For over three years, people living in Flint, Michigan have not had access to clean drinking water.
Most of us take for granted the fact that the water that comes out of our kitchen faucets and water fountains is free of disease-causing bacteria and contaminants. For some, however, the inclusion of fluoride in our clean and safe drinking water is not evidence of a government providing a modicum of preventative dental care, but of mind control. For these few, there is a solution in raw water.
What is raw water? Simply put, it’s “unfiltered, untreated water bottled directly from springs and streams”. In other terms? It’s dirty water. This is what Dr. Donald Hensrud, the director of the Healthy Living Program at the Mayo Clinic, said about raw water:
“Without water treatment, there’s acute and then chronic risks,” Dr. Hensrud said, including E. coli bacteria, viruses, parasites and carcinogenic compounds that can be present in untreated water. “There’s evidence all over the world of this, and the reason we don’t have those conditions is because of our very efficient water treatment.”
Untreated water, like these bottles from Live Water, should be discarded after a few months, founder Mukhande Singh (né Christopher Sanborn) said: “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green.”
Drinking unprocessed and unfiltered water is not new. According to the New York Times, “The crusade against adding fluoride to public water began in the 1950s among Americans who saw danger in the protective measures that had been adopted over decades to protect the populace from disease and contamination.” But now this fringe conspiracy theory is entering mainstream grocery stores and health food chains, thanks to Silicon Valley startups, including, Doug Evans, founder of the defunct juicing company Juicero. He is joined in his fervor against fluoridated water by Alex Jones, founder of the right-wing website Infowars, who long argues that fluoride was added to water to make people more docile.
Why It’s Hot
Silicon Valley and startups are celebrated for innovation and problem solving, but there is an increasing awareness at the bubble formed by these communities of privilege operating with little oversight and regulation. As we move forward with new ideas and creative problem solving, we must think about the ethics of our actions and work.
The Daily Beast article sums up why this is so important:
Every year, 2 million people die worldwide because of waterborne diarrheal diseases due to lack of safe drinking water. No doubt the 1 million victims of Yemen’s cholera outbreak would have given anything to turn on a tap and know what was coming out wouldn’t sicken or kill them. Citizens of developed nations like the United States have such plentiful access to safe drinking water that we think nothing of using it to bathe and wash, as well. There is no example of blinkered, mindless privilege more sickening, both literally and figuratively, than having access to such a huge societal good—but deciding you’re better off without.
Read more at the Daily Beast and New York Times