Is softened water safe to drink?
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 85 percent of the United States geography has hard water. While many consumers use a water softener so they can enjoy the benefits of soft water, there is some confusion about whether softened water is safe to drink.
Some consumers are concerned that drinking softened water will increase the level of sodium in their diet. Despite the myth, softening your water will not result in salty-tasting water. Sodium bicarbonate, which is different from sodium chloride (table salt), is formed through the water softening process.
The amount of sodium added to water from the water softening process depends on the hardness of the water supply. When very hard water (greater than 10 grains of hardness per gallon) is softened, between 20mg to 30mg of sodium is added to every 8 ounces of water dependent on the measured hardness. For comparison, an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk contains about 120mg of sodium, a 12-ounce can of diet soda contains about 40mg, and an 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 25mg.
The majority of the sodium in most diets–more than 90 percent–comes from sources such as processed foods and table salt. The recommended daily allowance for sodium consumption is 2,400 mg. Drinking two quarts of softened water would add 160mg to 240mg of sodium to your diet. Individuals concerned about sodium in their diet should consult their physician about effective means of reducing overall sodium consumption, which will probably involve diet change. It is unlikely that a physician would discourage anyone from drinking softened water.
Because water softeners are designed to address the problem of hard water and do not remove other water contaminents such as organic matter, many of our water softener customers also use a drinking water system. Combining the benefits of a softener and a drinking water sytem are, for many, the best solution to healthy water for your home and your body (see Benefits of Drinking Water Systems).
Learn more about the Methods and Benefits of Water Treatment.