Wondering whether you can legally drink water from a reverse osmosis system in Europe? Find the answer in this guide.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- Reverse osmosis (RO) water is NOT banned in Europe.
- You can legally buy and drink RO water, and use a reverse osmosis system, in European countries.
- The only country that bans the use of RO systems is India, in Asia – not Europe.
Table of Contents
🤔 Is RO Water Banned In Europe?
No, RO water consumption isn’t banned in Europe.
Anyone living in a European country can legally buy reverse osmosis water, whether for drinking or other use.
RO bottled water is for sale in supermarkets and online. You can also buy reverse osmosis systems at hardware stores and online.
All types of RO systems are legal in Europe, even the conventional systems that waste up to 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of filtered water produced.
🧐 Why Do People Think RO Water Is Banned In Europe?
There are clearly some rumors floating around that RO water is banned in Europe. You’ve found yourself on this article, after all.
Why do some people think that reverse osmosis water is banned in Europe? We don’t have any definite evidence, since RO water purifiers aren’t actually banned.
However, based on what we could find on forums online, there seem to be a few public concerns and questions that could cause uncertainty around the use of reverse osmosis systems in European countries.
Here are a few reasons why people might think that RO water is banned in some countries in Europe:
The wastewater produced by an RO drinking water system appears to be the most common reason why some people might think RO filters are banned in Europe.
This makes sense, since RO water filter purifiers are banned in India for this reason (more on that below).
Even the most efficient RO filters waste around 1-2 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of purified water produced.
Unfortunately, water waste is unavoidable. The RO membrane rejects total dissolved solids, and these impurities have to go somewhere. They’re washed down a drain with wastewater as pure water is filtered through the unit.
Removes Essential Minerals
Another common reason why people assume that RO water isn’t allowed in Europe is that such water is free from essential minerals.
RO water is high-quality drinking water that contains no chemical contaminants, heavy metals, microorganisms, and other toxic chemicals and pollutants. But the water is also free from all the minerals and essential salts that are naturally found in tap water.
There are claims that drinking reverse osmosis filtered water has adverse health effects because the purification process removes calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that are essential to our health.
There’s no doubt about the fact that if you don’t meet your daily requirements for calcium and magnesium, you’ll experience adverse health effects. However, you should be getting most of these minerals from your diet, and removing them from your tap water shouldn’t make a difference.
On average, 100 ml of tap water contains 3 mg of calcium.
On the other end, a portion of spinach contains 245 mg of calcium, a glass of skimmed milk contains 598 mg of calcium, and a cup of low-fat yogurt contains 488 mg of calcium.
In short, removing the essential minerals from your water with an RO filter shouldn’t be a problem if you’re getting plenty of these minerals in your diet.
Increases Water Acidity
The final reason why some folks might assume that Europe has banned RO water is because demineralised water from reverse osmosis filters has a higher acidity.
Because RO purifiers remove all water impurities, including minerals that increase water’s pH, the pH of RO filtered water can drop down to 5 or 6 (neutral pH is 7).
This means that drinking water produced by reverse osmosis is more acidic, meaning that it’s “hungrier” and is more likely to corrode metals and other impurities from pipes or storage containers.
The corrosive properties of RO water are mildly concerning from a plumbing perspective, but drinking slightly acidic water isn’t harmful to human health.
🩺 What’s The World Health Organization’s Opinion On RO Water?
We found numerous sources stating that the World Health Organization warns against drinking reverse osmosis water because of its lack of minerals, which could lead to mineral deficiencies. However, no sources linked to the “recent report” that was being referenced, and we were unable to find anything recently released that relates to RO water specifically.
We did find this report, which is a draft report regarding the “rolling revision of WHO guidelines for drinking water quality” and discusses the potential health risks of drinking demineralized water, but we’re not sure about its legitimacy.
Contrastingly, some sources said that the WHO deems drinking RO water as a healthy practice – but again, these didn’t back up their claims with any evidence.
🚱 Is RO Water Banned Anywhere Else in The World?
We only know of one country that currently bans the use of reverse osmosis water purifiers (in certain situations): India.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on RO water purifiers was established due to the “huge wastage of water” caused by the use of reverse osmosis systems in highly populated areas.
The RO process wastes a lot of water. Conventional RO systems would waste 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of purified water produced. There are more efficient systems available today, but water waste is still an inevitable part of RO purification.
The ban in India applies to areas where water’s total dissolved solids (TDS) measure is lower than 500 mg/L.
📑 Final Word
Presently, reverse osmosis isn’t banned in Europe, and there’s nothing to suggest that any European countries will be banning RO water purifiers in the future.
However, that’s not to say that this will never happen. But the most likely reason that RO water may become banned in some countries in Europe is due to the water wastage, and not because of the health concerns related to a lack of essential minerals in RO purified water.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s insufficient evidence to suggest that drinking demineralised water (also known as dead water) poses any sort of risk to human health, since normal tap water only has a low dissolved minerals content anyway – and we get far more of these minerals from the foods in our diets.
If you’re concerned for any reason about using an RO water purifier or drinking RO water, simply don’t do it. Your preferred choice of drinking water is yours – but if you’re considering installing an RO system, there are no bans in Europe that will stop you.