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Part One - Kombucha FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


About Water
 

© Copyright  1995 -2000 Colleen M. Allen.
Last update: August 2000


 

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3. WATER


3. WATER

3.1 Is it all right to use tap water to make Kombucha Tea?

Yes. Tap water can be used if you boil it first for 10 minutes. This will kill harmful bacteria and water moulds that may be present.

3.2 Should I boil all the water used in making Kombucha Tea?

If you are using any water other than distilled you should boil for 10 minutes. Even bottled water may contain bacteria. It depends on where the water originated. It could also contain microscopic parasites.

3.3 How do I get the chlorine out of tap water?

The quickest way to get chlorine out of tap water is to boil the water uncovered for 5 minutes, this allows the chlorine gas to dissipate into the air. Another method is to draw the water and leave it sit uncovered for 24 hours. The chlorine will then dissipate naturally.

3.4 Should I use bottled water for Kombucha Tea?

You can use bottled water, but that isn't a necessity as long as you boil your tap water.

3.5 Is well water safe to use to make Kombucha Tea?

Yes. It is usually safe if it's boiled first--provided you live in an area that is well away from an industrial site that uses toxic chemicals. If you live in a heavy industrial area or farm area where they use toxic chemicals, the surrounding ground water could be polluted by heavy metals as well as herbicides and insecticides. These toxic compounds could find their way into the underground stream that feeds into your well, and poison the water. If you live in such an area, it would be wise to use municipal water or filter your well water before using it for drinking purposes.

3.6 Should I use distilled water to make Kombucha Tea?

It isn't a requirement to use distilled water, but many people do use it. However, bear in mind that the distillation process, while removing toxic chemicals etc., also remove all the minerals from the water.

Here is more information about distilled water.

http://www.nutriteam.com/distil.htm

http://www.medical-library.net/sites/distilled_water.html

http://www.herbsfirst.com/NewsLetters/Distilledwater.html

Excerpt from "WHY DISTILLED WATER?" by Dr. John R. Christopher
http://www.hacres.com/html/water.html

"Distilled water leaches out only unusable lime, etc.

Distilled water has something inherent in it in the nature of a magnet, so to
speak, whereby it can pick up these rejected and discarded minerals and, with
the assistance of the blood and the lymph, transport them to the kidneys for
elimination from the system. This cleaning-up function is  not constant.

It is this kind of mineral elimination that is erroneously referred to as
leaching. The expression  that distilled water leaches minerals from the
body is entirely inaccurate. It does not  leach out body minerals, it collects and
removes minerals which have been rejected by the cells of the body and are
therefore nothing more nor less than debris, obstructing the normal
functions of the system.

As a matter of fact, try drinking nothing but distilled water for two or three
weeks. Have a   urinalysis made before you start and see if you will not be
astonished at the mineral sediments in   the urine after a mere three weeks!
There is no substitute for experience.

The accumulation of minerals in the body, from drinking natural waters, and the
elimination of  rejected minerals as a result of drinking distilled water is
conclusive evidence of the use and value  of distilled water for drinking and
for food preparation purpose"
 
 

3.7 If my city water contains chloramine, can I get it out by boiling?

No. Boiling will not remove chloramine from your water.

3.8 How much water should I be drinking daily?

The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of water is 64 fluid ounces, regardless of whether you are drinking Kombucha Tea or not. Another way to determine the amount of water we should be drinking is to divide your weight by 2. For example, I weight 108 pounds, so I should be drinking a minimum of 54 ounces of water a day.

3.9 Is it safe to use water from the hot water tank to make Kombucha?

Household water-heaters heat water for washing, not for drinking. Water out of your hot tap generally has health threatening levels of heavy metals (such as lead) as well as an off-taste. You should consider this water unfit for human consumption.

Incidentally, if you live in the United States in a house whose plumbing system was constructed between the 1930's and the late 1970's, it's a good idea to let the cold tap run at full for about a minute before using it. This will help flush out heavy metals that may have collected in the water as it sat in the plumbing system. This goes for all tap water consumption of course, not just for the tea.

3.10 Is pasteurization a safe method to purify water?

According to an article written by Dale Andreatta, which was published in the April/May 1996 issue of "Home Power" #52, "...contrary to what people believe, it is not necessary to boil water to make it safe. It is also not necessary to distill water unless the water is chemically contaminated or brackish. Heating water to 149° F (65°C) for 6 minutes, or to a higher temperature for a shorter time, will kill germs, viruses, and parasites. This process is called pasteurization."

