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Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP)

What is oxidation-reduction potential?

Oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) measures the ability of a lake or river to cleanse itself or break down waste products, such as contaminants and dead plants and animals. When the ORP value is high, there is lots of oxygen present in the water. This means that bacteria that decompose dead tissue and contaminants can work more efficiently.

In general, the higher the ORP value, the healthier the lake or river is. However, even in healthy lakes and rivers, there is less oxygen (and therefore lower ORP values) as you get closer to the bottom sediments (mud; see the picture below of a lake bottom). This is because there are many bacteria working hard in the sediments to decompose dead tissue, and they use up a lot of the available oxygen.

In fact, oxygen disappears very quickly in the bottom mud (often within a centimeter or two) and ORP falls quickly.Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) is measured in addition to dissolved oxygen because ORP can provide scientists with additional information of the water quality and degree of pollution, if present. Also, there are other elements that can function like oxygen (in terms of chemistry) and contribute to increased ORP.

Why does oxidation-reduction potential matter?

ORP depends on the amount of dissolved oxygen that is in the water, as well as the amount of other elements that function similarly to oxygen. Though not technically correct, oxygen and other elements that contribute to high ORP effectively help ‘eat’ things that we don’t want in the water – such as contaminants and dead tissues.

When ORP is low, dissolved oxygen is low, toxicity of certain metals and contaminants can increase, and there is lots of dead and decaying material in the water that cannot be cleared or decomposed. This is obviously not a healthy environment for fish or bugs. In healthy waters, ORP should read high between 300 and 500 millivolts. In the North, we might expect low ORP in waters that receive sewage inputs or industrial waste.

How do we measure oxidation-reduction potential? It is measured directly in the lake or river water that you are investigating using an ORP sensor or ORP Meter. ORP is measured in millivolts (mV) and the more oxygen that is present in the water, the higher the ORP reading is. ORP can either be above zero or below zero.

References/For More Information

Horne, A. J., and Goldman, C. R. 1994. Limnology, 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill, Inc. 576 pp. Wetzel, R. G. 1983. Limnology, 2nd edition. Saunders College Publishing. 760 pp. wikipwdia

RO vs UV Purifier: Which One is Right for You?

RO vs UV Purifier: With pollution levels increasing over the globe, access to clean drinking water is becoming exceedingly difficult. However, thanks to water purifiers and continuous advancement in them, it is getting easier to get clean drinking water to your home. While water purification technology has gone through many improvements in the recent past, two types of water purifiers that stand out are RO and UV water purifier.

As per our Topic “RO vs UV Purifier: Which one is right for you?” we can see that Both come with their own pros and cons. This often creates confusion among consumers when thinking of buying a new water purifier. Understanding the difference between RO and UV purifiers can help you in evaluating which fits your requirement the best. Read on to find pointers that sheds light on the difference between the two.

  • The Working Principle

Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems use a semi-permeable membrane that removes dissolved salts, large particles as well as most types of bacteria and germs. This is done by moving molecules from a region of high concentration to one of low concentration, using pressure to push water across the membrane, leaving the impurities behind in each stage.

Ultra Violet (UV) systems use UV rays to perforate the harmful pathogens in the water. By directly attacking the genetic core of bacteria, it kills the bacteria.

Verdict: RO purifiers can reduce the total dissolved salt content of the water and remove most bacteria but may not be as effective in killing some types of bacteria. UV purifiers, on the other hand, maybe good to kill the invisible bacteria but may not be as effective for lowering the dissolved particles in the water.

  • Maintenance Hassles and Costs

The quality of RO determines its maintenance costs. A low-quality RO compromises on its filters which thus require regular replacement for effective results. Whereas a good quality RO is certain to give 100% pure water and thereby less maintenance hassle. However, even the good RO systems would need at least some or all of the filters being changed after one year.

UV water purifier, on the other hand, functions using a UV lamp. While there is no definitive way to find out if the UV lamp is working or not, most experts usually recommend changing it after one year. Some purifiers also come with UV alarms that let you know when the lamp is not working.

