What are the metabolic concerns associated with hard water?

What are the metabolic concerns associated with hard water?

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If humans can maintain a consistent blood pH, then what problems does alkalized water cause us?

Why is it recommended that we filter and boil hard water? Is the issue that hard water can affect the pH of our blood?

Right now, there is no evidence shows hard water can cause any healthy problem.

Previously people were concerned about the high mineral content, such as calcium and magnesium, may cause disease such like cardiovascular disease.

But from the report World Health Organization published in 2003 Hardness in Drinking-water, it says "Although a number of epidemiological studies have shown a statistically significant inverse relationship between the hardness of drinking-water and cardiovascular disease, the available data are inadequate to permit the conclusion that the association is causal. No health-based guideline value for water hardness is proposed."

And the United States National Research Council thinks hard water can supply the calcium and magnesium ions that dietary need. Hard Water Hardness Calcium Magnesium Water Corrosion Mineral Scale

And at the same time, I have to say the filters cannot directly work for hard water because ions cannot be isolate by filter. We can filter the precipitation after boil the water. Boiled water is better because tap water may contain microbes in some country, that will be harm for our health. And also you don't want to feel some "precipitation" while you drinking water. That's it.

For my personal view, I prefer soft water because it tastes a little bit sweet.

Acid Rain and its Byproduct: Hard Water

The whole planet has a smoke ring around it The Pollution Cycle e ffects all of the water of our planet. When rainwater falls from the clouds as rain, it falls through air filled with bacteria, dust, smoke, smog, chemicals, minerals, gases, and radioactive fallout. By the time it reaches the earth it is so saturated with acids, decaying matter, dirt, and chemicals that under a microscope, it has a yellowish-white tint.

Let’s examine the real price of burning fossil fuel. Acid rain is a broad term referring to a mixture of wet and dry deposition (deposited material) from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids — resulting from the burning of fossil fuel. Acid rain occurs when sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide react in the atmosphere with water and other chemicals to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid.

Acid rain causes a cascade of effects that harms individual fish and/or reduce fish populations it can completely eliminate fish species from a body of water it decreases biodiversity. Acid rain changed the pH of the ocean, which is 30% more acidic than it was before fossil fuel-burning machines became widespread acid rain changed the pH of rivers and lakes acid rain changed the pH of the human race (chronic metabolic acidosis).

The damage from acid rain extends to land animals, affecting their behavior and feeding patterns. Acid rain kills trees, crops, and other vegetation. It accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, thus buildings, statues, and sculptures corrodes copper, galvanized steel, and lead piping damages such manufactured things as automobiles and reduces soil fertility. Acid rain raises the level of heavy metals, many of which are carcinogenic, teratogenic, mutagenic, reproductive toxins, or neurological toxins in drinking water supplies. Commonly called, “hard water,” the farther the acidic water travels to get to its destination the harder it gets! The world’s drinking water is now loaded with acids, and quite often: high levels of inorganic minerals!

Most of the minerals that are in hard water do not assimilate in the body. What the human body cannot utilize or excrete, it must store. Consequently, the inorganic minerals found in hard water and the food we eat are stored and in time they take their toll in the form of hardening of the arteries, stones with the kidneys, ureters, gall bladder, joints and an etiologic factor in enlargement of the adipose cell (fat cell). To be one hundred percent healthy, the human body must be free of unnatural acids and excess inorganic minerals.

When inorganic minerals are ingested (in food and/or water) a condition known as leukocytosis occurs within the body in thirty minutes to three hours after consuming them. Leukocytosis (a proliferation of white blood cells) is the body’s first line of defense against foreign and harmful body substances—in this case, the inorganic minerals.


Nitric and sulfuric acids act as powerful electrolytes drinking water now has extra electrolytes (volatile aberrant acids) and the water itself is now a highly conductive medium. The conductivity of these volatile acids overrules the bicarbonate electrolyte salts, chloride, and ortho-silicic acid thus creating an open channel of conductivity! This acidic water enters the stomach, which in turn distributes acidic water to the cells!

