A water “contaminant” includes any physical, biological, chemical, or radioactive substance or matter in water. As a result, Safe Drinking Water Act narrowly defines “water contaminant” to include anything other than water molecules. Any pollutants likely present themselves in drinking water in at least trace quantities. Dangerous chemicals in unfiltered water cause damage if ingested in specific amounts, while others may be harmless.
Sherri Mason and Elizabeth Wattenberg of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health designed the tap water research. The study screened 159 half-liter drinking water samples from 14 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. The results revealed that micro-plastic fibers and other contaminants presented themselves in 83% of the samples tested. The US recorded the highest rate of contamination at 94%, followed by Lebanon and India.
A survey conducted by NSF revealed that 82% of water customers are worried about the harmful effects of emerging pollutants on their wellbeing. Pesticide and fertilizer applications can leave harmful organic material in the water near agricultural areas. Pesticides and fertilizers in water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and fertility issues, as well as complications in eyes, liver, kidney, and other water-related diseases.
Types of Drinking Water Pollutants
Types of pollutants found in unfiltered water, along with examples of each:
Physical pollutants have the most influence on the appearance and other physical properties of water. They include sediment and organic material suspended in rivers, lakes, and streams due to soil erosion.
Biological pollutants, also known as microbes or microbiological toxins, include living organisms or microorganisms. Some examples: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites.
Chemical elements with an unbalanced number of neutrons and protons contain unstable atoms capable of emitting ionizing radiation, referred to as radiological water contamination. Radiological contaminants likely in unfiltered water include cesium, plutonium, and uranium.
Chemical pollutants are chemical substances or elements that come into contact with water from both natural and human-made sources. They include pesticides, nitrogen, salts, metals, bleach, bacterial toxins, and human or animal medicines.
Health Concerns With Unfiltered Water
According to World Health Organization (WHO), each year, it is estimated that polluted drinking water kills approximately 485 000 people due to diarrhea. Human senses do not always detect microbial and organic contaminants in drinking water. Years can pass until you realize there is a problem. Many people do not become suspicious until one or two members of their society become ill.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed recommendations for more than 80 pollutants in drinking water that harm humans’ health. Pollutants are classified into two groups based on their health effects.
Acute Health Implications
Acute effects happen within hours or days after a person ingests a contaminant. When exposed to extremely high levels of almost any contaminant, people develop acute health problems. Pathogens are most likely to reach levels high enough to cause immediate health effects in unfiltered water. Some of the most common microbes/pathogens include bacteria and viruses.
Chronic Health Implications of Unfiltered Water
Chronic implications arise when an individual ingests contaminants at levels above the EPA’s set safety standards over an extended period. Water pollutants that may have long-term effects on human health include chemicals (such as chlorinated compounds, solvents, and insecticides), radioactive elements (such as radium), and minerals. Long-term consequences include cancer, liver or kidney disorders, and reproductive complications.
On March 11, 2021, the proposed EPAs’ fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) was published. According to the proposed UCMR 5, between 2023 and 2025, samples for 30 chemical pollutants will be collected using analytical methods established by the EPA and consensus organizations. Further, this proposed action would include scientifically reliable data on the national occurrence of these pollutants in drinking water to the EPA, states, and communities.
A water filter eliminates toxins from your drinking water. Using a water filter ensures that the water you drink does not contain harmful pollutants. Water filters use various methods to eliminate impurities and toxins from your water source, ensuring that it is healthy and secure. Indeed, these include reasonably priced, simple-to-install filters and filtration systems.
Learn More About the Dangers of Unfiltered Water
At Advanced Water Softening, we are always dedicated to ensuring water safety through different advanced water purification methods. In fact, we always advocate for better water for better health and a better community. Contact us through our website and claim your free NO CONTACT water test now.