Every human on this planet deserves to drink safe and clean water. Although we are blessed with vast water resources, humans have become the top contributor to water contamination. Because of our dream of industrialization and highly civilized living, we have taken for granted the importance of clean land, air, and especially water, which is crucial for human survival. We may have direct access to tap water in our homes, but it may contain hidden contaminants that can be harmful to our health.
What is Quality Water
Water is considered to be the most basic and most essential part of our everyday lives. We need quality water for cooking, drinking, and keeping ourselves clean.
Water quality refers to the composition and condition of the water. Several factors (physical, chemical, and biological) determine water quality. These include levels of dissolved oxygen, bacteria, salinity (saltiness), and turbidity (material suspended in water).
However, no single measurement accurately defines water quality. There are several scientific measurements used to describe the quality of water; however, saying that the water is good or bad is quite as simple as one would expect. Water quality is always defined by intended use. For example, drinking water can be used for irrigation, but irrigation water is never suitable for drinking purposes. The guidelines for water quality provide fundamental scientific information about the parameters of water quality and the toxicological threshold values to adequately safeguard specific water uses.
Some of the factors that affect water quality:
- Soil erosion
- pH level
- Decayed organic materials
- Toxic substances (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals)
- Grease and oil
- Litter and garbage
Common Water Contaminants
There is a certain threshold at which water contamination is considered pollution which relates to the toxicity and quantity of the contaminants found in the water. For instance, water naturally has trace amounts of copper, which is beneficial to our health. However, if the level of copper exceeds the standardized level, it can be toxic for consumption. Only then copper is considered a pollutant, instead of a contaminant.
Here are other contaminants commonly found in tap water:
Lead - Even at low doses, lead can cause significant damage to health. Lead pollution in public drinking water is widely caused by corroded household plumbing systems and erosion of natural deposits. The level of lead in water depends on the time duration water is exposed to corroded pipes, the severity of corrosion, and the temperature and acidity of the water. Drinking lead-contaminated water can result in a variety of adverse health issues.
Chlorine - This powerful oxidant is known for its disinfectant properties to inhibit microbes. It is used to purify drinking water, despite its adverse health effects. This reactive chemical bonds with water in your gut and produces toxic hydrochloric acid. Long-term exposure to chlorine-contaminated water can cause cell damage, memory loss, respiratory problems, and impaired balance.
Chloramine - Chloramine forms when chlorine-treated water mixes with ammonia. Chloramines are commonly used as secondary disinfectants. However, when both chloramine and chlorine mix with other natural substances in water, they form disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). Various laboratory testings showed that these harmful materials could increase cancer risks.
Mercury - This liquid metal is a naturally-occurring element that is found in various natural deposits. Mercury is toxic, causing blindness, brain and nerve damage including cognitive disabilities and memory loss, muscle atrophy, impairment of motor functions, and skin problems. As a byproduct of mining and industrial practices, mercury can be washed off during heavy rains and contaminant ground and surface water. Long-term exposure to high levels of mercury can lead to kidney damage.
Arsenic - Although considered poisonous, arsenic remains a widely-used material in many industrial processes. It can contaminate the public drinking water sources through improper waste disposal and poorly-planned water system. Drinking arsenic-contaminated water causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even death. Certain types of cancers can also result from long-term exposure.
Herbicides - Herbicides can accumulate in the soil and contaminate drinking water through rainfall and irrigation. Contaminated water from farmlands can flow into water sources, such as lakes and rivers, causing algae blooms that can adversely affect the natural habitat of the exposed waterways. Atrazine, a common herbicide used on golf courses, can affect the reproductive organs and hormonal activity of the body.
Cyst - These microbial parasites commonly thrive in rivers and lakes. They contaminate the water through leaking septic tanks, sewage, and runoff from feedlots. Unfortunately, cysts can still survive many water disinfection processes, making them a serious health risk in tap water.
Fecal Matter - Contaminants and parasites, such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium, from human and animal fecal matter, can potentially enter the water supply system through poorly disposed waste or runoff from pastures or manure piles. Long-term consumption of contaminated water can result in gastrointestinal diseases and cramps.
Legionella - This naturally-occurring water contaminant can cause legionnaires' disease, a severe type of pneumonia. The condition is spread through breathing in mist or drinking contaminated water. Legionella bacteria is frequently more common in buildings with larger plumbing systems. While it does not easily affect healthy people, legionella puts smokers, seniors and people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune system at more risk.
Nitrate - Nitrate-contaminated water is a common problem in rural areas, especially in private water systems. Runoff from fertilizers and manure storage can leach into groundwater and cause contamination. High levels of nitrate in the body can result in Methemoglobinemia, a type of blood disease caused by the formation of an abnormal type of hemoglobin.
How to Make Your Water Safe to Drink
Some people are under the impression that boiling helps decontaminate the water. While boiling helps kill bacteria in water, it does not remove chemicals, toxins, and salt. The safest and most effective way to protect your health from the harmful contagions is to have your water tested to determine the toxins present in your tap water. Once you have identified the contaminants, it will be easier for you tohe right water filtration system to remove the toxins that are in your water.
While your municipal water supply is safe to drink, it may have an unpleasant odour or taste caused by chemical disinfectants. Water filters remove not only organisms but also chemicals present in water that adversely affect taste and smell. Having a water filtration system gives you direct access to clean and great-tasting water that is far less expensive than buying bottled water.
Efilters is your one-stop shop for high-quality Everpure water filters. We provide both homeowners and food business owners with a wide range of Everpure water filter cartridges to choose from, depending on their needs. Connect with us by email for answers to your questions.