The trouble with most drinking water contaminants these days is that it is really hard to see that the water is actually contaminated. Usually we will be able to either to see, smell, or to taste a contaminant very easily and to refrain from drinking it. Yet when your water looks clean, has no smells, and tastes just fine, can you still be sure that your water is uncontaminated? These days, you can never be that sure.
Microbial and organic contaminants cannot always be detected by human senses. You might go years before realizing a problem exists. Many folks never become suspicious until people in the community start to get sick. Water near agricultural areas may contain harmful organic material from pesticide or fertilizer application. Chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers in water may increase cancer risk and reproductive
There might be a host of organic,
inorganic and microbial contaminants in the water that can go undetected by
human senses. In the end you might have gone on drinking
contaminated water for years before you find out the truth. The sad part is
many people don’t realize there is an issue until a person gets sick or shows
symptoms but by that time most of the other people who have drunk the same
water are affected beyond help as well.
Water sources next to agriculture for example can contain traces of fertilizer or pesticides and sources close to industrial areas can have a whole host of chemicals contaminating them. These sort of contaminants lead to health problems in the digestive system, the reproductive system, can affect the skins, the eyes and the nervous system. Long term exposure can sever issues such as liver disease, kidney disease and even cancer.
Some of the main waterborne contaminants are as follows:
- Bacteria & Viruses
If you suspect or have even some small doubt that the water that you are drinking could be contaminated there are avenues that you can follow to alleviate those fears. You can take a small water sample to a local laboratory and get it tested or find a local water expert to visit your home/site and conduct an analysis.
How Waterborne Contaminants Affect Your Health
In the US, their Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list and set standards for over 80 contaminants that can find their way into drinking water and affect the health of people. Depending on the effects they cause these contaminants were divided into two groups.
The first of these are acute effects. These are symptoms that affect people within hours or days after consuming water with a contaminant. These effects happen when people are exposed to sudden high amounts of contaminants in a short period of time. This can occur when there is a toxic spill.
The significant fact about these contaminants that cause acute symptoms is that they usually don’t have a permanent effect on people. Since most people’s bodies can fight these microbial type contaminants or show symptoms soon enough to get treatment, these are usually fatal. But bear in mind for people with weaker immune systems these levels of contaminants levels can sometimes be fatal.
The other type is chronic effects. These can affect people who take in water sullied by contaminants which exceed the contamination levels set up by the EPA. These are usually caused by chemicals (such as solvents & pesticides) released into the environment from sources such as industrial sites and agricultural areas or by certain minerals such as arsenic that can be released to the ground water through natural deposits. Most of these contaminants can lead to sever health crisis such as liver disease, kidney disease and even cancer.