The sulfuric acid [H2SO4] and nitric acid [HNO3] mitigate the carbonic acid/bicarbonate buffering system of the blood. The sulfuric acid and nitric acid also transmutes ortho-silicic acid (H4SiO4) into a toxic unknown acid, which inhibits the bioavailability of ortho-silicic acid.

Natures equation: H2O + CO2 <=> H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3 (hydrogen and bicarbonate)

New deadly equation: H2O + H2SO4 + HNO3 + CO2 <=> unknown invasive acid

Natures equation: H3O+ + OH− + SiO2 <=> H4SiO4 (ortho-silicic acid)

New deadly equation: H2SO4 + HNO3 + H4SiO4 <=> unknown invasive acid

So basically, a hydrogen overload will impede bicarbonate production and it will revert existing bicarbonate ions into carbonic acid: game over! With impaired bicarbonate production and depleted bicarbonate reserves, the pancreas loses the ability to maintain the pH balance of body fluids. Insufficient amounts of bicarbonates in our blood and plasma impedes our body’s ability to manage (neutralize and dump) the acids we consume and the acids produced by our body. This is known to be the root cause of many diseases. Since the body cannot manage the acids, acidic waste accumulates, these acid wastes show up as symptoms of metabolic acidosis, i.e. disease!

To add insult to injury, tap water is chemically treated with a variety of products that can include chlorine, bromine, chloramine (ammonia with chlorine), hydrofluorosilicic acid (industrial grade fluoride), acrylamide, soluble silicates, aluminum sulfate, phosphate, polymers, hydrated lime, potassium permanganate, and many other chemicals. Interesting side note: silicon reacts with halogens (chlorine, bromine, fluorine, chloramine) to form compounds of the form SiX4, where X represents any common halogen, which destroys the bioavailability of ortho-silicic acid, which can dramatically increase the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The addition of any kind of chlorine to water creates hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids. The type of fluoride added to our municipal water supply is not sodium fluoride it is hydrofluorosilicic acid (industrial waste fluoride). Chlorine and bromine react to create haloacetic acid. The addition of chloramine to water reacts to create five ido-acids. When chloramine combines with hydrofluorosilicic acid it creates ammonia-fluorosilicic acid, which is so corrosive that it will leech lead from plumbing systems. This is on top of the sulfuric and nitric acids, the two main components of acid rain.

Naturally occurring acids that are designed to be in the body are essential for good health e.g. the body produces hydrochloric and gastric acids to aid in digestion lactic acid is fuel used by the muscles during prolonged exercise and it stimulates your endocrine system to produce our body’s own natural anti-aging serum, human growth hormone keto acids are especially important in biology as they are involved in the Krebs citric acid cycle and in glycolysis carbonic acid produces bicarbonate ions. Fulvic, humic, and ulmic acids found in food are electrolytes and antioxidants. Citric acid is another weak organic acid and a natural component of many fruits, it’s can aid in the absorption of calcium and other minerals.

However, habitually consuming invasive acids over long periods of time that were not designed to be in the body will eventually cause acid overload and the body will start to leach base minerals out of the bones to neutralize the acids when the pH of the body is off every metabolic process is hampered resulting in metabolic acidosis.


Let’s examine a few more of the many consequences of acid rain and hard water! Aluminum is the second most prevalent mineral in the Earth’s crust and iron is the third. Trace amounts of aluminum and iron were a natural component in surface-water (freshwater) and ground-water (spring water). Acid rain releases aluminum and iron exponentially.

1. Excess aluminum destroys the bio-zeta potential of water, which impedes the carrying capacity of water to transport nutrients in agricultural irrigation water it causes blood to coagulate and deposit plaque and inorganic minerals in arteries and other parts of the body it impedes the carrying capacity of the lymph to transport nutrients and wastes.

