments as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and magnesium deficiency? Similarly, the consumption of ferruginous water should mean the end of anaemia? Medical experience has not confirmed such assertions.
The human body's fixing of mineral salts contained in drinking water only comes into effect during prolonged fasting (beyond one week). That is the reason why during fasting, one should avoid drinking rainwater or any other weakly mineralised water.
Certain companies, claiming to adhere to the bioelectronics theory of Vincent (BEV) recommend drinking distilled water. This is one possible interpretation of Professor Louis-Claude Vincent's work. Yet there’s the theory, and there’s its practical implementation.
First, let’s examine the theory. Water distillation « wipes the slate clean » in terms of solutes (dissolved substances in the water). Such water does not contain electrolytes (mineral salts) and is therefore not molecularly structured (or clustered). In principle, unstructured water is not biocompatible. Due to its high affinity with the human body’s mineral ions, such water can, in principle, remove minerals from the body. So drinking distilled or demineralised water should not be healthy, at least theoretically.
Now, let’s look at the practical aspects. Asserting that such water « lacks the essential minerals required by the body » does not hold. The minerals in our drinking water are not absorbed by the body. For the most part, they are eliminated with the urine, 20 to 30 minutes after having been absorbed. Actually, the minerals our body needs are abundantly supplied by the food we eat. The minerals contained in drinking water help maintain an ion balance, in our cells, of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The proportions of these ions (Na+/K+ and Mg2+/Ca2+) determine and set the electric potential between the cell nuclei, cytoplasm and intercellular fluids. In this sense, they are essential. Fortunately, our kidney function compensates – within certain limits of course – the excesses and mineral deficiencies caused by faulty nourishment. Since sodium is a key element in the functioning of the body, popular salt-free diets can have adverse effects by upsetting our cells’ ion balance – and therefore – their electrochemical balance. On the other hand, excesses can also lead to unwanted side effects, in the long term.
But now, back to the issue of distilled water. Its lack of structure and minerals is instantly resorbed, in the mouth and especially in the stomach. Interactions with saliva and gastric juices restore the ion balance. Saliva and most especially gastric juices are particularly strong electrolytes that rapidly compensate for the lack of minerals. The mineral composition of the alimentary bolus passing through the stomach is barely influenced by the mineral content of the water we drink. For example, drinking alkaline water to « reduce the body’s acidity » has no effect on health. So drinking distilled water is always better than drinking water containing too many minerals that will overload the kidney function.
There is one exception. When fasting for more then a week, with only water and no food, it is best to drink biocompatible water containing at least 600 mg of minerals per litre.
A common reverse osmosis system may remove a large part of dissolved salts from water, however it leaves enough minerals to maintain water's molecular structure. Reverse osmosis filtered water is therefore biocompatible. Unfortunately, some companies propose reverse osmosis coupled with a deionisation system working with resins. Such water is comparable to distilled water. That is why some of said companies propose that their clients purchase standardized mineral salts to be dissolved in the purified water, in order to restore a certain mineral content. Yet, this is altogether unnecessary and costly because a simple reverse osmosis system already supplies a weakly mineralised water of equivalent quality, at a lesser cost. Read more on the production of biocompatible water at home.
Important notice : It is much easier to remove bacteria from water than to modify its physicochemical characteristics. Microfiltration removes almost all bacteria (99.9%), without requiring chemical disinfection. The physicochemical characteristics of correctly stored rainwater (in a concrete cistern) correspond to the guideline values for biocompatible water.
Therapeutic mineral water is obviously not considered here. Its dissolved salt content has its virtues. Yet its consumption must be temporary, as a healing aid. It would be an error to make it your principal drinking water. See your doctor on this matter.
Remember that an electrolyte content above 200 mg/l can overload our kidneys. However, a healthy person can tolerate a mineral content from 600 up to 800 mg/l without immediate problem. The risk is that we don't rightly know if our kidney functions are our body's « weak point » or not. More often than not, it is only when we get older that we realize if that is so – much too late in our life. Drinking biocompatible water is therefore a wise precaution.
All will agree that a healthy person should drink about 1.5 litres of water a day. This compensates the above-mentioned water loss, but is also necessary to feed the body's physiological processes.
