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Raw water—is it the ultimate thirst quencher or a health risk? Put simply, raw water is untreated and unfiltered spring water. The trend traces its beginnings to Silicon Valley, but it is spreading. As people eschew tap water for various reasons and look for "healthier" sources, they’re gravitating to bottled raw water. Is it healthy, or are there risks inherent in untreated water? As the demand increases (along with the price), it’s growing increasingly important to weigh the pros and cons.

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1. What is raw water?

This trend merely refers to untreated water. If you visit the mountains, cup your hands, and use them to drink from a stream, you’re drinking what people on the cutting edge now dub “raw water.” Before taps and bottled water plants, everyone drank raw water. Coinciding with the raw food movement, this movement has inspired various companies to bottle raw water and sell it to consumers looking for purity—water free from modern chemicals and processing. Supporters of the movement believe it is a healthy alternative to tap water and filtered bottled water. Types of water considered raw include rainwater, groundwater, water from lakes and streams, and water derived from infiltration wells.

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