2. Acid rain releases mass quantities of inorganic iron, thus almost every human on this planet faces systemic inorganic iron overload

This iron overload has also increased dramatically since the introduction of “inorganic iron fortified” white flour products (breads, cereals, crackers, chips and other processed foods). Other possible causes of high iron levels include: cooking in iron pots or pans taking multivitamins and mineral supplements (as both of these frequently have iron in them). Another common cause of excess iron is the regular consumption of alcohol, which will increase the absorption of any iron in your diet. Vitamin C also increases iron absorption.

Once inorganic iron has entered the body there is normally no physiological mechanism for disposing of excess inorganic iron (with menstrual bleeding in women excluded). Inorganic iron antagonizes copper and chromium, which knocks out insulin and glucose causing Type 3 diabetes. Inorganic iron gradually accumulates in various tissues which can induce morbidity. Iron overload accelerates every major disease we know of, and it causes many of the pathologies associated with liver and cardiovascular disease. If your iron level is high, the easiest and most effective solution is to supplement your diet with Shilajit.

Foods contain two types of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin. It is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Beef contains the highest proportion of heme iron – about 69% of a steak’s total iron content is the heme type. Pork (fresh and processed forms like bacon and ham) is roughly 39% heme iron, while chicken and fish are only about 26% heme.

Iron is an essential mineral that has several important functions, including carrying oxygen in the blood and delivering it to all of your body’s tissues. But iron also has a dark side it can act as a pro-oxidant, and at high levels it increases free radical formation in the body, which damages proteins, fats, and DNA in body cells. Iron overload also contributes to the oxidation of LDL cholesterol compounds, a process that promotes the formation of artery-clogging plaque. Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Most cases of systemic non-heme iron overload are associated with drinking water high in iron, eating produce grown in hard water, consuming white flour products, and taking supplements high in iron.

Some people with systemic inorganic iron overload never have symptoms. Early signs and symptoms often overlap with those of other common conditions.

Later signs and symptoms of the disease may include:
- Diabetes
- Loss of sex drive
- Impotence
- Heart failure
- Liver failure


“Water hardness (excess inorganic minerals in solution) is the underlying cause of many, if not all, of the diseases resulting from poisons in the intestinal tract. These (hard minerals) pass from the intestinal walls and get into the lymphatic system, which delivers all of its products to the blood, which in turn, distributes to all parts of the body. This is the cause of much human disease.” – Dr. Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic

Lymphatic system, a subsystem of the circulatory system in the vertebrate body, consists of a complex network of vessels, tissues, and organs. The lymphatic system helps maintain fluid balance in the body by collecting excess fluid and particulate matter from tissues and depositing them in the bloodstream. In addition to serving as a drainage network, the lymphatic system helps protect the body against infection by producing white blood cells called lymphocytes, which help rid the body of disease-causing microorganisms.

The average person drinks about a gallon of water per day. Adding up the cups of coffee, tea, soft drinks, food, and water, this gallon isn’t too much. At a gallon-a-day, the average person drinks up to 450 12-ounce glasses of solids during their life. Think of it: 450 glasses of mineral solids in your system during a lifetime.

Hard acidic water is one of your body’s greatest enemies, it can strike down a human body, causing crippled joints, repeated surgeries, enlarged hearts, hardened arteries, gall stones, kidney stones, hearing problems, and forgetful minds, destroying what should be a person’s golden years of life.

The facts are patently obvious water contamination is the world’s number one health dilemma. Over 70% of our body is water, and we need clean properly mineralized pristine water every day to rejuvenate our system and flush out toxins. Water is the foundation of health, and if the foundation is poor, the entire structure is jeopardized.

Hardness of Water

In scientific terms, water hardness is generally the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in water. But in layman's terms, you may notice water hardness when your hands still feel slimy after washing with soap and water, or when your drinking glasses at home become less than crystal clear. Learn a lot more about water hardness on the Water Science School site.

