9 hidden dangers lurking in tap water

Filed in: Health.

They may tell you it is safe, but they are often wrong! Water treatment facilities are entrusted with the responsibility of providing safe drinking water, but they only follow the rules in letter, not spirit. More specifically, they only test and regulate a stipulated number of pollutants that were list More than a decade ago

There have been no revisions to this list since 2001, although many new chemicals have been introduced in the interim period. Several studies have shown their presence in tap water and its toxic effects, but state and federal government agencies have not been proactive.

Some chemicals, such as chlorine and fluoride, are deliberately added to tap water for specific purposes. But several others enter the waterways from industrial effluents that are emptied directly into groundwater systems without adequate decontamination. Others slowly find their way from contaminated soil. To ensure safe tap water, controlling man-made pollution is as important as using the latest water purification technologies.

The intense pressure and lobbying of industry giants may be one of the reasons for the inaction on the part of the EPA, but the resistance of the general population is becoming increasingly popular as education and training are extended. awareness.

The following are some of the most likely chemical contaminants in your tap water:

1. Fluoride

Fluoride is added to tap water in most states of the USA. UU With the pretext of promoting dental health. This practice has its roots in the observation of Dr. Frederick McKay at the beginning of the 20th century.th century in which children in the Pikes Peak region, near Colorado Springs, affected by dental fluorosis, were surprisingly free of tooth decay.

Upon discovering that this condition was the result of excessive amounts of fluoride occurring naturally in the spring water of that area, he advocated adding the same chemical to drinking water elsewhere. The dental professionals of that time welcomed this idea with enthusiasm, promoting the widespread fluoridation of the domestic water supply. Thus began the fluoridation of drinking water in the country, a pioneer in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945.

It should be noted here that dental fluorosis was called "Colorado brown spot" due to the discoloration and deformities that characterize it. However, the good doctor and his contemporaries obviously considered it a reasonable exchange for tooth without decay.

Without taking into account the strong opposition of many sectors in the last 70 years, fluoridation still continues in the United States. This is despite the fact that fluoride does more harm to overall health, compared to its supposed benefits for dental health. Even at the recommended level of 1 ppm and below, it is known that fluoride suppresses thyroid function and reduces immunity. Just as it damages tooth enamel, fluoride weakens bones and makes people more prone to fractures.

Several studies have shown that fluoride has neurotoxicity and that it reduces the IQ in children. It causes tumors and helps their rapid growth and spread. Many developed countries that had previously implemented the fluoridation of drinking water since then have stopped practicing in the light of new research.

However, the National Research Council (NRC) that reviewed the fluoride studies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are in denial. CDC has only gone as far as it has recommended bottled water low in fluoride To mix infant formula for babies exclusively fed with it. It is a beginning, but no one can guess how long it will take the states to rethink their fluoridation policy.

Read more: The hazards of water fluoridation (and how to remove it from your water)

2. Chlorine

Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect water in swimming pools and water treatment plants. Compressed compressed gas or liquid sodium hypochlorite solution or calcium hypochlorite in powder form are generally added in sufficient quantities in the pre- and post-treatment stages.

Chlorine gas has a pungent odor that irritates the nasal passages, but this chemical can effectively destroy most of the pathogens found in water and reduce the risk of waterborne diseases such as viral hepatitis, cholera, typhoid fever and salmonellosis. But the drawback is that it can cause many health problems, including certain types of cancer.

The harmful effects of chlorine are well known. In fact, it was one of the chemical weapons used in the First World War. Swimming in chlorinated water causes severe asthma in some people and causes premature aging of the skin. Irritations of the skin and eyes, dry cough and sore throat are more common. One could choose not to participate in chlorinated pools in case of adverse reactions, but that is not the case with chlorine in tap water.

Regular consumption of chlorine, even at the doses found in domestic drinking water, has been associated with birth defects and cancer of the breast, rectum and urinary bladder. According to a study report published in the international cancer magazine In April 2006, chlorinated tap water is implicated as a leading cause of bladder cancer in men.

