Arsenic- The Hidden Contaminant
Unless you’re a scientist, you probably studied the periodic table in high school science class and then promptly forgot all about it, focusing instead on other things that you thought were more relevant to your daily life. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, however, one semi-metal element on that periodic table might affect your daily living more than you think.
The mystery element is arsenic which, according to the EPA, “enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.” Because it is odorless and tasteless, many people may mistakenly believe that arsenic is harmless and they might not even know that it is present in the water they drink every day. Side effects of consuming water contaminated by arsenic can be as commonplace as stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting, or can be as serious as partial paralysis, blindness, or certain types of cancer. The goal here is not to scare you but to educate you on the hidden dangers that may be lurking in your water, especially if your water comes from a private well or other untested source.
For individuals living in areas supplied by public water sources, there is some reduced worry of adverse side effects from arsenic contamination since municipalities must test their water at regular intervals and report the results to the populations they serve. This does not eliminate the risk of contamination altogether, however it does allow for more immediate remediation if a problem with the water quality should arise.
Individuals with private water supplies should be even more cautious. Most homeowners get their water tested infrequently, quite often only when they first buy or move into a home. It stands to reason, then, that arsenic contamination could easily occur and catch the average homeowner unawares. To prevent this, you can have your water tested more frequently. If it ever does get contaminated, however, you must still find a way to treat it so that it will be safe for drinking again. A simpler solution is to have a drinking water system installed in your home that filters out contaminants before the water comes out of the tap and into your glass. Just be sure to have it professionally installed and maintained so that it can do its job effectively and efficiently. With a drinking water filter in place, you will be taking one more step toward maintaining the health and vitality of you and your family.
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