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Most people don’t consider their drinking water to be a source of anxiety. However, the water running into your home could very well have contaminants in it, especially those that are detrimental to your health and well-being. The good news? You don’t have to be afraid to drink your tap water! A little bit of education and the right solutions to ridding yourself of these contaminants (or dealing with the side effects) is sure to clear things right up. Let’s take a look at 11 terrifying things that could be lurking in your tap water.
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Lead is a metal that we’re well aware of and one that can do a number on our health if it’s present in our water. Corroding water pipes and natural deposit erosion often contributes to lead in tap water, and even small amounts can be toxic to us. Some signs of lead poisoning to pay attention to include abdominal pain or pain in the joints and muscles, elevated blood pressure and reproductive harm, just to name a few.
Chlorine is something we’re familiar with, and it’s an essential chemical in treating water to make sure that it’s free of microbes and other contaminants. However, it can impact your water quality if there’s too much in the water by the time it reaches your home. Chlorine can dry out your skin and hair and irritate your eyes. The good news? There are plenty of solutions. You can install a shower filter to make sure your water is safe for bathing in and good for your skin. You can also look for beauty products like rice water shampoo or micellar water to preserve the health of your skin and hair.
If you’re someone who enjoys fish, you might already know about the dangers of mercury. Mercury can cause major health issues over time if you drink from the tap and if there’s a high enough concentration of it in your tap water. The most common health problem from too much mercury in your tap water is kidney damage.
4. Herbicides and Pesticides
Herbicides and pesticides don’t always stay on the farm. In the case of the former, herbicides can contaminate local public water sources. In the case of the latter, pesticides can enter the water through sewer systems. Both can cause a wide range of health problems, including reproductive harm and changes to hormones.
Nitrates are chemicals that stem from septic systems, fertilizers and industrial waste, just to name a few sources. When these chemicals enter our water, they can impact the body’s ability to carry oxygen to our tissues. This can then lead to health problems like an increase in heart rate and decrease in blood pressure, abdominal pain and vomiting and headaches. Nitrate contamination in tap water tends to be more common in rural areas.
Fluoride is a mineral that’s been in the water for a while (along with some of your current dental products). At lower levels, it’s believed to support tooth health and prevent tooth decay. However, higher levels can actually have the opposite effect, weakening tooth enamel and leading to issues like staining or white spots on the teeth. Even worse, it can affect your bones in high enough quantities.
Arsenic is commonly introduced to water supplies via agricultural pollution and natural earth deposits. This poisonous substance is very harmful to your body and continued ingestion can have a major impact on your health and wellness. These symptoms include nausea and vomiting, a tingling sensation in the outer extremities, changes in heart rate, and issues with blood vessels as well as the production of both red and white blood cells.
Aluminum is actually quite common in water sources given its abundance in nature. That being said, natural substances aren’t always harmless. In the case of aluminum, it’s believed that higher concentrations of this metal in water systems can potentially lead to dementia later on. Fortunately, there are filters out there that will be able to remove this type of contaminant with ease.
Copper is another metal that can find itself in your tap water. For some, this is due to pollution. For others, having copper pipes in your plumbing system can contribute to copper intake. Drinking copper can result in a wide range of negative side effects like nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and more. Put simply, this is not something that you want inside of your Hydro Flask or Yeti water bottle when you fill it up and carry it with you throughout the day.
There are a lot of physical metals and substances that we discuss in this guide. However, not everything in your tap water is going to come in solid form. Take, for example, radon. Radon is a gas that typically enters water systems when other elements like radium, uranium, or thorium are broken down. When this happens, any activity that releases water can then release radon into the environment. Radon is extremely toxic and is a major cause of lung cancer.
Much like other substances on this list that are improperly disposed of pharmaceuticals can be accidentally introduced to our water systems as well. The problem with pharmaceuticals is that we can never know just how they impact our health until they’re in our water. Additionally, a mixture of pharmaceuticals can cause compounding side effects that cause serious side effects they otherwise wouldn’t cause on their own. These can be a bit harder to test for, so it’s best to ask for a professional test if you’re worried about this type of contamination.
Make Sure You’re Addressing Tap Water Contaminants
Tap water is something that we rely on daily for bathing, drinking and washing items like clothes and dishes. As such, making sure that our water is healthy and safe is important. Keep an eye out for worrying symptoms that can be caused by the above contaminants and seek out help by looking for water filters that can clear out these contaminants.
There are many options available for water filters at home and a fan favorite is the Brita Water Pitcher. Brita filters are certified to reduce chlorine (both the taste and odor), copper, mercury and cadmium, ensuring you clean and safe drinking water.
In additional, your local water company may be willing to test your water so you can identify and fix any underlying issues, such as decaying pipes.
You might also be interested in: The 15 Best Water Filters For Any Home [Filtration Guide]
11 Tap Water Contaminants
- Herbicides and Pesticides