While it is important to mitigate the immediate risk of pathogenic diseases, the threat of cancer and other health problems can not be ignored. The adoption of safer and non-chemical alternatives to chlorination is obviously the solution. But the higher cost of implementing UV radiation or large-scale membrane filtration has been a major obstacle.

3. Arsenic

Arsenic that occurs naturally in certain types of rocks can contaminate groundwater and underground reservoirs. This type of arsenic poisoning is common in many parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa, but in many industrialized countries, including the United States, most of the arsenic in the water comes from mining and industrial pollution. Large-scale agriculture that uses heavy fertilizers and pesticide loads can introduce arsenic into the soil from where it leaches into groundwater.

Arsenic poisoning causes powerful skin problems, physical deformities and multi-organ failure. Its link to cancer is well established, the number of incidents is directly proportional to the concentration of arsenic in drinking water and cooking. For example, a concentration of 10 ppb in tap water carries a cancer risk of 1 in 500, while a concentration of 50 ppb increases the risk to 1 in 100.

The water supply in almost 25 US states UU It is at risk of high levels of arsenic according to a NRDC study conducted in 2000. Once the arsenic is in the water, it can not be removed by regular filtering or boiling. Ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and distillation are the effective methods of elimination.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) must ensure that tap water does not contain a hazardous level of chemical contaminants, including arsenic. However, the safety level for this chemical is arbitrarily set by the EPA at 10 ppb due to pressure from arsenic-using industries, although the original recommendation was 5 ppb.

4. lead

If you thought that public awareness of the health hazards of lead poisoning and government guarantees would have resulted in the removal of this heavy metal from our tap water, you are wrong. Lead continues to be present in drinking water supplies in many states by the very admission of the Center for Disease Control.

The lead in tap water is mainly attributed to the old metal fittings that connect the house's supply to the electric grid. The CDC recommends testing the tap water supply in your home to rule out lead contamination. However, it does not offer any permanent solution to the problem or promise immediate corrective measures.

Unlike chlorine, lead dissolved in water does not cause changes in color, smell or taste, so the only option is to have the tap water analyzed as recommended by the CDC. There are no scientifically validated safe levels of this toxic substance, but 15 parts per billion have been set as the Environmental Protection Agency's action level for lead.

Lead is extremely toxic, particularly affecting the neuromuscular system. It causes symptoms ranging from abdominal problems and fatigue to cognitive impairment and irreversible brain damage. Children are more susceptible, lower IQ, learning difficulties and growth retardation that is common in young people exposed to this metal. Even small amounts that accumulate in body tissues over time can cause permanent damage.

The CDC advises people with high levels of lead in tap water to determine if the point of contamination is the connections to the main pipeline or any water pipeline within the home network. If it is an internal problem, the complete replacement of lead water pipes is recommended. The recommended temporary solutions include opening the taps with full force for 2 to 5 minutes before using the water and collecting only cold water for drinking and cooking.

The recent Flint disaster As a result of the city changing its water source, the apathy and complacency of the government agencies in charge of guaranteeing safe drinking water stand out. In this case, the new water source, the old water lines and the inadequate water purification processes together caused a massive corrosion of the lead pipes. This resulted in a sudden increase in lead levels in some homes to more than 800 times the maximum allowed concentration. Unsuspecting people had to endure the worst part of official supervision, as the officers in charge were still on the defensive.

5. Radioactive elements.

Radioactive elements are extremely dangerous because they continuously release ionizing radiation as they decompose. These high-energy radiations can cause cell damage, alter their DNA and trigger abnormal cell divisions. Even a low level of exposure to radiation can cause serious metabolic changes and malignancies.

Tap water in several areas of the country contains uranium and other radioactive elements such as tellurium, cesium and radioactive iodine. Radioactive radon gas that dissolves easily in water can be another contaminant in your tap water if your local water supply comes from groundwater sources.

Radon poisoning is mainly caused by the gas that is released into the indoor air when the water is used for bathing, washing, etc. and then by drinking the contaminated water. It is one of the main causes of lung cancer, along with the consumption of tobacco.

