What you need to know about Silicon Valley’s “raw water” obsession

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The concept of raw water probably seems somewhat redundant—isn’t all water, in essence, raw? Well it turns out that’s not exactly the case, as most tap and bottled water goes through processes and treatments that rid it of toxins and other potentially harmful attributes. But there are some who want their water untouched: According to The New York Times, a small movement against treated water is gaining steam in Silicon Valley.

Among the devotees to raw water are Doug Evans, the founder of the now-shuttered Juicero, and Mukhande Singh, the founder of a raw water company called Live Water, which has reportedly been flying off the shelves at certain San Francisco grocery stores, according to Business Insider. “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” Singh said to The Times. “And on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”

Singh is clearly dedicated to the untreated water, though The Times was quick to point out that his claims regarding fluoride are not vetted. “There is no scientific evidence that fluoride is a mind-control drug, but plenty to show that it aids dental health,” the paper reported.

Unlike with organic and unprocessed foods, raw water can be dangerous, according to Donald Hensrud, MD, of the Mayo Clinic. “Without water treatment, there’s acute and then chronic risks,” he said. (Those risks include E. coli, a number of viruses, parasites, and other harmful substances.) “There’s evidence all over the world of this, and the reason we don’t have those conditions is because of our very efficient water treatment,” he continued.

Bill Marler, a food-safety advocate and lawyer echoed these sentiments. “Almost everything conceivable that can make you sick can be found in water,” he told Business Insider.

So, while the idea of “raw” water may seem appealing, you probably want to stick to using those water filters to make good on your hydration goals.

Raw food, however, is not a health issue. Here are nine raw and vegan pies you can whip up as well as raw, vegan, pumpkin pie bites.

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