Water Hardness

The simple definition of water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium. You may have felt the effects of hard water, literally, the last time you washed your hands. Depending on the hardness of your water, after using soap to wash you may have felt like there was a film of residue left on your hands. In hard water, soap reacts with the calcium (which is relatively high in hard water) to form "soap scum". When using hard water, more soap or detergent is needed to get things clean, be it your hands, hair, or your laundry.

One of the most common causes of cloudy dishes and glassware is hard water.

Credit: Kinetico Water Systems

Have you done a load of dishes in the dishwasher, taken out the glasses, and noticed spots or film on them? This is more hard-water residue—not dangerous, but unsightly. Many industrial and domestic water users are concerned about the hardness of their water. When hard water is heated, such as in a home water heater, solid deposits of calcium carbonate can form. This scale can reduce the life of equipment, raise the costs of heating the water, lower the efficiency of electric water heaters, and clog pipes. And, yes, mineral buildup will occur in your home coffee maker too, which is why some people occasionally run vinegar (an acid) through the pot. The acidity of vinegar helps to dissolve mineral particles by making them charged. These newly charged particles become attracted to the positive and negative charges in water and can be washed away easily.

But hard water can have some benefits, too. Humans need minerals to stay healthy, and the World Health Organization (WHO) states that drinking-water may be a contributor of calcium and magnesium in the diet and could be important for those who are marginal for calcium and magnesium intake.

Measures of water hardness

Hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium, and by a variety of other metals. General guidelines for classification of waters are: 0 to 60 mg/L (milligrams per liter) as calcium carbonate is classified as soft 61 to 120 mg/L as moderately hard 121 to 180 mg/L as hard and more than 180 mg/L as very hard.

Lime scale buildup inside a water pipe.

Credit: Александр Юрьевич Лебедев

Water systems using groundwater as a source are concerned with water hardness, since as water moves through soil and rock it dissolves small amounts of naturally-occurring minerals and carries them into the groundwater supply. Water is a great solvent for calcium and magnesium, so if the minerals are present in the soil around a water-supply well, hard water may be delivered to homes. Water hardness varies throughout the United States. In areas of the country where the water is relatively hard (see map below), industries might have to spend money to soften their water, as hard water can damage equipment. Hard water can even shorten the life of fabrics and clothes (does this mean that high-school students who live in areas with hard water keep up with the latest fashions since their clothes wear out faster?).

As the image of the inside of a water-supply pipe shows, long-term movement of hard water through a pipe can result in what is called scale buildup. Just as in the human body where blood vessels can be reduced in inside diameter due to cholesterol buildup, water pipes can gradually close up resulting in less water movement through the pipe and a lowering of water pressure.

Water hardness in the United States

Mean hardness as calcium carbonate at NASQAN water-monitoring sites during the 1975 water year. Colors represent streamflow from the hydrologic-unit area.

Water hardness is based on major-ion chemistry concentrations. Major-ion chemistry in groundwater is relatively stable and generally does not change over time. Although this map illustrates data from 1975, these data have been found to be accurate and useful in current assessments.

There are, however, several caveats about the nature, use, and interpretations of these data:

  1. the data illustrated represent water hardness on a national and regional scale and must be so interpreted
  2. the 1975 data are not designed to be used to make local decisions or decisions on the scale of individual homeowner property and
  3. information that is directly relevant to water hardness and other chemical properties at a home or immediate locale should be provided by the local health agency, local water utility, or by the vendor of a local water-softening system.

Hardness of groundwater from domestic wells, a USGS study

A study from the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assessed water-quality conditions for about 2,100 domestic wells across the United States. Water hardness was one water-quality parameter studied results are shown in the map below.

