The water we drink has always been a controversial topic. From the frequency of consumption to filtering methods, there is always a scientific debate. However, regardless of these aspects, one thing is clear: its cleanliness is crucial. There are numerous water-borne diseases and unwanted substances that can be severely damaging to human health. Therefore, the quality of the water we consume has to be thoroughly checked. Multiple techniques, technologies, and processes are available today to make sure of that.
We all need to be wary of the potential dangers unchecked water can cause. To be more careful, we must be well informed. One way to be more vigilant about our consumption is to know what substances are harmful and how they can affect us once ingested. Here are seven harmful contaminants that could end up in your drinking water.
Viruses and Bacteria
Depending on location and water gathering methods, viruses and bacteria can easily end up in your drinking water. In addition, it can come from the natural environment, such as animal waste. Without proper and thorough filtering and purification techniques, this could readily lead to diseases. This is significantly true for those who get their daily drink from the tap. As a result, those who get their drinking water from the tap or natural resources should have filtration means such as filter paper or other at-home remedies. This will do wonders by preventing norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis A and C. Other milder symptoms can look like fevers, vomiting, stomach aches, and diarrhea.
Drinking water generally passes through meters of metal before they reach our mouths. A consequence of this is the contamination of lead, which is one of the most common impurities found in water. The integrity and maintenance of most pipes are questionable and hard to check. So, it’s a good idea to inspect your water systems and have them replaced if they are outdated. While the effects of lead aren’t instant, large amounts of it in your body are detrimental to your brain health and nervous system.
Unfortunately, when arsenic infiltrates water sources, it becomes difficult to extract and lingers for longer. The good news is that it can be removed via precipitation. If you want to know if you could be drinking this substance, there are a few symptoms to look out for: headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue. Arsenic is actually a valuable component in agriculture. It aids in creating effective herbicides and pesticides. However, it can penetrate crops and farms and enter water sources. If your drinking supply is near these kinds of areas, then it is best to double-check for arsenic levels in your water.
Nitrates comprise much of our chemical fertilizers and are also present in improper waste disposal. Consequently, they can create a toxic trail and go into our water systems. Most of the time, this is hard to avoid, which isn’t completely bad. Regular tap water usually has standard amounts of nitrates that aren’t severely harmful to adults. However, it’s not the same for infants. Too much of the substance can be damaging to children’s health. For example, it can reduce the efficiency of red blood cells and their oxygen transfer.
We often hear how fluoride benefits us and not the other way around. While this is true, and the element does have its advantages, such as preventing tooth decay, it can be just as dangerous. Fluoride primarily occurs in groundwater and soil. Several localities intentionally incorporate it into their water source because of its benefits. However, there must be regulations to keep it safe. If the levels are not maintained, unhealthy amounts of the substance can cause neurological, reproductive, and cardiovascular complications.
It might sound odd to have liquid metal in your drinking water, but mercury is another common harmful contaminant that can end up in your aqua. Mercury is often distributed to water sources from natural deposits experiencing erosion. Additionally, this can also happen from improper waste disposal from factories and landfills. Ingesting high levels of mercury can be damaging to your kidneys.
Cadmium contamination, similar to lead, occurs in water systems. They are often in the fitting solders, galvanized pipes, and water equipment such as sinks, coolers, and heaters. Fortunately, public water systems look out for high cadmium levels and address them accordingly. On the other hand, private sectors should be monitored if they conduct routine check-ups. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal, making it dangerous even in small doses. Also, it stays in the body for years because of its extensive biological half-life. Another adverse effect of the element is it promotes renal damage once consumed.
Overall, these harmful contaminants should be avoided at all costs in our drinking water. While some substances are allowable in small amounts, prevention is always better than cure. If you have the means to attain clean and high-quality water, then do opt for that. The terrific news is that there are ways to purify drinking water and prevent pollutants from entering our bodies.
Water filtration is a practical and efficient way to make our water clean. Different types target specific contaminants and vary in thoroughness.
For heavy metals such as cadmium, adsorption is the most optimal way to remove the substance. It utilizes carbon-based nanosorbents (in activated carbon water filters that remove cadmium) to thoroughly target cadmium ions and separate them from the water. It works by having the liquid pass through while the matter attaches to a carbon core.
Other processes for purifying water, besides activated carbon, are ion exchange and reverse osmosis.
Reverse osmosis is one of the most highly utilized principles that filtration systems maximize to make clean water and remove harmful contaminants. It combines pressure and a semipermeable membrane, similar to mechanical filtering. Then, the water goes through, and the debris is left behind the strain, making it ideal for large particle pollutants.
Lastly, the ion exchange mechanism thoroughly removes dissolved ionic particles from water. Then, a swap occurs wherein better ions take their place without denting the water quality.