3.11 What is Cryptosporidium and how is it transmitted?

Cryptosporidium is a small parasite that is found in the feces of infected humans or young animals. Humans are infected when they ingest oocysts that contaminate water, food, hands or other objects.

3.12 What are the symptoms of Cryptosporidium infection?

In immunocompromised persons, Cryptosporidium infection causes diarrhea that is usually watery, lasts 1 to 2 weeks and is often accompanied by abdominal cramps, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever. People usually develop symptoms about 5-9 days after ingesting the oocysts. In persons with severely weakened immune systems, cryptosporidiosis can be chronic and severe. The watery diarrhea can be prolonged and debilitating and may be fatal.

3.13 Who is at risk for severe cryptosporidiosis infection?

Persons at risk for severe cryptosporidiosis include persons with AIDS, persons who have cancer or organ or bone marrow transplants who are taking drugs to that weaken the immune system and persons who are born with genetically weakened immune systems.

3.14 How much Cryptosporidium infection is there?

In the general population in the United States, about 1% of stool specimens from persons with diarrhea have tested positive for Cryptosporidium infection. About 15%-30% of adults in the United States have evidence of some previous infection with Cryptosporidium, based on a blood test. Cryptosporidiosis is among the most common cause of diarrhea in patients with AIDS in the United States. The actual incidence of cryptosporidiosis in AIDS patients is unknown, but it is believed that 5%-10% of AIDS patients will develop cryptosporidiosis each year.

3.15 Why is Cryptosporidium a problem in treated drinking water?

Most surface water sources, such as lakes, river, and streams contain some Cryptosporidium oocysts. The oocysts are highly resistant to chlorine and other disinfectants, which are used to kill bacteria and viruses in drinking water. In addition, the oocysts are so small (4-6 microns in diameter) that conventional municipal water treatment does not guarantee 100% removal of the oocysts. When tested repeatedly, a little over half of the public water supplies that obtain raw water from rivers, lakes and streams have low levels of Cryptosporidium in the treated filtered water.

3.16 How can I tell if I have Cryptosporidium in my drinking water?

Special tests are needed to identify Cryptosporidium in water. These tests are expensive and are not very good for detecting low numbers of organisms that may be present in tap water. These tests involve filtering large volumes of water through a filter and examining the filtrate under a special microscope.

3.17 What is the treatment for Cryptosporidium infection?

Most people get better without treatment for cryptosporidiosis because their immune system gets rid of the infection without treatment. Although some drugs seem to improve the symptoms in some patients with weakened immune systems, no safe and general effective form of treatment for cryptosporidiosis has been identified to date. One drug, paromomycin, appears to be the most promising currently.

3.18 Are reverse osmosis and microfiltration systems effective in controlling Cryptosporidium?

On a study conducted by leading epidemiologists and researchers David G. Aldiss and Dennis Juranic, Centers for Disease Control; Robert S. Pond, Basics; Mark Remshak, Milwaukee Health Department; Susan Stokes, Scientific Resources Program1 and Jeffrey Davis, Wisconsin Division of Health, found that only 18% of the individuals who used a reverse osmosis or microfiltration system and avoided tap water at home and work became ill. Both of the individuals who became ill brushed their teeth with untreated water, and one drank tap water at a public building - indicating possible sources of infection unrelated to filtered water. Conversely, the rate of disease for those using submicron treatment systems, but who drank untreated water away from home, was 80%. For those using treatment systems greater then one micron, the illness rate was comparable to that of the general population.

While the study notes that boiling water is technically the most effective means of treating water infected with Cryptosporidium, it also notes that individuals who drank microfiltered water during the outbreak, including water treated with reverse osmosis, were well protected. It went on to point out that filtering water is a more convenient alternative than boiling.

3.19 How do I disinfect my water?

By boiling. The boiling point of water at sea level is 212°F (100°C). Although many organisms will die from prolonged exposure to temperatures less than boiling, (pasteurization) bringing water to a full, rolling boil will kill any bacteria, viruses, or parasites. There are no organisms known to be harmful to man that can survive any period of time at 212°F. Just to be safe at very high altitudes, one might want to boil the water a few minutes (over 8,000 feet). Even at 19,000 feet, where the water boils at 81°C, viruses and bacteria will be killed within seconds and giardia cysts in mere minutes.

