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Thread: RO systems and stomach upsets

  1. #1
    Vick is offline Junior Member
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    Default RO systems and stomach upsets

    We recently bought a tankless RO system but my wife get diarrhoea everytime she drinks the water from it. I am fine. She is ok on jug filtered water but everytime she switches back to RO water the problem recurs. She has tried weaning herself gradually onto the RO water but when she reaches the level of 2-3 glasses per day the problem recurs.

    Anyone ever come across this? Manufacturers say they have never heard of this problem.

  2. #2
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    I am with the manufacturers on this one. I have never heard of gastro-intestinal problems CAUSED by an RO. This is not to say that it can't happen, though.

    You say you have a tankless RO. Is that a Merlin? I assume it is new and not used, right?

    Diarrhea is often caused by injesting something the body is not used to, micro-organisms, toxins or something that affects the enzymes severely enough to cause a reaction---rejection. The removal of dissolved solids and a slight drop in pH should not cause these problems, or at least never that I have heard.


    Has a medical technician been consulted? if not, do so. Also, make note of other injested substances from diet, beverages, to medication and any other changes in lifestyle that could cause a bodily reaction.

    If all else fails, stop using it for drinking purposes.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

  3. #3
    Vick is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes its a Merlin. Yes it was new - all filters sealed and we took care not to touch or otherwise contaminate them during installation.

    It's not dietary as she has changed from one water source to another several times now and the effect is consistent, even with no significant change in diet.

  4. #4
    Vick is offline Junior Member
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    Default Decontamination

    So if the system is contaminated, how does one go about decontamination?

  5. #5
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    I'm not sure that women's likelihood to attract maladies occures from RO useage as studies indicate other means and ways. But to sanitize an RO do the following.


    Unscented household bleach (5.25%) is an excellent oxidative agent that can be used to sanitize and disinfect an RO. If you believe you need to sanitize your filter unit follow the steps below:

    1. Remove all filters including the RO membrane. If you have a “Taste & Odor” polisher that needs to be removed too.

    IMPORTANT: You must remove the RO membrane from the membrane housing before proceeding or you will destroy the membrane.

    2. Replace all EMPTY canisters except the 1st one.

    3. Put 1/2 cup of household bleach in first filter housing and install it on the filter unit.

    4. Turn the source water on, slowly pinching the drain line to force water to exit the membrane housing from both ports.

    5. Wait to smell bleach from the drain and product side. If you have a drinking water system you need to smell bleach from the faucet too. You can use a chlorine test kit or your nose to test for the presence of chlorine. As long as there is some bleach in all parts of the system you will be disinfecting it.

    6. Once you have bleach to all ports, shut the water off and wait 20 minutes.

    7. Check to make sure there is still bleach to all ports. If you smell the bleach then you have successfully disinfected you filter system. If there is no bleach smell left after 20 minutes it means there was still undesirable material in the filter, which was not fully oxidized and you have not killed everything. In that case, repeat the above steps until you can smell chlorine at the ports.

    8. Now flush the system with fresh (no chlorine) water for 10 minutes. Make sure water is flushed from both ports on the exit side of the membrane housing.

    9. Test for bleach from all ports. If there is no bleach smell or chlorine left after flushing you can reinstall your filters. If there is still bleach present, continue to flush until all the bleach is all gone. IMPORTANT: You must be sure and flush all bleach from the system before you replace the membrane in the membrane housing or you will destroy it with the residual chlorine.

    This is an excellent time to replace your filter cartridges to avoid any system
    contamination. After reinstalling your cartridges, your filter will be as good as new.

    Also, make sure the nozzle of the faucet is sanitized as well.

    No way am I suggesting this will 'cure' your wife's discomfort but it can make you feel more comfortable that your RO is properly cleansed.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

  6. #6
    Gary Slusser is offline Banned
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    You may want to disinfect the faucet tip first and see what that does for her. And include the kitchen sink faucet tip. Use a capfull of bleach in a full glass of water and submerse the tips in the water as long as you can hold it there and then repeat a few minutes later.

    Yes the average female is much more susceptible to water borne Coliform bacteria contamination than men. That is based on what my customers said of their experience living with contamination. For 18 years I did a bacteria test on all waters I tested; back in 1990-91 I averaged 18 bacteria tests a day 4.5 days a week and after that I averaged 1-2 a day until 2004. Personally I say all water treatment dealers adn their sale people should do the test for all their well water prospective customers but sad to say, they are mostly only interested in quickly selling a water softener and maybe an RO and moving on.

