Many experts agree that drinking soft water can be harmful if ingested on a regular basis. Consumers will increase their sodium levels, have higher lead exposure, and may encounter physical dehydration. The benefits of soft water are not related to consumption; rather, the treated water helps prevent scaling build up on faucets for easier household cleaning. Softening water changes the chemical composition of hard water by removing calcium and magnesium. As a result, sodium is added in exchange for the missing elements, creating a soft water consistency.
Sodium is a necessary element within the human body. Adding more sodium into the diet through drinking soft water increases cardiovascular problems, however, such as high blood pressure. Water retention is a natural human body reaction to excess sodium, or salt, levels. A person who retains a constant amount of water increases his or her blood pressure since the heart and blood vessels must work harder to supply blood to the body. Experts agree that most of the population already consumes excess levels of sodium through unhealthy eating habits; drinking soft water simply increases the water retention issue.
The new chemical composition of the soft water makes it more volatile for gaining unwanted elements as it flows through household plumbing. Lead within pipe joints can easily seep into the soft water, accumulating in higher levels than if the water remained in its hard state. As a result, drinking soft water becomes even more dangerous as the lead systematically harms blood cells that carry vital oxygen to organs, muscles, and bone.
Drinking soft water also affects the human body's water levels, especially within each individual cell. Water movement is impeded by sodium's accompanying ion, chloride. Human body cells become dehydrated since the chloride provided by the soft water hinders the process of water movement through cellular walls.
Many experts and soft water distributors suggest using a soft water bypass water system for the kitchen, allowing hard water to flow for drinking and cooking uses. The main reason for softening water is to reduce mineral build up on physical items, such as dishes and sinks. Rings around the tub are reduced and laundry becomes brighter with less mineral build up.
A household that uses a soft water system without a kitchen bypass should use alternative water sources for consumption. Many soft water distributors offer bottled water as part of their service. Additionally, basic store bought bottled water is another alternative, preventing the household from consuming harmful soft water.