There's twice as much sodium in the water as the calcium, magnesium, and
iron that was in the the hard water. (it's not much)
The kitchen cold water faucet and the outside faucets are probably
plumbed with hard water rather than softened water.
Will do some calls tomorrow, Monday, and see where I can get an accurate
answer. Will post relevent information for all interested parties. Not
sure, but I do drink enough tap water to make it a factor.
First of all, don't take medical advice from strangers in a newsgroups.
You don't know if you're talking to MDs or 13 year old kids.
2nd, a quick google search found this from the Mayo Clinic:
The salt water from the brine tank is only used to clean the minerals from
the resin tank. When that portion of the cycle is complete, a properly
operating softener uses clean hard water to back-flush any residual salt
down the drain. Thus leaving (at most) a trace of salt. After the
regeneration is complete, the only sodium left in the tap water, is that
which is normally in the water before it comes into the home.
Water softeners and a low sodium diet
Maintaining a low-sodium diet is more difficult if you use some types
of "softened water."
To understand the problem you need to know a little about how water
softeners work. They usually contain a chamber filled with beads or a
chemical matrix called zeolite. This is an ion-exchanger and acts by
replacing the chemicals in the water that make it hard (calcium and
magnesium) with another ion, usually sodium. When the beads are "full"
of calcium and magnesium, they are regnerated by passing a high level
of sodium chloride through the exchanger, which displaces the calcium
and magnesium and replaces it with sodium. Now, when the beads are
exposed to hard water again, they continue to do their job of swapping
calcium and magnesium for sodium.
For most individuals, the amount of sodium present in softened water
is not a health problem. If however, you are trying to maintain a low
sodium diet, this can add to your difficulties.
The amount of sodium in softened water can vary. According to a paper
by Yarows et al., (Sodium concentration from water softeners, Arch
Intern Med. 1997 Jan 27;157(2):218-22) the sodium concentration of
softened well water averaged 278 mg/L but the variation was very
large. Levels from 46 to 1219 mg/L were observed. 17% of households
had sodium levels above 400 mg/L. The amount of sodium that gets added
depends on how hard the water is to start with. If the water is very
hard then the sodium level will be higher, as shown in the table
Initial Hardness Na added
(Grains CaCO3/gallon) mg/liter
The above figures are the amount that is in addition to the sodium
content before the water is softened. If you are trying to limit your
sodium intake to 1500 mg/day, then drinking 2 liters of water with 400
mg/L sodium over the course of a day will represent more than half
your daily limit! In the same study, the mean sodium concentration of
municipal, non-softened water was 110 mg/L (range 0 - 253 mg/L).
There are types of water softeners that do not add sodium to the
water. Alternatively, if the ion-exchanger type of water softener is
regenerated using potassium chloride, instead of sodium chloride, then
potassium would be added to the water instead of sodium as the water
was softened. However, in some patients with renal or cardiac disease,
diabetes or high blood pressure, there can also be complications due
to increased potassium intake so this should only be performed in
consultation with your physician.
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