When people turn on a tap, they expect the water to be safe to use. But this isn’t necessarily true, and contamination incidents seem to be occurring more often. All municipal water suppliers are regulated, and the water is cleaned and disinfected to a basic standard. But, this does not guarantee that contamination cannot happen due to human error, breaks in the water delivery infrastructure, and other problems. In this article, we will look at three common tap water contaminants in more detail.

1.  Lead

Lead can dissolve in the water from old plumbing systems, flaked lead paint, and other sources. The EPA has determined that there is no safe consumption level for lead, and it’s extremely toxic. Even low levels of lead exposure have been linked to serious health issues, and babies and young children are especially at risk. The health problems may include birth defects, hypertension, learning difficulties, nerve damage, decreased kidney function, and more. Lead will bioaccumulate in the body, and any additional exposure to lead simply adds to the lead that’s already in the body.

2.  Chlorine

Chlorine and chloramine (chlorine mixed with ammonia) are commonly used disinfectants in water treatment plants. But, they impart a “swimming pool” bleach-like taste and odor in the water that many people don’t like. This is especially noticeable if you live closer to the water treatment plant. The reason is that extra chlorine is added to boost the efficacy of keeping the water clean in the outlying areas. So, if you’re closer to the plant, the concentration of chlorine or chloramine that you receive will be higher. Chlorine has been tenuously linked with dry skin, eye irritation, respiratory issues, and more. Very high concentrations of chlorine can cause kidney and digestive system problems. A recent development has been the voicing of concerns over chlorine byproducts and the possible negative effects on health. More research is needed in this area, but many people are taking steps to remove chlorine from their water supply.

3.  Emergent Contaminants

The EPA has a long list of emergent contaminants that are deemed to be a concern. Further research is needed to evaluate the true risks, but at the moment, there are two emergent contaminants that are a particular cause for concern: pharmaceutical byproducts and hormones. In recent years, these have been detected at low levels in many bodies of surface water across the U.S. The Water Quality Association (WQA) estimates that almost 90% of oral drugs ultimately enter the water supply after they leave the human body. These contaminants are known to have a detrimental effect on the endocrine system, but the health risks for humans are not properly understood at this time.

In Conclusion

Many contaminants are hard to detect without professional laboratory water testing. There are water filtration systems that can remove a wide variety of contaminants, including the three mentioned in this article. If you’re concerned about the quality of your water, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.