Could your home Drinking Water Affect the Developing Brain of your child?


Today with vast medical information easily available in the media through TV and the Internet, many expecting mothers are far more careful about their diet and lifestyle to ensure the good health of their unborn child.  Research in fact has recently brought to light the fact that certain water contaminants and chemicals could actually affect the developing brain. Some medical professionals have actually established a correlation between conditions such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia with chemical exposure.  Could your home Drinking Water Affect the Developing Brain of your child?

The Level and Extent of Exposure to Chemicals

In the modern world, it is very difficult to avoid harmful chemicals altogether. It’s more a matter of LEVELS and EXPOSURE, not absence.  Chemicals, in actual fact, are almost everywhere in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink, let alone the clothing we wear, the vehicles we drive and the homes we live in. We are surrounded by potential dangers, which could be affecting children as well as unborn fetuses. Many of us are aware of the increased occurrences of developmental issues in children, but recent research has suggested that not all potentially harmful chemicals and contaminants are actually banned in the United States. While the EPA regulates the levels of known water contaminants such as lead, nitrates and arsenic in municipal supplies, many potentially harmful contaminants are not regulated.  As an example, although the EPA has established a 4.0mg/l limit in water supplies, a Harvard study has shown that flusoride could have a detrimental effect on children’s IQs. The researchers concluded that fluoride could potentially be as damaging as mercury or lead in causing “chemical brain drain.”

Understanding The Effects of Chemicals on Brain Development

Many medical professionals believe that exposure to everyday household chemicals could have a significant effect on the developing brain of a child. Compounds such as PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) which is commonly found in furniture and children’s pajamas as a flame retardant could trigger a number of brain defects from lower IQ to severe autism.  Simply because a mother may not feel an effect from a low dose exposure to chemicals, does mean that a developing fetus will not be unaffected. The brain is an extremely complex organ, and during early development is in an extremely vulnerable state. This could mean that even small doses, of potentially harmful chemicals, could have devastating long-term consequences. Since today’s science knows little about the potential impact of the majority of chemicals present on the market (well over 80,000), it is considered a good idea to limit exposure especially when pregnant.

How to Minimize Exposure

There are some very basic precautions, which will allow pregnant women to limit their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals which could affect a developing brain of a fetus. These precautions include staying clear of strong household toxic cleaners, pesticides and paint thinners as well as eating organic foods whenever possible and drinking filtered water as often as possible.

Since many chemicals can leach into water supplies, it is important to ensure that your drinking water supply is safe for you and your unborn child. While the EPA regulates municipal water supplies, agricultural runoff and contamination from pipes can still affect the levels of contaminants in your drinking water. Also, since much of the water here in Nebraska comes from private wells, the EPA regulations do not apply.  It is the consumer’s responsibility therefore to ensure the quality of the drinking water they consume. Whether you are pregnant, have an infant or child, or simply wish to ensure the health of your family; you should consider how you can effectively remove harmful chemicals from your drinking water by either whole house filtration or even reverse osmosis for you kitchen supply of drinking and cooking water.

About The Author, Terry Reeh, Partner EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space , Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  In addition to running the day-to-day operations of EcoWater Systems of Nebraska, one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery enterprises in the state, Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices.

Back to top