For many years, I thought I drank enough water. When confronted with certain health (mainly heart) problems, my doctor pointed out a commonplace notion that I had overlooked. In the said 1.5 litres per day (more correctly, it should be 1/30th of our body weight), in principle, you shouldn't count all fluids ingested (e.g. soup, coffee, tea, juice and other drinks, etc.), nor the water contained in our food. These are absorbed by our body as food. Yet, we still need « free » water that is not loaded with dissolved substances. Therefore, nothing can replace pure (preferably biocompatible) water. It is interesting to read the work done on this subject by Dr. F. Batmanhelidj.
It may be a mistake to consider that water contained in soup or beer has the same physiological effect as good spring or well water. In both cases, we are looking at H2O. However, water that is tied up by solutes is not « free ». It is held in an electrostatic field that is called the cybotactic region, as previously described. In the process of osmotic exchange, our body needs a certain quantity of « free » or « mobile » water to maintain vital functions.
It is interesting to read the works of Dr. F. Batmanghelidj on this subject. According to him, even when we daily consume insufficient « free » water, our body extracts the needed water from our food, a phenomenon that is due to our adaptability as living creatures. But this puts our body in a state of physiological thirst. As this state settles in, we eventually lose the feeling of thirst. Undetected chronic thirst ends up altering our vital functions, which leads to health problems that even experienced doctors cannot guess the origin of. Each organism reacts differently to chronic thirst. Initially, we can simply feel a bit of fatigue and energy loss. After that, headaches and eventually migraines can set in that no medical analysis can properly diagnose. For some, joints will ache. For others, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, chronic constipation or even heart problems can be the anomaly. It is altogether obvious that such health problems cannot always be blamed on chronic thirst. But chronic thirst will certainly aggravate them. Sometimes, it is the sole culprit.
Chronic thirst leads to cell dehydration (premature aging, for one). Considering the large quantities of fluids usually absorbed (coffee, tea, fruit juice, sweet drinks, wine, beer, etc.), the process of thirst can easily be explained. You need only measure the osmotic pressure of these fluids and compare it to that of pure (biocompatible) water. You will discover that these « food » fluids are hypotonic. In the digestive system, they create an osmotic pressure loss that « pumps » the body's water towards the intestines and kidneys. Some even suspect that this generates a demineralisation problem.
In contradiction to preconceived views, it is precisely due to our body's absorption of highly mineralised or solute containing water that osmotic pressure exchanges somewhat « pump » mineral salts to our body's general excretion functions. This is a reason why weakly mineralised water is what our body needs, and that is what defines biocompatible water.
As mentioned above, I was convinced I drank enough water until one day, as scientist, I decided to monitor every millilitre of water I consumed. The result was surprising: I drank less that a half-litre per day, without any feeling whatsoever of thirst. From then on, I forced myself to drink about 1.5 litres per day. At first, I really had to force myself because I was really not thirsty. It took two weeks for my thirst sensitivity to adjust itself to this new diet, and the positive results quickly showed up on my health: constipation receded, kidney ailments progressively disappeared and cardiac functions became stable as palpitations disappeared.
Without necessarily being a panacea, I believe that increasing one's water consumption to recommended doses will improve one's health, sometimes spectacularly.
In all honesty, I must mention that these considerations are not shared by all nutritionists and dieticians. For example, a Belgian nutritionist, Alain Mahieu, asserts that absorption of excessive water quantities can also lead to health problems. He mentions examples of large quantity water drinkers who coincidentally, also suffer from various ailments (swelling of legs, water retention, abdominal bloat, general bloated sensation), in brief, such ailments that are supposed to be eliminated by consumption of large quantities of water.
We must recognize that interactions between our body and the water it absorbs are highly complex. The sometimes-contradictory opinions are often based on objective clinical observations. Even for a scientist, it's sometimes difficult to verify an assertion's merit. Various clinical observations are made on patients having differing biological and pathological parameters. Our knowledge of molecular biology is insufficient to clearly settle this matter.
