Health Risk

Common Waterborne Contaminants

Your water can look, smell, and taste just fine but it doesn’t necessary mean that it’s free of contaminates. Microbial and organic contaminants can’t be detected by us using our senses such as sight, smell, taste, and touch. We usually never become suspicious of our drinking water quality until people in our family or the community start to get sick

“Water near agricultural areas may contain harmful organic material from pesticide or fertilizer application. Chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers in water may increase cancer risk and reproductive problems, and can impair eye, liver, kidney, and other body functions. Similar problems can result from exposure to water near industrial plants “- (The Water Quality Association).

According to The Water Quality Association most common waterborne contaminants include:

  • Aluminum
  • Ammonia
  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Cadmium
  • Chloramine
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Bacteria & Viruses
  • Lead
  • Nitrates/Nitrites
  • Mercury
  • Perchlorate
  • Radium
  • Selenium
  • Silver
  • Uranium

Effects of Waterborne Contaminants on Health

Contaminants that can be present in drinking water and pose a risk to human health can be divided into two groups based on health effects that they cause. We divide them into “Acute and Chronic effects”.

  • Acute effects can occur within hours or days of the time that a person consumes a contaminated water. People can suffer acute health effects from almost any contaminant if they are exposed to extraordinarily high levels (as in the case of a spill). In drinking water, microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, are the contaminants with the greatest chance of reaching levels high enough to cause acute health effects.Usually our bodies can fight off microbial contaminants. But if we are exposed to very high levels, they can make people ill, and can be dangerous or deadly for people with weak immune system.
  • Chronic effects occur after consumption of a contaminant at levels over EPA’s safety standards over the course of many years. The drinking water contaminants that can have chronic effects include chemicals (such as disinfection byproducts, solvents and pesticides), radionuclides (such as radium), and minerals (such as arsenic). Examples of these chronic effects include cancer, liver or kidney problems, or reproductive difficulties (The Water Quality Association).

Source:
The Water Quality Association, Official site.
www.wqa.org/learn-about-water/common-contaminants

United States Environmental Protection Agency, Official site.
www.epa.gov/ccl/types-drinking-water-contaminants

Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Official site.
www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/drinking-water-faq.html