Raw water trend causing controversy over health concerns

Depending on who you ask, “raw water” either nourishes your body in a way tap water can’t - or poses a severe health risk. 

“I feel better, my system’s better,” Tonya June Moore told ABC15, adding she hasn’t drank water from the tap in five years.  

Moore said she started drinking unfiltered and untreated natural spring water exclusively for the health benefits and because of her concerns about added chlorine and fluoride in municipal water systems. The city of Phoenix provides drinking water to more than 1.5-million people in the Valley and adds “small amounts” of chlorine and fluoride to sterilize the water and prevent tooth decay. Health agencies say the trace amounts are not harmful to people. 

The “raw water” movement created a splash this week after companies began collecting and selling untreated spring water on store shelves in certain states.

“I can’t think of a more potentially dangerous trend,” said Dr. Frank Lovecchio, a medical toxicologist with Banner Health. 

“We’ve taken it for granted that we get purified water and we have clean water - that’s one of the basic needs in the world - and I think we’re taking a step backwards trying to go with this,” he said. 

Websites like FindASpring.com guide people to natural springs near them to collect drinking water. In Arizona, several are listed in the Tonto National Forest.

Public information officer Carrie Templin said the springs are not tested and could contain harmful bacteria. The forest service strongly urges people to treat any water they find, she said. 

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