Many water companies are supplying various types of purified water to different industries. Water is the most useful compound on earth and the use of this life-sustaining substance is just extensive that one finds it in all industries. It acts as a component, a solvent, an ingredient, a vessel, a washing and cleaning agent, and a cooler. However, not any kind of water is suitable for every kind of application. While tap water at home may be all right for laundering, cooking, and drinking, it is almost never used in laboratories and chemical engineering stations.
Plain water that comes out of taps undergoes some purification process involving flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. These processes remove particulates, organic solutes, and other impurities in water. By the end of the filtration process, water is generally clear and odor-free, but there is still a considerable amount of microorganisms that may make it unfit for drinking. Hence, disinfection of water should be necessary and this is usually accomplished by incorporation of chlorine. At first, chlorination gives water a distinctive bleach-like odor, which goes away upon allowing the water to stand.
Filtered and disinfected water is not appropriate for use in chemical and microbiology laboratories due to the high ion content. Where do these ions come from? Water dissolves a lot of substances since it is a naturally occurring solvent. Ions are charged particles that happen to get incorporated into the water due to dissolution of mineral salts. Salts are ionic compounds that dissolve into the water to dissociate into component ions. Thus, ordinary water is a soup of water molecules and ions of magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride and carbonates. Even the seemingly odor-free and colorless tap water does have an appreciable amount of all these ions. The effect is very evident. Look at the tap or faucet. If you see a white coating, this is actually a deposit of minerals left by tap water. You also see the evidence on glasswares. Washing kitchen glasswares in plain water cause ugly white and yellowish stains in corners and even on the surface.
To avoid this problem, companies take purification process further to include deionization, which is the process of removal of ions to render water to its ultra pure state. Water devoid of ions is an effective cleaner used in cleaning glass windows and glass apparatuses without leaving stains. To the carwash shop owner and microbiology lab worker, this is quite good news. This ultra pure water is also used in hospitals and laboratories, and even cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies. The presence of ions, even in minute quantities, could affect the production of drugs and cosmetic products. In the process of autoclaving, ultra pure water (this time called autoclave water) is used instead of plain water, which would only leave mineral deposits on surfaces of instruments and may shorten the lifespan of the autoclave machine itself.
Now, dealing with the concern regarding human consumption of DI water, people are asking whether or not it is safe to drink. Note that depending upon the deionization process, DI water is about a thousand times purer than plain water in terms of ion content. Now, some health experts warn the public against the possible health effects of this ultra pure water. According to a theory, deionized or demineralized water would deplete the body of minerals, yet there is no compelling scientific evidence to prove this. Deionized water does not affect the chemical nature of the body fluids. It does not remove minerals in the body or cause electrolytes to be flushed out of the system. On the other hand, it is also untrue that DI water has some health benefits. It is never better or worse than regular, plain water in any way.
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