Quality change mechanism and drinking safety of repeatedly-boiled water and prolonged-boil water: a comparative study

J Water Health. 2020 Oct;18(5):631-653. doi: 10.2166/wh.2020.022.


Quality, safety and potability of repeatedly-boiled water (RBW) and prolonged-boil water (PBW) lead to concern and even misgivings in the public from time to time, especially in China, and other societies have a habit of drinking boiled water, with improvements of living standards and owing to increasing concerns for human health. This phenomenon is mainly attributed to the fact that the conclusions drawn from existing scientific experiments could not respond well to the concerns. In order to make up for this deficiency, tap water was selected to carry out RBW and PBW experiments independently. The quality changes of RBW and PBW show very similar trends that are not as great as might be imagined, and both are impacted by the tap water quality and the physiochemical effects. The dominating physiochemical effects are the water evaporation and the resulting concentration of unreactive components (most dissolved components), which can be easily explained by the existing evaporation-concentration theory. The results show that tap water will be still safe and potable after being frequently boiled or after having undergone prolonged boiling, as long as it satisfies the sanitary standards of drinking water prior to heating. Therefore, there is no need to worry about drinking RBW or PBW in daily life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Drinking Water* / analysis
  • Humans
  • Water Purification*
  • Water Quality
  • Water Supply


  • Drinking Water