Hardness is a property of water that is not a health concern, but it can be a nuisance. Hard water can cause mineral buildup in plumbing, fixtures, and water heaters, and poor performance of soaps and detergents. Hard water was prevalent in the east-central and western United States, reflecting the distribution of carbonate aquifers and aquifers with relatively high concentrations of dissolved solids. >, greater than <, less than or equal to. ​​​​​​​

Physiology and Pathophysiology of Diuretic Action

Urinary Electrolyte Eexcretion

Although osmotic agents do not act directly on transport pathways, the rate of transport of ions is affected. Following the infusion of mannitol, the excretion of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and chloride is increased ( Table 1 ) ( 127 , 449 , 520 ). The fractional reabsorption rates for sodium and water were reduced by 27% and 12%, respectively, following the infusion of mannitol ( 421 ). Reabsorption of magnesium and calcium reabsorption was also reduced in the proximal tubule and loop of Henle, whereas phosphate reabsorption was inhibited slightly in the presence of parathyroid hormone ( 520 ).

TABLE 1 . Effects of Diuretics on Electrolyte Excretion

Osmotic diuretics (35, 36, 524–526)↑(10–25%)↑ (15–30%)↑ (6%)↑ (5%–10%)↑ (10–20%)↑ (&gt20%)
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors ( 74, 157, 255 )↑ (6%)↑ (4%)↑ (60%)↑ (&gt20%)↑ or ↑ (&lt5%)↑ (&lt5%)
Loop diuretics (154, 156, 157, 230, 255, 413)↑ (30%)↑ (40%)↑ (60%–100%)↑ (&gt20%)↑ (&gt20%)↑ (&gt20%)
DCT diuretics ( 154, 230, 252, 255 )↑ (6%–11%)↑ (10%)↑ (200%)↑ (&gt20%)↑ (5%–10%)
Na channel blockers ( 230, 255, 413 )↑ (3%–5%)↑ (6%)↑ (8%)
Spironolactone ( 255 )↑ (3%)↑ (6%)

Figures indicate approximate maximal fractional excretions of ions following acute diuretic administration in maximally effective doses. ↑ indicates that the drug increases excretion ↓ indicates that the drug decreases excretion ⇔ indicates that the drug has little of no direct effect on excretion. During chronic treatment, effects often wane (Na excretion), may increase (K excretion during DCT diuretic treatment), or may reverse as with uric acid (not shown).

Toxic Plastics: Bisphenol A Linked To Metabolic Syndrome In Human Tissue

New research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) implicates the primary chemical used to produce hard plastics&mdashbisphenol A (BPA)&mdashas a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and its consequences.

In a laboratory study, using fresh human fat tissues, the UC team found that BPA suppresses a key hormone, adiponectin, which is responsible for regulating insulin sensitivity in the body and puts people at a substantially higher risk for metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that include lower responsiveness to insulin and higher blood levels of sugar and lipids. According to the American Heart Association, about 25 percent of Americans have metabolic syndrome. Left untreated, the disorder can lead to life-threatening health problems such as coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Nira Ben-Jonathan, PhD, and her team are the first to report scientific evidence on the health effects of BPA at environmentally relevant doses equal to "average" human exposure. Previous studies have primarily focused on animal studies and high doses of BPA.

They report their findings in the Aug. 14, 2008, online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. This scientific data comes just before a key Federal Drug Administration meeting about the safety of the chemical in consumer products scheduled for Sept. 16, 2008.

"People have serious concerns about the potential health effects of BPA. As the scientific evidence continues to mount against the chemical, it should be given serious attention to minimize future harm," says Ben-Jonathan, a professor of cancer and cell biology at UC who has studied BPA for more than 10 years.

"Experimenting with human tissue is the closest we can come to testing the effects of BPA in humans. It's a very exciting breakthrough because epidemiological studies looking at BPA effects on humans are difficult since most people have already been exposed to it," she adds.

Scientists estimate that over 80 percent of people tested have measurable BPA in their bloodstream. The UC study was designed to mimic a realistic human exposure (between 0.1 and 10 nanomolar) so that a more direct correlation between human exposure and health effects could be drawn.