As is often the case, there exists a middle ground, coupled with careful observation of one's own body functions. In terms of water consumption, the ideal is to find the capacity to feel real thirst. This feeling is easily lost with an unsuitable diet. You can initiate this water therapy, i.e. ingesting 1/30th of your body weight per day, for two weeks to start off. This will have no adverse health effects. As you continue, observe your body's reaction, and if needed, adjust your water absorption to attain a level of well-being. Between too much water and too little, it is our own well-being that will determine the proper middle ground.
Thus, after one week of water therapy, detect the moment when, even before absorbing the intended quantity, your body expresses clear refusal: no drinking pleasure. Another test consists in examining your urine colour: too clear = too much water absorbed; too dark = too little water absorbed. Caution: urine's colour varies from morning to night. For this test, you need to collect an entire day's worth of urine in one bottle and analyse the resulting overall colour.
Logically, the more water you consume, the greater the need to be careful of its quality. However, this notion can be somewhat tempered. At the risk of disappointing a few, I believe it is far preferable to drink the required quantity of water, even if it is lesser quality city water (preferably de-chlorinated by aeration in an open decanter) than to absorb too little high-quality biocompatible water, or to drink so-called « dynamised » or « magnetized » water. The first health initiative you must take needs to be on increasing water quantity consumption, before thinking about water quality, which presents more subtle differences.
Finally, more and more nutrition and dietary experts seem to recognize the scientific foundations of the bioelectronics theory of Vincent. Even if on the notion of water quantity, opinions diverge, there appears to be a consensus on the question of water quality: biocompatible water is weakly mineralised (less than 250 mg/l) lightly acid or neutral, and chemically « indifferent » or neutral (rH2 below 29).
In the field of drinking water, you often hear about water « dynamisation ». In fact, I am often asked about how to choose an apparatus that « dynamises » or « energizes » potable water.
The notion of water dynamisation appeared in the 1920's. Some researchers have worked on this question throughout the 20th century, giving rise to various dynamisation « principles » for treating water – mechanically (specific turbulences), acoustically (sound and music), electromagnetically (« magnetized » water), electrostatically, etc. – in order to restructure water « to restore its original vital properties ». Thus, water dynamisation purposes to stimulate beneficial effects on the human body and on one's health. These principles have led to the commercializing of various water « dynamisation » apparatuses, each working according to its own principle, but which's efficiency and pertinence are often dubious.
These apparatuses always come at enormously high prices when compared to their true fabrication cost! Their marketing will often highlight « proof » of their « miraculous » character, supported by clinical observations. One problem is how to discern the objective versus the subjective experience of these observations.
One « dynamisation » approach is to introduce structural information into water. For this, the essential condition – although insufficient – is the creation of a chaotic molecular state in water. Such a state is extremely short-lived: a few milliseconds. The information must therefore be introduced at this precise moment. Such a technical feat can be admitted in a framework of controlled turbulence that can generate a more or less recurrent colloidal state. With such an apparatus, the difficulty is twofold: the time span of colloidal formation and the nature of the introduced structural information.
Artificial turbulences in water also generate an electric potential that is perfectly measurable with a sensitive galvanometer. This is another approach to modifying water's structural information. But it's important to note that initial water quality (i.e. biocompatible) has to be respected.
Electrostatic interactions with crystalline surfaces can also influence water's structure. Some minerals – like natural zeolite or colloidal silica – have this property. This explains the remarkable properties of water emanating form certain natural springs.
Another approach consists in generating an information transfer by combined electrostatic / magnetic fields, pulsated at high frequency. The starting point is a crystalline structure within a solid matrix that we wish to transfer either directly into water or either on a crystalline support (made of very pure silica for example) that is introduced thereafter into water needing to be modified. An example of this process is found in the manufacturing of Plocher products.
The simplest and most common approach is information transfer by water's contact with a terra-cotta support in such a way that crystals form on the surface, with an intense electrostatic field that will tend to modify water's structure. Very few top-level research labs are equipped to monitor and control such crystal formations. Even electron microscopy seems unable to detect such formations. I seriously doubt that ceramic manufacturers dispose of such scanning tunnelling microscopes. I can however accept simple pertinent observations that have led to interesting results. That is the best we can admit without more substantial proof. About dynamisation with terra cotta, I can perfectly accept an information transfer by direct contact with water, in a terra-cotta decanter for example. I am however sceptical of the feasibility of water modification with a ceramic plate or platter on which a pitcher or glass of the said water (or other fluid) would be placed for a just few seconds. With such ceramic water dynamisation systems, I have witnessed taste tests done with a public that asks no better than to believe the promoter.