  7. #7
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Oh, I was expecting some kind of scientific study through university labs or private institutes. But if you have had a couple of personal converstaions with descriptions of health problems from past customers, then I can understand how you have come to that conclusion.

    I would depend on a little more than wive's tales to make a diagnosis concerning health issues. Most studies are related to women's bacterial problems are related to those found on hands. I haven't seen any studies concerning that women are more susceptable due to drinking water.

    Perhaps you could point those out to us. I would be intersted in knowing more rather than depend on a few customer comments.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II
    Last edited by Andy CWS; 01-24-2009 at 09:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vick
    We recently bought a tankless RO system but my wife get diarrhoea everytime she drinks the water from it. I am fine. She is ok on jug filtered water but everytime she switches back to RO water the problem recurs. She has tried weaning herself gradually onto the RO water but when she reaches the level of 2-3 glasses per day the problem recurs.

    Anyone ever come across this? Manufacturers say they have never heard of this problem.
    Vick,

    I really hope you find a sloution to your situation. I still believe that improving water for drinking purposes is the way to go. If there is something in your water that is causing an illness or discomfort, then a serious approach should be taken to identify it and correct the problem or make efforts to avoid it.

    You can send me a PM if you'd like.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

  9. #9
    gaindauz is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Same like me, only me is got stomache upset and diarrhea for almost 2 weeks, other family member no affect.
    I chek my RO PH is 5.5, and before purchased RO unit I already knew RO PH is acid, so when bougth RO unit I also add additional post filter to increase the PH. But never attention on flow rate, therefor my RO still produce low PH. After decrease flow rate, now RO PH is same like Feed water PH 6.6.

    Still sometime get stomach upset, but now after used to be drink it, seem like my body is adapted. Now ok for me.

    In your case, caheck the PH, if low PH caused youor wife stomach upset, try to increase the PH by add Alkaline Filter or toher filter to increase it.
    Last edited by gaindauz; 02-04-2009 at 11:13 PM.

  10. #10
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Many juices and other drinks have a pH much lower than 5.5. RO water will lower pH has it removes alkalines. I am not aware of how acidic water causes diarrhea or that it does.

    Mineral-plus cartridges that actually add calcium, magnesium, etc., to the water are available. The Kinetico K5 RO has one that comes as a standard addition to its system. It will add taste and 'essential nutrients' to the drinking water but can't say that it will cure any gastro-intestinal problems.

    As always, with health issues, consult a persoanl health professional.

    Andy Christensen, CWS-II

  11. #11
    Angel123 is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Reverse Osmosis: diarrhea and stomach pain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vick
    We recently bought a tankless RO system but my wife get diarrhoea everytime she drinks the water from it. I am fine. She is ok on jug filtered water but everytime she switches back to RO water the problem recurs. She has tried weaning herself gradually onto the RO water but when she reaches the level of 2-3 glasses per day the problem recurs.

    Anyone ever come across this? Manufacturers say they have never heard of this problem.
    I just bought a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter, and I am experiencing diarrhea and stomach pain.
    What did you do to fix this problem?

    HELP.... I am desperate.

  12. #12
    Vick is offline Junior Member
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    Smile RO and stomach upsets

    We stopped using the RO for about 6 months whilst we had some building work done. When we started to use it again we changed the filters (not the membrane) and disinfected the unit with bleach as directed in the instructions. (See suggestion from Gary)

    Everything has been fine since then, but not sure whether it was the disinfecting or just the break from it. I think you need to be really careful to wear sterile gloves and not contaminate anything whilst you are changing the filters.

    Good luck.

  13. #13
    Daniel is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for stopping back in with some good advice, Vick. Sanitation is critical when installing and maintaining these RO systems.

  14. #14
    PuROMax is offline Junior Member
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    I am not sure if this has been mentioned yet because I did not read the whole post, But,,,,,,,,

    Many people forget that many systems use a chemical to keep the membranes open and clean. This chemical has been linked to stomach issues and in most cases will go away after a day or two.

    Most manufactures state in the instructions that you should not use the first 5-10 gallons to allow this chemical to be flushed out.

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