Contaminated water is more common than you might think. Although all municipal water supplies follow regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), every water system differs, depending on the water treatment process, pipe systems and age, and quality assurance protocols. There are a number of water contaminants that appear in tap water, such as lead, chlorine, and chromium, among various others. The contaminants lurking in your water supply may lead to health problems and water that doesn’t taste or smell very good.
When contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, and other toxins and impurities seep into the soil and surrounding area where water comes from, it makes its way to your faucet. Additionally, cities with older pipe systems may leach lead or copper into the water as it makes it way to the tap. It’s important to know which water contaminants may be in your tap water and the health effects they may have.
To stay hydrated in a healthy way, it’s best to take advantage of an advanced water purification system like FloWater, which removes these contaminants and improves the taste and quality of the clean water you drink on a regular basis. First, though, it’s important to know the health risks of drinking water straight from the tap. Although not all of these show up in water systems at the same level, here are 10 of the most common contaminants that affect water supplies today.
Lead is one of the top toxic metals attributed to contaminated water across the U.S., most notably in Flint, Michigan. Due to aging water systems, lead leaches into the water and results in various health effects. In an effort to prevent distributing water that’s been subjected to lead and copper corrosion, the EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule.
This requires corrosion control treatment by city utility facilities to prevent corrosion from contact with consumers’ tap water. Even subjectively low levels of lead exposure may result in developmental delays both physically and mentally. It may also pose a risk for developing high blood pressure and kidney problems.
Chlorine as a disinfectant has been used for decades as part of water treatment processes to eliminate microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. The most frequent use is chloramines which are formed when ammonia and chlorine are combined to treat tap water. This mixture meets EPA regulations and makes it safe for cooking, drinking, and bathing.
However, chlorine can leave behind an unpleasant odor and taste, which doesn’t make it appealing to drink. It may also result in irritation to the skin and eyes and lead to an upset stomach if consumed. Each municipality is in charge of testing the amount used in its own water supply. Not all water quality is created equal, which means your tap water may have more chlorine than the recommended amount.
The presence of chromium, particularly hexavalent chromium, was brought to light by Erin Brockovich. It is the toxic element responsible for causing multiple, severe health conditions among the residents in Hinkley, California. Among these illnesses include cancer, respiratory problems, and damage to the skin and nose.
Hexavalent chromium is largely used to prevent corrosion for industries such as stainless steel production and textile manufacturing. These toxins can make its way from manufacturing sites and into the neighboring groundwater used to supply residential homes. It is unsafe to drink and can still cause damage when in direct contact with the skin.
Although fluoride is a familiar compound most notably used in toothpastes and in dental offices as a way to protect teeth from cavities, too much of it can contaminate water. Excessive consumption of fluoride may result in bone pain and possibly bone fractures in children and adults. For kids under the age of eight, too much fluoride puts them at risk of developing pits in tooth enamel.
On the surface, fluoridated water may seem like a benefit. However, the excess of it as part of a drinking water supply may lead to potential health risks, especially for infants and children.
PFOA is the acronym for perfluorooctanoic acid, which has now been phased out of production due to its high toxicity. This synthetic compound is best known for its use in Teflon cooking products, distributed for decades by DuPont. Since PFOA does not break down naturally, remnants of it seeped into water supplies, causing harm to many of the residents in close proximity to the production and waste sites.
The majority of Americans have been exposed to PFOA, but when over certain levels and/or when accumulated over time, this exposure can lead to several types of cancers, developmental defects, immune disorders, and liver damage, among other adverse health effects.
#6: Hydrogen Sulfide
The typical concentration of hydrogen sulfide found in tap water doesn’t pose health risks. Although, the odor alone is enough for anyone to avoid drinking it. The distinctive, rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide doesn’t make it pleasant to drink or use for cooking.
This potent odor comes from the sulfur-reducing bacteria that is naturally found in wells and enters surface water through springs. Also, areas with oil fields nearby usually have hydrogen sulfide present in the water as well. It can cause corrosion in pipe systems, which can then lead to leaching of toxic chemicals such as copper, lead, or iron and result in contaminated drinking water indirectly.
Radon is a result of decayed radium, which is naturally found in the Earth’s crust. It’s present in nearly all soil, rock, and water. Radon may be present in your home in the form of gas as it seeps into the air and through the foundation of your home. It can also be present in your water source.
Both external and internal exposure to radium can lead to diseases, such as bone cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia. Continuous exposure to radon, through the air and from your tap water, builds up in the body and leads to severe and irreversible health effects.
When pharmaceuticals aren’t disposed of properly, they eventually end up in lakes, rivers, and other water sources. Traces of these can be found in tap water and can be harmful to human consumption. This runoff contamination comes from drug manufacturing plants, hospitals, and nursing homes, as well as livestock areas where antibiotics are used.
The adverse effects of consuming contaminated water that contains pharmaceuticals is a cumulative effect and poses a higher risk to those who are already vulnerable, such as children, elderly adults, and women who are pregnant.
Simazine is a regularly-used herbicide for deep-rooted crops like artichokes, berries, and citrus, among others. There’s prevalent use among farms and orchards. According to an assessment published by Cornell University, simazine is a moderately toxic contaminant when ingested, slightly toxic when the skin is exposed to it, and highly toxic if inhaled.
Contaminated water containing high levels of simazine over a prolonged period of time can lead to tremors, liver, kidney, or thyroid damage, and certain cancers based on experimental studies.
Just as the name suggests, microplastics refer to the plastic debris that is super small, barely visible by the human eye. These primarily come from larger pieces of plastic waste and can easily make their way into municipal water treatment systems. The toxicity of this bottled water contamination affects the environment and currently poses a huge threat to our oceans.
Most plastics are not biodegradable. Waste from single-use plastic bottles (and other plastic materials) often make its way into the waters due to overrun landfills since it takes several hundred years for plastic to break down on its own.
Benefiting from Purified Water
The truth is any of these contaminants (and several others) are likely lurking in your tap water supply. FloWater implements a thorough, seven-step filtration process to ensure these contaminants are kept out. By using your existing water source, FloWater transforms it and takes it through sediment, carbon, and advanced osmosis filters.
These are all specifically designed to remove all solid contaminants, smaller water particles, and any lingering odors and smells that often accompany tap water. Removing the harmful proponents of lead, chlorine, and other commonly found contaminants provides clean water that you can feel confident about consuming.
The process then adds in essential minerals and electrolytes to improve the water, as well as activated oxygen, which is used to self-sanitize the tanks and provide extra oxygen to the bloodstream. The electrolyte water finishes with a natural coconut carbon filter that adds to the refreshing taste of purified water that is cool, crisp, and delicious.
Staying hydrated is vital to everyone’s health. With FloWater, you have the option of drinking water that is free of contaminants and tastes good to get your daily intake. You don’t have to rely on your tap water alone that still has varying levels of heavy metals, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and other impurities and toxins. Nor do you have to contribute to the increasing amount of plastic waste, which is costly to the environment and impossible to sustain. FloWater provides the best of all worlds so you can have a higher quality of clean, safe drinking water every day.
- https://www.epa.gov/; http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/publications/L-5312.pdf;