Verdict: Both RO and UV purifiers have a similar maintenance cost. Buy a machine that uses good quality filters and always use company recommended filters when replacing them to ensure the efficacy of the purifier. 

  • The Water Source

As already mentioned above, while RO systems remove the bacteria and other impurities, UV kills them. Thus, RO purifiers also use a pre-filter in most cases which can handle highly impure water with high levels of dissolved particles. UV purifier, on the other hand, does not use a pre-filter to remove physical impurities.

Verdict: While a UV purifier is great for killing invisible bacteria that may pass through the membranes in the RO systems, it cannot remove dissolved salts from water. For that, you need an RO purifier.

  • Water Consumption and Wastage

Since UV purifiers kill bacteria by passing water through UV lamps, it results in zero wastage of water. However, an RO purifier eliminates contaminated water at every stage of purification. This leads to a considerable loss of water.

Verdict: RO purifiers waste more water than UV purifiers. While this wasted water may not be fit to drink, you can use it for other chores of the house such as cleaning the house, washing clothes, and watering the plants.

Choosing the right type of purifier may be challenging. Consider factors such as type of water supply, level of contamination and other factors to select the right type of purifier. Whether you buy RO water purifier online or a UV purifier, make sure you choose one that promises good quality water and least maintenance hassles. You can also select a RO+UV purifier to get the advantages of both the technologies.

Alkaline Water

What is alkaline water?

You may have heard various health claims about alkaline water. Some say it can help slow the aging process, regulate your body’s pH level, and prevent chronic diseases like cancer. But what exactly is alkaline water, and why all the hype?

The “alkaline” in alkaline water refers to its pH level. The pH level is a number that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. For example, something with a pH of 1 would be very acidic and something with a pH of 13 would be very alkaline.

Alkaline water has a higher pH level than regular drinking water. Because of this, some advocates of alkaline water believe it can neutralize the acid in your body.

Normal drinking water generally has a neutral pH of 7. Alkaline water typically has a pH of 8 or 9. However, pH alone isn’t enough to impart substantial alkalinity to water.

Alkaline water must also contain alkaline minerals and negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP). ORP is the ability of water to act as a pro- or antioxidant. The more negative the ORP value, the more antioxidizing it is.

Why Alkaline Water?

Our body needs a delicate acid-alkaline balance. Unfortunately, most of the food that we eat, like meat, dairy, processed foods, and sugar, is rich in acidic substances.

This creates an acidic atmosphere in our body and as a result of this our body tries to adjust for the acidity by borrowing from alkaline reserves like bones and teeth, which eventually results in chronic diseases like weaker bones, Arthritis, Hyper Acidity, Gastritis, etc.

In order to keep the right acid-alkaline balance, we should feed our body with food & drinks that are alkaline in nature. And one of the easiest ways to maintain this acid-alkaline balance is drinking alkaline water.

Benefits of Alkaline Water?

• ALKALIZING: restores pH balance by reducing acidity levels in the body

• ANTIOXIDANT: helps to neutralize free radicals that can cause cellular and DNA damage

• SUPER-HYDRATING: smaller water cluster size allows water to penetrate cells more easily

• MINERAL RICH: contains higher concentrations of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are vital to human health

• OXYGEN RICH: increases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the blood

• DETOXIFYING: eliminates mucus build-up on colon walls, thus improving the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients

• CLEANSING: contributes to flushing out acidic waste and toxins that have accumulated in the body over time

• ENERGIZING: negatively charged hydroxyl ions contribute to increased energy, mental clarity, and overall alertness

• WEIGHT CONTROL: reduces the body’s need for fatty tissues which protect vital organs from acidity by storing acidic waste in less critical parts of the body

• CLEAN WATER: pre-filtration cartridge inside the ionizer removes chlorine and other common pollutants present in tap water

• REMOVES PESTICIDES: strong alkaline water with a pH over 10.5 helps to remove pesticides from fresh fruits and vegetables

Does it really work?

Alkaline water is somewhat controversial. Many health professionals say there isn’t enough research to support the many health claims made by users and sellers. Differences in research findings may be related to the types of alkaline water studies.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular water is best for most people. They state that there is no scientific evidence that fully verifies the claims made by supporters of alkaline water.

