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Are Reverse Osmosis Systems Banned in Some Countries?

By: Craig Smith
Last Updated:
Are RO Systems Banned in Some Countries

One of the most talked-about water purification devices that are made is reverse osmosis systems. Much of this talk surrounds the fact that they are one of the absolute best ways to clean up your home’s tap water.

Unfortunately, some of the talk concerning them is also presented in a negative light. As with any water treatment product, they are not a perfect solution when it comes to home water purification needs.

Some of the drawbacks that are associated with reverse osmosis systems have even led people to start rumors about them. This includes people stating that their use has been banned in some countries.

While this is entirely not true, you still may want to be aware of the negative aspects of reverse osmosis systems before purchasing one. That’s exactly what I will go over here.

So, is RO Banned in Some Countries?

At this time there are no country-specific bans on the use of RO systems. I did, however, find one incidence of a regional reverse osmosis band in the New Delhi, India area. This was reported in an article in a newspaper called ‘The Hindu’.

This has nothing to do with the effectiveness of reverse osmosis systems and everything to do with the wastewater that is a byproduct of them.

The Union Environment Ministry of India along with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stated that the use of reverse osmosis systems and the subsequent wastewater that’s produced by them during the water purification process could not be justified.

The ministry sighted the already high quality of the supplied water in many parts of New Delhi as the reason.

According to the article, here is how the NGT ban on RO Systems in New Delhi was worded, “Installation or use of MWPS [Membrane based Water Purification System] shall be prohibited, at the point of use or at the point of entry for purification of supplied water which is subjected to conventional flocculation, filtration, and disinfection process or is from any sources which comply with the acceptable limit for drinking water prescribed by Bureau of Indian Standard 10500:2012,”

This legal matter was even taken all the way up to the supreme court level in the country and upheld.

No Evidence Other Than New Delhi?

I did a thorough internet search that included several different wordings regarding ‘reverse osmosis bans’ and came up with nothing.

So, there is no other evidence that reverse osmosis systems are being banned in other parts of the world.

To take this one step further. I did not even find any signs of impending legislation regarding banning the use of reverse osmosis water filtration systems.

Why Would RO be banned?

Here are some of the drawbacks to using a reverse osmosis system and some of them could provide a basis for banning these highly popular home water enhancement devices:

Water Wastage

Producing high-quality water using a reverse osmosis system does come with a price. There is a large amount of wastewater associated with the process.

Some reverse osmosis filtration devices will even waste 60% or more of the water that passes through them.

This is the reason that they are banned from use in New Delhi and other places in the world with water shortages could pass similar laws. 

Demineralization

One of the other concerns with reverse osmosis filtration is that it’s not selective in what contaminants in water that it removes. So, it also removes essential minerals that are good for health such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. This can have a negative impact on your health.

It also means that it’s never a bad idea for you and your family to take mineral supplements if you drink water that passed through a reverse osmosis system on the way to the tap.

Cost

While the costs of good reverse osmosis systems may make them unattainable for some, don’t expect this to be a basis for a country banning them anytime soon. Point of use reverse osmosis systems, depending on their size, can run anywhere from $200 to over $1000.

The only big consideration here falls along the same lines as the reverse osmosis system ban in New Delhi. Which is why let you spend the money on these water purification systems if you already have quality drinking water coming into your home.

Water pH

Because reverse osmosis eliminates minerals in water, that water will then tend to become more acidic when it contacts air and forms carbolic acid. How much more acidic reverse osmosis treated water gets depends on several factors so it’s hard to specify an exact pH number.

This is a negative aspect of drinking reverse osmosis water that I am not completely sold on.

This article from the International Water Foundation even suggests that your body does such a good job of adjusting the pH of the foods and drinks that you ingest, this is a non-factor with reverse osmosis systems. 

What Does the World Health Organization Say About RO Water?

The opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO) is definitely one of caution when it comes to drinking water that has passed through a reverse osmosis system.

This has everything to do with what was discussed above as far as demineralization of the water is concerned and its potential impact on health.

This includes those that drink reverse osmosis-produced water not getting some essential nutrients that tap water normally provides and having essential minerals leached from your body because of this.

All of which can eventually compromise the function of some internal organs and bodily systems.

More on that can be read about here in this article here from Doctors Beyond Medicine.

This is also something that reverse osmosis system manufacturers are keenly aware of. That’s why many now offer a mineralization stage for their systems that are placed in the water feed line after it has gone through the reverse osmosis stage.

The Future of Reverse Osmosis System Use

After doing this research and not finding any other evidence of bans of reverse osmosis systems other than the one in New Delhi, I just don’t think this will ever become a concern for anyone that purchases a reverse osmosis water purification system in the near future.

This has everything to do with how well reverse osmosis systems work when it comes to significantly reducing or eliminating many of the common impurities that are found in tap water.

While banning reverse osmosis systems does not seem to be mainstream at the moment, the positive impact that they can have on your family’s long-term health is pretty evident.

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AUTHOR
Craig Smith
Craig got his start in water working in the swimming pool and spa industry. He didn’t realize at the time that water treatment would grow into his main career but he ended up working in the pool industry for over 26 years where much of his time was spent balancing the water in customers swimming pools and installing water filtration equipment. Craig offers an abundance of water treatment knowledge after helping homeowners get pure water for 26 years and he’s excited to share his wisdom to help other homeowners select the right water filtration devices.