Help! I’m Reacting to Water???!
This is a message I’ve gotten a few times, and I haven’t had a very complete response to it to date because I haven’t been able to solve the problem for myself. And now that I have it mostly solved, I still don’t have any clear explanation for the phenomenon or any guaranteed solutions for anyone. Just some suggestions. But here is literally everything I know about and have tried re: finding safe water to drink when you have corn allergy, chemical sensitivity, or a mast cell disorder.
I am making many claims below that need elaboration or references. I will come back and add details and links as I have time, but I thought it was important to just do a brain dump ASAP because there are people who need this info that currently don’t have safe water.
tl;dr – The Short Version
If you are allergic to corn and are reacting to your water, DO NOT DRINK Dasani or Aquafina. These are KNOWN to contain corn derivatives in the form of “added minerals” and/or the bottles are made from corn plastic.
Try buying Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring brand (owned by CG Roxane) bottled water before you try anything else. It is cheap and easily attainable in many areas at drugstores, grocery stores, dollar stores, liquidation stores, etc. There are several spring sources and not all of them work for everyone, and also there are still people who cannot tolerate this water. If that doesn’t work, begin trialing: Fiji, Starbucks Ethos brand, Voss in glass bottles, Poland Springs. Also join the Facebook Corn Allergy and Intolerance group, because you are going to need some real-time group support getting this figured out.
Where’s the Corn (or other allergens) in Water?
Quite honestly, I do not know why precisely water is such a problem for corn allergy folks. It definitely is but I really can’t provide a lot of clear physiological explanation for why that would be. It is true that some corn derivatives may be used in water treatment, and that mineral fortification treatments may have corn-based excipients in them. However the degree to which we see water issues really outpaces what could be explained by that, in my observation.
I think it is likely an issue with multiple sensitivities and the intersection of mast cell activation disorders that causes the issue. And the result of that is that there is no universally tolerated water, and there are several folks within my online social circles at any given point in time who are not completely tolerating *any* water.
Here are the things that I have observed can be problems for myself and others with corn allergy and/or mast cell activation disorders:
Bottles: Glass Sanitizers
Antimicrobials seem to be a huge trigger for corn allergy folks as well as MCAD folks. No-rinse bottle sanitizer products can contain corn derivatives and even corn starch when they are the drop-in tablet form.
Bottles: Glass Mold Release/Coatings
I got a Berkey water filtration system and seem to be having trouble with the water. I saw on a post somewhere – and I thought it might be one of yours – that you should get the ceramic filters, not the black ones. I’m just wondering why. I’ve made two calls to Berkey. Both times they doubted me. The gal I talked to absolutely refused to believe there could be corn in, around, through or in any way associated with the black filter. I don’t even understand what would make the black filters a problem, but not the ceramic. Do you know anything about this?
[I’ve edited the question a bit to withhold some identifying information.]
A Little Background: There’s Corn In Water?
Yes, there is. Here’s the Hidden Corn entry on water. Like many other chemicals the additives and disinfectants in drinking water can be derived from corn (citric acid especially) or can be in a corn-based carrier to help them dissolve. Then, when it comes to water filtration systems, information is often proprietary so we don’t know for sure *what* is corny about it, we only know that the corn allergic react. My best guess is that the activated charcoal in some water filters could be from corn, or could have been “activated” using a corn based acid. Additionally filters that add minerals back in to the water will do so via corn-based carrier chemicals. *And*, I don’t have a reference for this, but there are reports of antimicrobial polymers such as antimicrobial toilet seats causing BIG contact reactions with corn allergics. The housing of the water filter could be made from an antimicrobial polymer, and that polymer would likely be corny.
Now the Answer