However, there are a few studies that suggest alkaline water might be helpful for certain conditions.

For example, a 2012 studyTrusted Source found that drinking naturally carbonated artesian-well alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 may help deactivate pepsin, the main enzyme that causes acid reflux.

Another study suggested that drinking alkaline ionized water may have benefits for people with high blood pressurediabetes, and high cholesterol.

more recent study that included 100 people found a significant difference in whole blood viscosity after consuming high-pH water compared to regular water after a strenuous workout. Viscosity is the direct measurement of how efficiently blood flows through the vessels.

Those who consumed high-pH water reduced viscosity by 6.3 percent compared to 3.36 percent with standard purified drinking water. This means blood flowed more efficiently with alkaline water. This can increase oxygen delivery throughout out the body.

However, more research is needed beyond these small studies. In particular, research is needed to answer other claims made by alkaline water supporters.

Despite the lack of proven scientific research, proponents of alkaline water still believe in its proposed health benefits. These include:

  • anti-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body)
  • colon-cleansing properties
  • immune system support
  • hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties
  • weight loss
  • cancer resistance

They also argue that soft drinks, which are notoriously acidic, have very positive ORPs leading to many health problems, while properly ionized and alkalinized waters have highly negative ORPs. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has a slightly negative ORP.

Possible side effects and risks of alkaline water

Although alkaline drinking water is considered safe, it may produce negative side effects.

Some examples of negative side effects include the lowering of natural stomach acidity, which helps kill bacteria and expel other undesirable pathogens from entering your bloodstream.

Additionally, an overall excess of alkalinity in the body may cause gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations. Too much alkalinity may also agitate the body’s normal pH, leading to metabolic alkalosis, a condition that may produce the following symptoms:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hand tremors
  • muscle twitching
  • tingling in the extremities or face
  • confusion

Alkalosis can also cause a decrease in free calcium in the body, which can affect bone health. However, the most common cause of hypocalcemia isn’t from drinking alkaline water, but from having an underactive parathyroid gland.

Natural or artificial?

Water that’s naturally alkaline occurs when water passes over rocks — like springs — and picks up minerals, which increase its alkaline level.

However, many people who drink alkaline water buy alkaline water that’s been through a chemical process called electrolysis.

This technique uses a product called an ionizer to raise the pH of regular water. Makers of ionizers say that electricity is used to separate molecules in the water that are more acidic or more alkaline. The acidic water is then funneled out.

Still, some doctors and researchers say these claims aren’t backed by quality research. The water quality of the original source, before ionization, is crucial to ensuring contaminants aren’t present in the drinking water.

Some scientists advise using reverse-osmosis to adequately purify water before connecting an alkaline ionizer, which can raise pH and add minerals.

A study published by the World Health OrganizationTrusted Source cautions against drinking water with low mineral content, which is created by reverse osmosis, distillation, and other methods (without additional mineralization) on a regular basis.

Where do you get it?

Alkaline water can be bought in many grocery or health food stores. It can also be found online.

Water ionizers are sold in many large chain stores as well.

You can also make your own at home. Even though lemon and lime juices are acidic, they contain minerals that can create alkaline byproducts once digested and metabolized. Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to a glass of water can make your water more alkaline as your body digests it. Adding pH drops or baking soda is another way to make water more alkaline.

If water is properly filtered to remove contaminants, ionized and re-mineralized, or purchased from a quality source, there’s no evidence to suggest a limitation on how much alkaline water can be consumed daily.

Is it safe?

The issue that many health professionals have with alkaline water isn’t its safety, but rather the health claims that are made about it.

There isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the use of alkaline water as a treatment for any health condition. Medical experts warn against believing all the marketing claims.

Drinking natural alkaline water is generally considered safe, since it contains natural minerals.

However, you should use caution with artificial alkaline water, which likely contains fewer good minerals than its high pH would have you believe, and may contain contaminants. Also keep in mind, drinking too much alkaline water may leave you deficient in minerals.