The Many Threats to Drinking Water
Some we know about and others are more of a mystery – drinking water contaminants. There are too many to list, and too many factors to blame at once. While the United States may have some of the best drinking water in the world, we still have much room for improvement. While we know of the following contaminants, other threats are making the news too. Environmental and human factors threaten drinking water all over the nation:
- Microbes such as fecal coliform and E coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms.
- Radionuclides like Alpha emitters (certain minerals) are radioactive and may emit a form of radiation known as alpha radiation. Some people who drink water containing alpha emitters in excess of EPA’s standard over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer. Likewise, Radon gas can dissolve and accumulate in underground water sources, such as wells, and in the air in your home. Drinking water containing radon presents a risk of developing cancer.
- Heavy metals can be very harmful to your health if found in your drinking water. Severe effects include reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and in extreme cases, death. Exposure to some metals, such as mercury and lead, may also cause development of autoimmunity, in which a person’s immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and diseases of the kidneys, circulatory system, and nervous system.
These are only some of the known threats. An article from kaaltv.com and ABC 6 News describes an unexpected threat to drinking water contamination by a less common factor – a pile of thousands of old railroad ties which were treated with the chemical creosote to prevent them from rotting. According to the article, “it is considered hazardous waste, and county officials say they need to be removed from the area, and taken to a proper waste facility.” “If you breathe it in or get it into the water supply it can be a carcinogen. If there’s a major fire, smoke can be toxic,” said Wayne Sorensen, planning and zoning administrator for Freeborn County. He says the stacks cannot stay put. “If they’re disposed of, they have to be disposed of in a solid waste landfill. They can’t go to a demolition landfill, they can’t be burned or chipped,” said Sorensen. Also, they sit near a shoreland district which feeds into Fountain Lake. So for neighbors like Ben Cerney, they fear drinking water will be contaminated.
No matter the origin of a threat or the health effects they may have, we have products to protect your drinking water. Bottled water is a common alternative to unfiltered tap water but is more of an environmental threat than anything. Our drinking water filters and water coolers are a much more affordable and eco-friendly solution to effectively remove harmful contaminants from your drinking water with no maintenance, frequent filter changes, or repairs done by residents. No matter the threat, no matter the reason, and no matter the contaminant, let us clean up your drinking water with a home drinking water system starting today! To read the article mentioned above, click here.
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