To conduct this study, the UC team collected fresh fat tissue from Cincinnati patients undergoing several types of breast or abdominal surgery. These samples included three types of fat tissue: breast, subcutaneous and visceral (around the organs).

Tissue was immediately taken to the laboratory and incubated with different concentrations of BPA or estrogen for six hours to observe how the varied amounts of BPA affected adiponectin levels. The effects of BPA were then compared to those of estradiol, a natural form of human estrogen.

They found that exposing human tissues to BPA levels within the range of common human exposure resulted in suppression of a hormone that protects people from metabolic syndrome.

"These results are especially powerful because we didn't use a single patient, a single tissue source or a single occurrence," she adds. "We used different fat tissues from multiple patients and got the same negative response to BPA."

UC's Eric Hugo, PhD, Terry Brandebourg, PhD, Jessica Woo, PhD, J. Wesley Alexander, MD, and Christ Hospital surgeon Jean Loftus, MD, participated in this study. The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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Materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Geneva Lake: Water quality, hydrology, and biology

To reduce the impact of increasing urban development and recreational use on Geneva Lake, efforts are being made to decrease point- and nonpoint-source pollution inputs. To document Geneva Lake's water quality, the USGS collected water-quality data and developed empirical eutrophication models to demonstrate that reductions in phosphorus loading were related to water-quality improvements.

Phosphorus budget for Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, water years 1998 and 1999, and that for both years combined. [%, percent]

Concerns continue to arise over the potential decline in the water quality of Geneva Lake because of increased urban development and recreational use. To reduce the impact on the lake, efforts have been and are continuing to be made to decrease the point- and nonpoint-source pollution to the lake. As part of an extensive cooperative study on Geneva Lake, water-quality data were collected for the lake and its tributaries by the USGS from 1997 through 1999. Empirical eutrophication models were also developed for the lake and used to demonstrate that the changes in the water quality of the lake were consistent with the reductions in the phosphorus loading to the lake. Since the detailed study was completed in 2002, continued water-quality and biological information are being collected to determine the effectiveness of pollution prevention-strategies implemented in the basin.

The objectives of this project are to continue to document the water quality and planktonic populations in the lake.

Standard limnological procedures are being used to monitor water quality and plankton populations in the lake.


Dehydration has been shown to result in increased plasma viscosity, which is a risk factor for thrombogenesis. 70 , 71 Patients with underlying hematological disorders that predispose to hyperviscosity syndrome, such as myeloma and polycythemia, are, therefore, at increased risk. 72 Exercise-induced dehydration and hyperthermia have also been linked to mortality in sickle cell disease, thought to be a consequence of dehydration that triggers erythrocyte adhesion and vascular occlusion. 73 , 74 Other studies have reported that normal erythrocytes, when dehydrated, display adhesive properties similar to those seen in sickle cell disease. 74

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) affects 1 in 1000 annually and can lead to pulmonary embolism, which can be life threatening. 75 There is limited evidence to support a direct link between dehydration and DVT. Markers of dehydration, including serum osmolality of >297 mOsm/kg and urea-to-creatinine ratio (mmol:mmol) >80, were shown to be associated with a significantly increased risk of DVT in hospitalized patients following an acute ischemic stroke. 76 Some studies have demonstrated that prehydration reduces plasma viscosity and may be protective against DVT associated with long airplane flights. 77

There is insufficient evidence to conclude a strong association between dehydration and DVT however, expert committees and national guidelines recognize dehydration as a risk factor. 75

