Water’s murderous potentiality was explored in the form of water intoxication in a previous post, but its killing ability reigns not only the lands, but the seas.
Never drink sea water. Everybody abides by this because they are either grossed out by the thought of drinking whale urine and rusty ship wreckage residue or because they had tasted it and had discovered that seawater was not exactly tasting like bubble tea.
Seventy one percent of the Earth is covered in seawater, yet we cannot sip on it. Let us explore the ironically abundant, yet non-drinkable seawater, and how it can kill you.
Sea water is made up of a deadly concoction of water and salt. We need salt and water to live, so in actuality it is not the concoction that is deadly, but it is the dosage that is deadly. Our bodies only need a quarter of a teaspoon of salt a day, 500 mg. But the average human unhealthily intakes about 3,500 mg of salt a day. The superstition requiring people to throw salt over their shoulder upon spilling it was actually put forth to utilize clumsy people to decrease the amount of salt at dinner tables.
Do not look that up.
Fresh water contains 0.1% salt content while seawater contains over 1.0% salt. On top of that, sea water is not regular “pass the salt shaker salt”, it actually contains a lot of different types of salt which includes Epson salts, potassium salts, and iodine salts. Drinking seawater will force the intake of large quantities of salt which will throw your metabolism’s equilibrium off, to say the least.
When drinking seawater, water from every cell of your body rushes to help carry the salt out of your body. So basically, as we hydrate with seawater, we are really dehydrating all of our cells in our body. This will lead to possible seizures, unconsciousness, and brain damage. But even if all the water from our dehydrated cells succeed in bringing all the seawater salt close to excretion, the last stop before departure will not be able to bear the load. The last main stop before unwanted salt is released from the body is the kidneys, and unfortunately, our kidneys would overload and we would die a salty death.
Though humans cannot drink seawater, there are other marine mammals that are able to do so. The reason they are able to drink sea water is because they have larger and more sophisticated kidneys than we do. But let us not get down on ourselves because they do not have larger and more sophisticated technologies than we do.
California and Florida have desalinized seawater for human consumption in order to experiment with a possible replacement to our current water supply. It is still rather expensive, but research is currently in motion to provide desalinated water to deserts in the Middle East.
There you go. Sea water can kill you by dehydrating your body and damaging your kidneys. So next time you go on a cruise to Florida, double check the supply in the Aquafina vending machines.