This happens to me at least once a week: I fill my electric kettle up with water to let it boil for my evening tea and then… well, anything can happen. I was in the middle of working on something, or the TV show I’m watching just got really good and now what?
The perfectly hot water is now regrettably cold. The solution may seem simple; just turn the kettle back on and reboil it to be enjoyed in a couple more minutes.
But what happens to water when we reboil it?
It’s something they never taught us in chemistry class but really should have. When we boil water, the chemistry of it changes, which is usually a good thing as it boils out volatile compounds and dissolves gasses. This is why boiling water mostly ensures that it’s safe to drink.
If water is left boiled too long or is reboiled, the chemical compounds change for the worst. By leaving your water to boil down, you’re actually concentrating many harmful chemicals instead of getting rid of them.
The same thing happens when you reboil water, as the compounds concentrate and increase the risk of ingesting certain chemicals.
These chemicals could include arsenic, nitrates, and fluoride. Even the minerals that are healthy for us can become dangerous when concentrated, such as calcium salt, which can lead to kidney stones and gallstones when taken excessively.
According to Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, she states that you can drink reboiled water in certain situations, “if you reboil water, it’s better to do it once or twice, rather than make it your standard practice. Pregnant women and persons at risk for certain illnesses may wish to avoid reboiling water rather than risk concentrating hazardous chemicals in the water.”
The Destructive Effects of Reboiled Water
“Drinking-water poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic,” states the World Health Organization (WHO).
Exposure to arsenic may lead to arsenic toxicity, which can develop physical effects slowly over a number of years, depending on the level of exposure.
Dangers of arsenic toxicity include peripheral neuropathy, gastrointestinal symptoms, skin lesions, diabetes, renal systems effects, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
Nitrates are found naturally all over earth, in the soil, water, and air. However, the chemical can become harmful when used as a food preservative, such as in deli meats, or when exposed to high heat, such as boiling water.
When nitrates are exposed to high temperatures, they convert to nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.
Nitrates have been linked to many diseases such as leukemia, non-Hodkin lymphoma, and different cancers, including colon, bladder, ovarian, stomach, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer.
Many studies have been done over the controversial chemical fluoride and its presence in drinking water. The fact is, it’s there and it could pose a threat to your health. Despite the proof of the dangerous effects of fluoride, the government insists to keep it in our water.
Harvard University took data from over 27 studies that were carried out for 22 years and linked fluoride exposure to neurological and cognitive function in children.
The results were published in the journal of Environment Health Sciences and concluded that fluoride found in drinking water resulted in lower IQ scored among children.
A more recent study completed in 2013 links fluoride to lower infertility rates in male mice.
Helmenstine, A. M., PhD. (2017, April 4). Is It Safe to Reboil Water? Retrieved from http://chemistry.about.com/od/waterchemistry/f/Is-It-Safe-To-Reboil-Water.html
World Health Organization. (2010). Exposure to Arsenic: A Major Public Health Concern. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ipcs/features/arsenic.pdf
Healthy Child Healthy World. (2015, June 23). How to Avoid Added Nitrates and Nitrites in Your Food. Retrieved from http://healthychild.org/easy-steps/avoid-nitrates-and-nitrites-in-food/