Have you ever questioned whether drinking rainwater is safe? The brief response is: occasionally. Here is a look at when drinking rainwater is risky, when it is safe, and what you can do to make it such that it is.

Important Lessons: Is Rain Water Drinkable?

When Rainwater Should Not Be Consumed

Before reaching the ground, rain travels through the atmosphere where it might pick up any airborne impurities. Rain from hot radioactive sites like Chernobyl or the area around Fukushima shouldn’t be consumed. Drinking rainwater that has fallen close to chemical facilities, power plants, paper mills, etc. is not advised. You could ingest hazardous substances from plants or structures if you drink rainwater that has run off of them. In a similar vein, avoid collecting rainwater in filthy containers or from puddles.

Suitable Rainwater for Drinking

Rainwater is generally safe to drink. Actually, a large portion of the world’s population gets its water from rain. Pollution, pollen, mildew, and other toxins are present at very low levels—possibly even below the level of your public drinking water supply. You might wish to treat rainwater before drinking it because rain does occasionally bring up dust, insect pieces, and low quantities of bacteria.

Generating Safer Rain Water

Boiling and filtering rainwater are two important measures you may take to raise its quality. The water will be sterilized by boiling. Chemicals, dust, pollen, mold, and other impurities can all be removed by filtration, such as using a home water filtration pitcher.

How you gather rainwater is a crucial additional factor. Rainwater can be gathered directly from the sky and put into a clean bowl or bucket. Use a container that has been cleaned in a dishwasher or that has been disinfected. Give the rainwater at least an hour to sit so that heavy particles can sink to the bottom. As an alternative, you can filter the water with a coffee filter. Although it is not required, cooling the rainwater will prevent the majority of germs from growing in it.

The Acid Rain Question

Because of the reaction between water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the majority of rainwater is naturally acidic, with a pH range of approximately 5.0 to 5.5. It’s not hazardous at all. In fact, because it contains dissolved minerals, drinking water rarely has a pH of neutral. Depending on the water source, approved public water may be acidic, neutral, or basic. Coffee brewed with neutral water has a pH approximately 5, to put pH into context. The pH of orange juice is closer to 4. You should avoid drinking the truly corrosive rain that may occur near an erupting volcano. Otherwise, acid rain is not a significant issue.

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