A water contaminant is defined by the Safe Water Act as any substance or matter in the water besides water molecules; whether it is a physical, chemical, biological, or radiological element.
Physical contaminants are the organic matter that affects the appearance and other physical properties of water. Chemicals, on the other hand, can either be of natural occurrence or man-made such as bleach, salts, and pesticides while biological contaminants are the microbes in the water including bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
While water can have a low percentage of contaminants without causing any health issues, increased levels of contaminants in some drinking water sources are both toxic and harmful to our health. It’s not only about the level of contamination, but it’s also more about the type of contaminants in the water.
Below, we will go through some of the most common water contaminants that you need to know more about.
City Water Supply Contamination
To produce safe drinkable water, water treatment plants firstly filter out particulates. After that, disinfectants should be applied. Certain chemicals are then added to the city supply to produce safe drinkable water. These chemicals usually include chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride.
Chlorine is one of the most important chemical additives that is usually added in small amounts to ensure the quality of water. It kills harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microbiological contaminants. Chlorine can be easily detected from the watercolor and taste; the color tends to be whiter than crystal clear and the taste is easily distinguished as it resembles the taste of swimming pools. Chlorinated water can easily be distinguished after showering due to its effects on the skin. You will find that your skin after showering will tend to be more itchy, scaly, and dry. While chlorine is relatively safe and essential to be added to water, some consumers resort to RO filters to enhance the taste of water.
This chemical substance is the result of chlorine when it comes to contact with ammonia. Chloramines are used for disinfecting the city water supply, yet it’s much less effective than chlorine. RO filters or activated charcoal are the best methods of water purification to remove both chlorine and chloramines.
This chemical substance in its mineral ionic form is often added to the water in small quantities to improve water quality. However, due to human error, the added fluoride quantities may be higher than the recommended amount. This can cause the water to be toxic, especially with long-term exposure. That’s why there are many people who prefer to protect themselves against tooth decay, brittle bones, and joint pain by limiting their exposure to fluoride and filtering it out of their water.
We all must have heard about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan where residents received questionable water quality that posed a threat to the health of many. Lead poisoning might cause brain damage, physical development delay, and reduced IQ. The source of this contaminant is usually industrial processes and brass fittings of different types. If you pay close attention to the quality of water you receive, you can then look for ways to get clean water that is free from any harmful contaminants. As you can see on this site, there are various filters out there that can remove lead and other contaminants from your water through various purification methods such as activated carbon filtration, distillation, and reverse osmosis. These systems have proven their effectiveness in filtering out lead and other harmful contaminants from water, and they also play a huge role in improving water taste and quality.
How Dangerous Are These Contaminants?
There are over 80 potential water contaminants. To decide on how toxic and harmful these contaminants are, there are some factors that need to be taken into accounts such as their percentages and types. Some of these substances can, however, lead to serious health risks, especially when it comes to biological contaminants. Bacteria, viruses, and other microbiological contaminants might lead to illness and even death. However, there are some other types of contaminants that only pose a threat to our health after long periods of exposure. Over time, these contaminants such as lead and fluoride cause many organ failures and might even lead to cancer.
Water contaminants can’t be avoided, whether they are intentionally added to improve water quality or are a result of industrial processes and other external sources. Learning more about the different types of contaminants, their toxicity levels, and their different effects on our health is essential to finding the most efficient ways that you can use to get clean water.