What are the most common Water Contaminants found in our water supplies?
A few years back we were sat talking about water, how clean it was or actually wasn’t. We know when water is brackish that alone would put people off wanting to wash in it or drink it, unless it as a last resort during a desert or jungle survival situation. It’s often asked Just how safe is your drinking water? There are various resources, but you can read more here for our impression on this topic.
We gotta around to chatting about what actually was in our water, coming from the rivers or through our faucets. So the ones that were mentioned first were; Lead. Pesticides. Asbestos. We’ve all heard these contaminants exist within our water supply. But what exactly are they, and why are they so dangerous? See below for answers.
CRYPTOSPORIDIUM & GIARDIA
Primary source is animal feces, which can contain harmful cysts. Land runoff carries cysts into lakes, streams and rivers where water treatment plants collect the water. The cyst microorganism is small (3-4 microns in size) with a hard shell that protects it from chlorine, the most commonly used disinfectant in water treatment.
The EPA estimates that 155 million people are potentially at risk from waterborne cryptosporidium. It can cause flu-like symptoms that can last one to three weeks in healthy adults. It can be life threatening for persons with suppressed immune systems, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer patients.
Lead can leach into water from lead plumbing, lead solder and brass alloy faucets.
Long-term exposure can cause lower IQ, memory reduction and shorter attention spans in children.
LINDANE AND ATRAZINE
Lindane is a pesticide used on cattle, lumber and gardens. Atrazine is a herbicide used on corn and non-crop land.
Lindane can cause liver, immune, circulatory and nerve problems. Atrazine can cause mammary gland tumors.
Direct and indirect water contamination can result from natural deposits.
Can cause cancer.
Disinfectants used by drinking water treatment plants.
Chlorine treated water can taste and smell bad.
We covered this in more detail here in an article titled does reverse osmosis remove chlorine?
Direct and indirect water contamination can result from crop runoff, natural deposits, batteries and electrical switches.
Can cause kidney and nervous system disorders.
Direct and indirect water contamination can result from natural/industrial deposits.
Can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
“Cryptosporidium – Drinking Water Health Advisory” US EPA, December 1993
“Is Your Drinking Water Safe?” US EPA, May 1994
“EPA The Lead Ban” US EPA, August 1989