3.20 What are some devices that I can use to purify my water?

Filters:

If you are thinking of buying a water filter, * the following pore sizes are needed to filter out specific organisms. For optimum results, always select a filter with a pore size no greater than 0.4 microns if you expect to protect yourself from bacteria such as cholera, typhoid and e. coli. Some filters combine a larger pore size with resin which releases iodine on demand. They are generally effective for bacteria and viruses. A filter without the iodine resin, even with a pore size less than 0.4 microns will not eliminate viruses - if you use one of these on water which is likely contaminated with human waste, it would be wise to pre-treat the water with iodine.
 

 

ORGANISM AND PORE SIZE NEEDED

Parasite eggs/larvae 20 microns
Giardia 5 microns
Cryptosporidium 3 microns
Bacteria  0.4 microns
Viruses 0.01 microns

Reverse Osmosis:

The vast majority of purification systems involve filtration of some sort. All filtration works on the same principle, only the sizes of the pores in the filters are different. The best filtration that is commercially available is filtration by Reverse Osmosis. Pore sizes here are .0006 microns. Going to larger filtration pores you have nano-filtration .006 microns, ultra-filtration .06 microns, and micro-filtration .6 microns. After this you have various other filtration media which range from 1 micron to 100 commonly known as sediment filters. For size comparisons, a human hair is about 100 microns.

A Home Reverse Osmosis system can substantially reduce dissolved metals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and manganese as well as brackish mineral salts, chlorides and other tastes. However the water pressure must be maintained at 4-70 psi to keep a driving force across the membrane to produce a high clarity, low mineral content water. It should be noted that an Reverse Osmosis system is not a solution for all water problems and that the water must be potable (safe for human consumption) before it is put through an RO system.

Charcoal:

This does not have much antibacterial effect but will remove bad odors and tastes and some chemical pollutants. It is sometimes provided as an addition to the regular water purification device.

Micropore filter:

This will stop larger microörganisms such as ameba and giardia but bacteria and especially viruses will pass through.

Distillation:

Distillation is an attempt to imitate nature, water is evaporated from one container to another container. In nature this occurs constantly, primarily from the earth (seas, lakes, rivers, etc.,) to the sky. In distillation, this process usually is accelerated by heat. There are many types of distillation units which the consumer can buy, from simple two gallon a day units to whole house applications. The cost is typically quite a bit more than the other filtration devices, but the quality of water is also better and more certain. While the distillation process alone is very effective, certain pesticides and contaminants like volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and radon convert into vapor readily, and can travel with the steam out of the boiling chamber. Almost all household distillers use special vents and carbon pre- and post- filters to effectively deal with these contaminants.

3.21 What do distiller units treat?

Distillation is an effective process for producing highly treated drinking water. Distillation can significantly reduce levels of sediment, metals and biological contaminants, which are unable to travel out of the boiling chamber with the steam. When combined with effective activated carbon filtration, contaminants like VOC'S and radon can also be controlled. It is recommended that only units designed and tested for health-contaminants-reduction be used for such purposes. These units, when combined with activated carbon filtration, can be used to effectively treat such contaminants as:

A distillation system with activated carbon filtration can also be quite effective for treating aesthetic drinking water contaminants like chlorine or iron bacteria, which lead to unpleasant tastes, odors, or colours. Distillation is an effective water treatment technology for household and commercial use. It provides water with a distinct clarity, up to 98% free of impurities. Distillation units are continually being improved to increase efficiency and water output, making them increasingly popular and cost-effective for residential and commercial users alike.

3.22 What is acid rain?

Acid rain is rainfall with a pH of less the 7.0. One source is the combining of rain and sulfur dioxide emissions which are a by-product of combustion of fossil fuels. Also referred to as acid deposition and wet deposition.
 
 

10. OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER:

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is based, in part, on the personal experiences of the members of the Kombucha mailing list. It should not be regarded as a complete or definitive manual on Kombucha but rather as a collection of practical everyday answers to questions that come up when starting to make Kombucha Tea. This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, the authors/contributors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

Permission is granted to freely copy this document in electronic form, or in print if the publication is distributed without charge, provided it is copied in its entirety without modification and appropriate credits are included. On the WWW, however, you must link here rather than copy it. Any other use requires explicit permission by the author.

http://w3.trib.com/~kombu/FAQ/home.html

 


 
 

Designed Colleen M. Allen

Copyright 1996 - 2000 Colleen M. Allen  

Maintained by: Bob Williams [E-MAIL]
UpDt: 12/18/2000