Cerebral infarct

Stroke is associated with morbidity and mortality, often with significant physical and psychosocial impact on the patient and his or her family. There is limited evidence linking dehydration to the development of stroke or indeed poor outcome after stroke. In theory, the risk of increased plasma viscosity associated with dehydration may predispose to stroke in a way that is similar to other thrombogenic conditions, particularly in patients with underlying atherosclerosis or those prone to hyperviscosity syndrome. 78 , 79 Tohgi et al. 79 reported that postmortem examinations of older adults revealed that high hematocrit values were associated with a higher risk of cerebral infarction in deep subcortical structures of the brain. The incidence in those with hematocrit values >51% was 9.6 times greater than that for patients with hematocrit values <30%. 79 Furthermore, it is important to note that a significant proportion of patients are at risk of ongoing dehydration following stroke, particularly in the presence of dysphagia. 75 Rodriguez et al. 80 also demonstrated in the THIRST (The Hydration Influence on the Risk of Stroke) study that patients admitted to the hospital with ischemic stroke had higher osmolarity than age- and gender-matched patients.

Some studies have also shown a link between markers of dehydration, including raised plasma osmolality and hematocrit, with increased risk of stroke morbidity and mortality. 81–83 Moreover, in patients with ischemic stroke, the best discharge outcome has been shown to be associated with an initial mid-range hematocrit value. 81–83

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom. 84 There is limited evidence that links dehydration to CHD. Whole-blood viscosity and plasma viscosity are recognized risk factors for myocardial infarction and have been shown to increase with dehydration. 85

Chan et al., 85 in the prospective cohort Adventist Health Study, investigated the association between fatal CHD and intake of water and other beverages. Participants without known heart disease (8280 male and 12 017 female) were followed up for 6 years. The authors reported a significant relative risk reduction in fatal CHD events in participants who drank 5 or more glasses of water/day compared with those who drank 2 or fewer glasses. Other studies, however, have reported no association between increased fluid intake and CHD. 86 Jan et al. 87 demonstrated that in patients admitted to the hospital with myocardial infarction, high plasma viscosity on admission was associated with a higher incidence of complications. The authors also reported that 80% of the patients studied had a reduced fluid intake post myocardial infarction, predisposing them to dehydration. 87

Orthostatic hypotension

Orthostatic or postural hypotension is defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 20 mm Hg or a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg from the sitting or supine position to standing up. It results from an inadequate physiological response to postural changes in blood pressure. Volume depletion and autonomic dysfunction are common causes of orthostatic hypotension, which can result in cerebral hypoperfusion and syncope. 88 Webber et al. 89 reported that dehydration was one of the most common causes of orthostatic hypotension and syncope in US Air Force trainees. Moreover, increased fluid consumption prior to blood donation has been shown to help relieve some of the presyncopal side effects. 90

Adequate hydration is particularly important in older adults, where there is a high prevalence of falls, which often result in serious injury. Although there is limited evidence directly showing reduced risk of falls in response to increased fluid consumption, adequate hydration is recommended by healthcare professionals. 91

Some Strategies to "Soften" Hard Water

For large-scale municipal operations, a process known as the "lime-soda process" is used to remove Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ from the water supply. Ion-exchange reactions, similar to those you performed in this experiment, which result in the formation of an insoluble precipitate, are the basis of this process. The water is treated with a combination of slaked lime, Ca(OH)2, and soda ash, Na2CO3. Calcium precipitates as CaCO3, and magnesium precipitates as Mg(OH)2. These solids can be collected, thus removing the scale-forming cations from the water supply.

To see this process in more detail, let us consider the reaction for the precipitation of Mg(OH)2. Consultation of the solubility guidelines in the experiment reveals that the Ca(OH)2 of slaked lime is moderately soluble in water. Hence, it can dissociate in water to give one Ca 2+ ion and two OH - ions for each unit of Ca(OH)2 that dissolves. The OH - ions react with Mg 2+ ions in the water to form the insoluble precipitate. The Ca 2+ ions are unaffected by this reaction, and so we do not include them in the net ionic reaction (Equation 2). They are removed by the separate reaction with CO3 2- ions from the soda ash.