While radon in drinking water supplies can be tested at low cost, disposal at the point of entry into the home can be quite expensive. It requires the installation of radon removal chambers that contain activated carbon particles. However, there is a consolation that there is at least one solution. That is not the case with other radioactive elements. In the absence of regulatory guidelines, the EPA simply offers to monitor the situation.

6. Toxic organic compounds.

Your tap water may contain several organic compounds with known toxicity. Trichlorethylene, perchlorethylene, perchlorate and atrazine are just some of them.

Perchlorate is an additive for rocket fuels that comes mainly from military manufacturing facilities. It is also used in explosives. It has been proven that this central nervous system toxin causes a delay in brain development. However, the United States Air Force is not ready to clean up its mess, as it can be very costly.

Trichlorethylene is a degreaser that has many applications in the manufacturing industries, while perchlorethylene is a common solvent used in dry cleaning. Trichlorethylene can cause liver and kidney diseases, as well as cancer. It is known that perchlorethylene triggers the formation of tumors and other malignancies.

Atrazine in drinking water is a consequence of the use of pesticides in agriculture. It is a common problem in the southern United States and the Midwestern states. Although the EPA presented plans to regulate these chemicals, the harsh opposition of polluting industries has left them aside.

7. Pharmaceutical medications.

Many medicines used in the field of medicine are coming to our groundwater systems, and eventually end up in tap water. These include over-the-counter medications that are commonly used to relieve pain, as well as prescription drugs to treat different types of infections and psychiatric disorders.

Part of this drug load could come from improperly treated effluents from drug manufacturing units. Patients who take the medications usually excrete large amounts of them in the urine. They reach the groundwater of the wastewater.

Although it is quite obvious that the accumulation of drugs in the body can cause many adverse health effects, including drug resistance, the EPA has not described any comprehensive control measures.

8. Bromates

Bromatos do not occur naturally in water, but they are introduced through the contamination of groundwater by industrial effluents. Sodium bromate and potassium bromate are the two main contaminants found in tap water, probably because they are commonly used in textile dyes and some hair care products.

Since chromates are known to cause thyroid and kidney tumors, as well as widespread damage to the liver and kidneys, they are on the list of chemicals regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Bromates are often formed during the water treatment process, but the treated water is required to be free of bromates when leaving the treatment facility. However, these chemicals occasionally appear in tap water, as a laboratory in Los Angeles recently discovered.

When the concentrated solution of sodium hypochlorite is used in the chlorination of water containing bromide, it can lead to the formation of sodium bromate. The use of chlorine dioxide for chlorination usually does not produce bromates, but exposure to light at the same time can result in the formation of bromate.

This happened recently in a Los Angeles reservoir, when, in an attempt to control this, the vans threw black plastic balls to protect the water from sunlight.

9. the chrome

This chemical, especially hexavalent chromium, is known for its genotoxicity. Exposure to this pollutant causes many types of cancer, especially lung cancer. It is also involved in kidney damage and intestinal problems..

Hexavalent chromium is widely used in the painting, plastic and steelmaking and electroplating industries. Exposure to this element is an occupational hazard for people who work in cutting and welding stainless steel, but can also enter groundwater systems.

EPA has a maximum contaminant limit (MCL) of 100 ppb for chromium in general, but nothing specific for the most dangerous hexavalent chromium. There are high concentrations in tap water of up to 31 cities across the country, but not much is done about it.

Apart from chemical contamination, tap water can contain E. coli and other bacteria and viruses. However, boiling and filtering water or UV radiation can destroy these organisms, but the removal of chemical contaminants requires technologies such as reverse osmosis.

Protect yourself

If you are worried about your drinking water, you can always perform a test. Once you discover what is in your water, you most likely want to install a filter that will deal with the unpleasant in your water. The filters for the whole house are the best and your money is worth it for the peace of mind that you will get knowing that you are drinking safe water.

Read Also  Exclusive challenges of breastfeeding faced by women today

Reference: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/tap-water-dangers/, by Susan Patterson

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