The problem with these methods is their empirical and often non-reproducible nature. Nevertheless, even this can produce interesting solutions, if done in all honesty and transparency. This is where the problem lies with inventors of these apparatuses. I have had the opportunity of meeting a few, in order to better understand their invention. In all cases, without exception, I only obtained a pseudo-scientific and totally incoherent sales pitch. I am totally willing to recognize observed experimented facts. But if coherent scientific explanations cannot be produced and the technical nature of the apparatus sold cannot be provided, especially considering the existence of copyright laws, then proper validation of the system cannot occur, and the commercial enterprise can be suspected as a total scam.
There are more and more such apparatuses on the market. Whatever improvements these bring to water are undetectable by conventional chemical and electrochemical analyses – including bioelectronics. It's important to note that these systems – except on very rare exceptions – don't modify the chemical and electrochemical (including bioelectronic) properties of water. This is not to say that some of these inventions have no impact on water quality. Qualitative analyses by fractal crystallization (some call this sensitive crystallization) effectively detect certain modifications.
Yet, those properties are the ones that set the necessary conditions for the safeguard of one's health. In light of this, there is no advantage to dynamising mediocre-quality water (in terms of chemical and electrochemical properties) at great expense. Those who allege making biocompatible water from mediocre city water without prior modifying its chemical composition are deceiving their clients. At the price some of these apparatuses are sold, one may even consider them a fraud.
Some salesmen will often invoke the notion of water's molecular structuring (as previously described) without having any electrochemical understanding of the process. Indeed, chemically pure water is not structured. This is the case of distilled water as well as demineralised water. Deionising apparatuses are rather costly when compared to a simple reverse osmosis system. Supramolecular assembly occurs under the effect of electrolytes in water. These electrolytes are formed by electrolytic dissociation of mineral salts. The intense electrostatic field of ions aligns quadrupole water molecules (having two positive charges and two negative charges distributed at the vertices of a tetrahedron) to form ordered structures. This is the first condition of biocompatibility. The objective is achieved once all of the water molecules are aligned in the electric fields of the dissolved ions (found in the solvation shell). According to the classical (Debye-Hückel) theory on electrolytes, the ion cloud formation around solvation shells of neighbouring ions takes place in a mineral salt concentration above 10 mg per litre. Thus, for example, water containing 15 to 20 mg/l of minerals is already biocompatible.
The introduction of particles such as pesticide residues, detergents, medicinal drugs, organic compounds, etc. will modify the structure initially induced by dissolved ions. The addition of too many minerals will also modify this structure, but differently. Both cases steer away from biocompatibility. Water dynamisation apparatuses purpose to correct the water's structure and bring it back to below 100, 50, 20 or 15 mg/l of electrolyte content, but only in the absence of other pollutants. As long as these pollutants remain in the water, or when there are too many minerals, it is not reasonable to expect conclusive results. The underlying reason lies in the enormous electric field intensity of ions situated at a few Angstroms distance. These are undetectable with electronic or electrochemical means (by external magnetic or electrostatic fields, or anodic dissolution of trace metals). Fractal crystallisation tests (including ice crystal tests) only show ionic rearrangements that may modify nucleation foci of water crystals. This is the molecular basis of magnetic apparatuses designed to precipitate calcium within home dishwashing and laundry appliances. With regards to sensitive crystallisation, it is up to the observer to distinguish between the facts observed and interpretations inspired by esoteric considerations.
With a valid water dynamisation apparatus, the water to be dynamised would have to be biocompatible to start off. Here again, there is no advantage to dynamising mediocre-quality water like city water (this time, in terms of water structure). It's like placing a gold ring in a fish' snout to make it look nicer.
To continue reading, go to page on Chlorine and UV Sterilization
Those who are interested on the increasingly popular subject of alkaline water, hydrogenated water, « Kangen water » or ionized water, all produced by electrolysis, and said to have « miraculous » properties, can look up our page on Hydrogen Water.