Household water softeners typically use a different process, known as ion exchange. Ion-exchange devices consist of a bed of plastic (polymer) beads covalently bound to anion groups, such as -COO - . The negative charge of these anions is balanced by Na + cations attached to them. When water containing Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ is passed through the ion exchanger, the Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ ions are more attracted to the anion groups than the Na + ions. Hence, they replace the Na + ions on the beads, and so the Na + ions (which do not form scale) go into the water in their place.

Figure 1

When hard tapwater passes through the ion exchanger (left), the calcium ions from the tapwater replace the sodium ions in the ion exchanger. The softened water, containing sodium ions in place of calcium ions, can be collected for household use.

Unfortunately, many people with high blood pressure or other health problems must restrict their intake of sodium. Because water softened by this type of ion exchange contains many sodium ions, people with limited sodium intakes should avoid drinking water that has been softened this way. Several new techniques for softening water without introducing sodium ions are beginning to appear on the market.

Questions on Water Hardness

1. How could you use a flame test to distinguish between hard and soft water? (HINT: For which ions in hard and soft water have you performed experimental flame-test observations in Experiment 2?)

2. After a period of time, your ion-exchange water softener (the kind described above) no longer removes hard-water ions. How can you "refresh" your water softener, using a material obtained from the grocery store?

3. The deionized water in the Chemistry Department is produced by ion exchange that uses H + ions, rather than Na + ions, to replace the cations found in the water. Briefly, explain why the pH of deionized water is typically found to be around 6.

To answer the following three questions, refer to the solubility rules in the lab manual for this experiment.

4. Explain why solutions of Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ in the presence of carbonate leave deposits (see Equation 1), but Na + does not.

5. Write the net ionic equation for the removal of calcium ions by precipitation with carbonate in the lime-soda process. (See the introduction to Experiment 2 for a discussion of net ionic equations.)

6. Could sodium ions be removed in the same way as magnesium ions in the lime-soda process (i.e., by addition of hydroxide) for individuals concerned about their sodium intake? Briefly, explain your reasoning.

Additional Link:


Brown, Lemay, and Buster. Chemistry: the Central Science, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. p. 681-3.


The authors thank Dewey Holten (Washington University) for many helpful suggestions in the writing of this tutorial.

The development of this tutorial was supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, through the Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education program, Grant HHMI# 71192-502004 to Washington University.


Water temperature in clam leases is an environmental factor that affects clam survival and growth. Because clam growers cannot control temperature on their leases, it should be a consideration for selecting sites and developing appropriate management strategies. The essential first step is temperature monitoring with this information the clam grower can evaluate lease quality, determine optimal seed clam nursing periods, and plan daily farm activities. To minimize the potential economic impact to the industry, it is prudent to be aware of environmental conditions and to note any instances of mortality. Assistance from UF/IFAS Extension shellfish specialists is available.

Corrosionpedia explains Hard Water

Water hardness is caused by natural minerals that are dissolved in water. Calcium and magnesium are the most common minerals that make water hard. When heated, these minerals precipitate out of water and encrust themselves onto items as scale or mineral deposits, affecting the performance of equipment. It also clogs pipes, which reduces water flow, and it can cause accumulation of film and scale on bath and kitchen fixtures, reducing the life of clothing.

Scaling tends to be the result of water with a high hardness. Hard water typically contains calcium compounds which can precipitate out as calcium carbonate. However, if the hardness in the water is primarily noncarbonate, the chlorate and sulfate ions tend to keep the calcium in solution and prevent scale formation.

Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale has been known to increase energy bills by up to 25%.

In pipes, pitting is associated with hard or moderately hard water, with a pH between 7 and 7.8, and it is most likely to occur in cold water. The pitting is deep and narrow, and results in pipe failure. Though hard water creates scaling problems, it is less corrosive than softer water. The scale-forming properties of hard water tend to form a protective film on the surface of metals, providing corrosion protection.

Hard water can be softened (have its minerals removed) by treating it with lime or by passing it over an ion exchange resin. Water can be deionized by using a resin that replaces cations with hydrogen and anions with hydroxide.


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  3. Vudobei

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