Ion exchange filters prevent the soapy feeling in hard water by removing calcium and magnesium and adding salt to form soft water to improve taste and ability to wash clothes and dishes. Some people are concerned that these filters may increase the risk for heart attacks because at least two studies show that people who drink soft well water have an increased risk of developing heart attacks.

If there is an association with soft well water and heart attacks, it has nothing to do with the salt. Soft well water contains an insignificant amount of salt compared to food, but it contains less silicon, selenium, and chromium and is more acidic than hard water, which increases its ability to absorb toxic minerals such as lead and cadmium from pipes that carry the water into the home. Water filters send water to your drinking glass, not through pipes where it can absorb toxic minerals. Soft water from filters is not the same as soft well water, and will not harm your health.

Checked 8/9/05

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