4/04/2013

The water matter - drinking water in Korea (tap, water filter, bottled water?)


We just renewed our water filter service for another 2 years.  I was highly debating in getting rid of it because it costs about 27,000won/month for another 2 year contract.  But after some research - I found out that there is no way but to stick to the water filter system here - to be safe and sure.



I've considered,
  • Boiling tap water water & with tea (much cheaper and better for health?)
  • Brita (cheaper and safer?)
  • Buying bottled water (much cheaper/safer?)
What is all the fuss about filtering water I thought to myself - and I hate being in another contract - so I had to find out why.



Boiling tap water doesn't get rid of heavy metals - I'm not a scientist to tell you the exact details but it sounds right.  It's too much work to boil and cool tap water and store it too.


Brita is much cheaper - however, I didn't feel quite right about the "plastic" bottle(BPA? it doesn't say so) and also that the filter would get rid of fluoride and after some research, it doesn't.

Much research shows that fluoridated water has many negative effects on health unlike the popular claim that it prevents cavities (and that's the only reason that it's added?!).  I just don't think a chemical waste needs to be added to water just to prevent cavities (that can be done individually if you so need the treatment). 

Fluoride causes serious health problems

In 2006, a study published in The Lancet identified fluoride as "an emerging neurotoxic substance" that causes severe brain damage. The National Research Council (NRC) wrote that "it is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain and the body by direct and indirect means."

About a month later, another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found a definitive link between fluoride intake and reduce IQ levels, indicating once again that fluoride intake causes cognitive damage.

At Harvard University, researchers identified a link between fluoride and bone cancer. Published 14 years after it began, the study found that the highest rates of osteosarcoma, a fatal form of bone cancer, were occurring most in populations drinking fluoridated water. The findings confirmed those of a prior government study back in 1990 that involved fluoride-treated rats.


Buy bottled water.  Again, the plastic bottles are most likely of BPA (it doesn't say no, so it is - my rule kind of..) and it's also wasteful wasting plastic bottles.  And most doesn't state whether it contains flouride or not - except one or two I think in Korea that doesn't have it - but I'm not so sure either..



Then I looked into our current water filter system - COWAY (woongjin).
I just found out (after 2 years rental) that our water filter system is of "reverse osmosis" - where fluoride is taken out!  That pretty much made my decision clear - we are sticking to it for 2 more years.



Here is what the filter inside looks like..

4 different filters - reverse osmosis

I'm a bit ashamed to learn about this now - I should have done my research before hand.  I have a renewed appreciation of our water filter system now.

As for fluoridation of water in Korea - so far, I heard that Seoul does not add fluoride - however other areas(cities) do.   Supposedly Seoulers have been opposing fluoridation of water for a while now and so far does not add fluoride.  But again, I'd rather be safe.  You can dial and call "150" (I think that's the number) if you want to ask/find our more about your city water.


How to make sure you're drinking pure water

A study of 29 USA cities' water supplies uncovered all sorts of pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides, as well as traces of prescription drugs.

Chlorine is bad enough, but much worse are its byproducts, known as disinfection byproducts or DBPs. DBPs are formed when chlorine combines with minerals and heavy metals in tap water.

Then there is this stuff called sodium fluoride, you know, to prevent cavities. It is highly toxic in large quantities and continual low dose consumption slowly makes us dumb and sick, and it is added into 70 percent of the USA's municipal water supplies (http://www.naturalnews.com/032129_fluoridation_intelligence.html).

Forget the off the shelf bottled waters. In most of those products you'll have contaminated tap water with leeched plastic petroleum by products and the endocrine mimicker BPA (Biphenol-A) to throw off your sex hormone balance.



For now, this water system will do for us.  It's a 2 year rental system where after 5 years of payment it becomes ours - we have 3 more years left.  A "coway lady" also comes to clean/change our filters 6x/year - all for 27,000won/month.   To buy it costs way over 1,200,000won and differs through design of water filter/system.   It's a bit late to buy one now (to save on the rental costs) - but we are more than glad to be aware of what we are paying for now.

As for the plastic parts in our water filter system - its debatable whether it's free of BPA (most likey not..) - but as long as it's not exposed to "heat" - I will stick to this for now.  BPA is everywhere - even in receipts and plastic wrappers.  It's hard getting rid of it completely - but want to avoid it as much as we can (avoid "wrapped" items/food/decrease plastic use).. it's a harsh reality.   We will have to find a "stainless steel" water filter in the future.  For now - this is the water system we are sticking with.


It makes a lot of sense to why so many Koreans households prefer a professional water filter system - bad/old water pipes/heavy chemicals - it's safer and feels good knowing what goes in my body is just pure water.



::::2016 edit:::

Wow, we finally finished our contract with this water filter!  We own it now after so many payments!  So how does it go?  Well, we are still paying monthly, about 15,000won a month for the every 2 months visit to change and clean the filters.  It's worth it I would say.  I don't have to buy bottles of water and worry what's in it.  What we get is just water.  Sure, there are no minerals added from what you would get from natural/spring water.  I can take my supplements and eat a balanced meal to combat it.  So far, satisfied and a happy customer!




10 comments:

  1. OMG! i'm so glad to find your article... I've lived in seoul in the past, and am moving back and was trying to do some research about water... I'm going to be there for 3 years, so will probably rent as well... Do you have info about shower filters, lol? the water was super hard on my hair, so i told my husband we might need one of those, too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found the post useful^^

      Coway does have shower filters! You can call or visit their website for the products and info,

      http://www.coway.co.kr/

      I hope that is helpful^^

      Delete
  2. hi there. i have all the same concerns you do about the water in korea! do you have a contact person at coway? do they speak english? i am assuming your system is all room temperature water (not cold or hot)? thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Yes, you can contact a person when you call the number 1588-5100, unfortunately, I'm not sure they have an English line yet, however, most companies in Korea should have someone that can help you - either by asking for a manager.. I'm sorry I can't help you specifically with that question..^^ If you have a Korean friend that can help you, please don't hesitate to ask them, most Koreans are grateful to be "helpful" - if that makes sense^^

      Our water system if just room temp, but they have many different kinds of water filter system with hot/cold/ice. I sound like a "sales person" now!

      Either way, I hope I was of any help.. Yes, safe water all the way~~

      Delete

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