19 Common Tap Water Contaminants you must know

According to a research paper published by the Food Surveys Research Group, tap water accounts for 2/3rd of water consumed at every American household. Everyone drinks tap water in some form; plain water, beverages, or it is used in cooking. Despite the efforts to keep tap water pure and hygienic by the Federal Government and State Authorities, water pollution, aging infrastructure, and human negligence make our water impure. A running tap may seem pure, but it contains a lot of impurities. These contaminants can cause health problems, ranging from minor to severe, as outlined by the CDC.

In this article, we will explain some of the common impurities present in tap water and how each of them can impact your health. We will also discuss how you can get rid of these impurities.

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Know your water before you drink it!

Common Tap Water Contaminants

Microorganisms – Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses are everywhere. Though Corona Virus does not spread through water, other viruses and bacteria can. The majority of water sources contain bacteria in them. Such pathogens cause various diseases related to stomach, nausea, and irritation. The municipal treatment plant may kill all the bacteria during disinfection, but they can still attack your water in the water pipes and your plumbing system. The best way to confirm the presence of bacteria is to get your water tested. You can either get it tested from an independent lab, or you can also call water filtration companies’ professionals to get the water tested. They offer free testing if you buy their filters. A UV or RO filter is best in killing all the bacteria in tap water.

Iron– Iron is one of the most common contaminants found in tap water. The reason is that it is present in abundance in the earth’s crust. It is commonly found in well water. Though iron is found in trace amounts in American water, it can cause taste, color, and odor issues in your drinking water. The best way to deal with it is to use a 3 or 5-stage water filtration system.

Sediments – Dust particles, rust, sand, and dirt can be present in your tap water in minute amounts. It can cause stomach problems, throat infection, and respiratory issues. Any filtration system with an activated carbon filter system can remove all the sediments present in the water.

Chlorine – Chlorine is a common disinfectant used by the treatment plants and water companies to disinfect water before supplying to your homes. Sometimes, excess of chlorine can cause a pungent smell and flat taste in your water. It can also create harmful chlorine by-products. If these by-products are ingested in high quantities, it may lead to severe diseases like cancer and reproductive problems in men.

Lead – Have you ever thought that why lead-free plumbing fixtures, faucets, and showers are given preference? Because lead is harmful to human health, it has been banned in the US since 1986. Unfortunately, around 30% of tap water in our country contains lead. Lead can cause brain damage in children and adults. Lead enters your water through corrosion in pipes and plumbing fixtures. Lead is undetectable in your water; it has no taste and smell. You can get rid of lead by using a lead-removing water filtration system.

Arsenic – Another common impurity found in the American tap water is arsenic. It is present in the earth’s crust and can contaminate municipal water sources and well water. Arsenic is very harmful; if ingested in large quantities, it can increase the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, blood pressure, and cancer. Water filters that can remove lead can also remove arsenic and other heavy metals.

Aluminum – Aluminum is also present in abundance in soil, air, and water.  When drank in large quantities, it can increase the risk of dementia, nervous system problems, kidney problems, and anemia in human beings.

Copper – Copper is also present in large quantities in the water system because of aging infrastructure and old plumbing fixtures. There is nothing water treatment plants can do about it, but your water filter can. A high amount of copper in water can cause problems like kidney and liver damage and anemia.

Chromium – Chromium is also present in American water in little amount. It can interfere with your digestion system and cause hormonal imbalance. RO systems are the best for removing chromium from your water.

Fluoride – Though fluoride is an important ingredient in toothpaste, its excess can significantly impact the IQ levels of your children. Research proves that children who drank water with excessive fluoride have low IQ as compared to children who drank in controlled quantities. Excess of fluoride can also weaken the skeletal system in adults. The best way to get rid of excessive fluoride in your water is to use a water filtration system with reverse osmosis filters.

Nitrates – Nitrates are used in fertilizers; excessive use of nitrates can seep into the water channel underground and contaminate our drinking water. It can harm pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. EPA has set a limit of 10 PPM for nitrates in drinking water. RO filter system is the best way to deal with excess nitrates in tap water.

Pharmaceuticals – Pharmaceuticals are also present in our tap water. It can seriously hurt our health by disturbing the hormonal imbalance. Water filters are available for dealing with pharmaceuticals in water.

Radioactive Contaminants – Trace amounts of a substance such as uranium, radium, and radon are present in our water because of their presence in the earth’s crust. Radioactive elements cause cancer of various types. They are one of the most dangerous contaminants in water. Make sure you do not have them in your tap water by getting it tested. You can use a RO system to deal with them effectively.

mercury in water resources

Mercury – Mercury is harmful to kidneys, nervous system, and infant health. If drank in excessive quantities, it can cause life-threatening problems. Any high-quality RO system will be able to deal with mercury in your tap water and provide you with pure drinking water.

Manganese – Another naturally occurring element in the earth’s crust, it can be harmful to children when it is consumed in excess. RO systems and UV light filtration is the best way to deal with it.

Vinyl chloride – It is linked with the production of PVC plastics. This compound is believed to be present in very few communities in the US, but its excess can lead to cancer.

Perchlorate – It is linked with thyroid problems and comes in our water due to its use in rocket fuel, explosives, and road construction. It is mostly present in States with ordinance factories. It can be very harmful, and yet there is no particular filtration method to deal with it. However, a 7-stage filtration system is most effective in its treatment.

Industrial and mining contaminants

Agricultural and Industrial Chemicals – The excessive use of herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers contaminate our water. They can be very dangerous to your health in a lot of ways. Industrial wastes, though treated properly, can still pose a severe threat to your health. They get in tap water through seepage and improper treatment in some cases. Filtration systems with activated carbon and granular carbon filters are the best remedy to such harmful contaminants in tap water.

Calcium and Magnesium – These elements are directly responsible for the hardness in your water. Minute amounts do not hurt your health; instead, they are good for you. However, they can damage the health of your appliances, plumbing system, and faucets. Using a whole house water softener system can keep them away from your home.

Final Word – How to get safe, healthy, and pure tap water for drinking?

First of all, you need to get your water tested right away, call a testing company at your home, or contact the municipality center for a detailed report of your water quality. It is better to get the water entering your home because often contaminants enter in your water from water pipes. Once you have the results in your hand, only then you can decide which filtration system you can use. If the level of contaminants is low, you can use a 3-stage water filtration system. On the contrary, if the water is poor in quality, we recommend you get an RO system with a re-mineralization stage. RO filtration removes the necessary minerals from water, so re-mineralization is needed to ensure healthy water for your family.

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