What You Should Know About Your Water
There are many potential contaminants in water. Below we explain a few of these contaminants and their effects on our health.
Acid rain can be caused by coal or oil combustion and smelting produce selenium which can cause liver damage. Spent coal also produces barium which can contribute to circulatory defects.
Animal waste can contaminate water supplies with protozoan cysts, Cryptosporidia, Giardia, and Entamoeba which cause gastroenteric disease.
Herbicides and Insecticides
Arsenic is just one of several cancer-causing chemicals found in various herbicides and insecticides.
Lawn and Garden Chemicals
Fluoride can cause skeletal and dental damage. Nitrates can cause blue baby syndrome.
Chemical and Industrial Wastes
Cadmium from batteries and paints can cause kidney problems. Arsenic in industrial wastes can cause skin and nervous system toxicity.
Iron and Mineral Deposits
Iron stains red, forms scale in pipes, and increases soap usage. Water going through shale and limestone leaves tub rings, is hard on pipes, and can smell.
Clean water is a precious resource fundamental to life as we know it. While our water supply remains constant, we are critically compromising it faster than nature can clean it and we are polluting it with more contaminants than ever before.
Nature purifies water through a process called the Hydrological Cycle. In this process, water evaporates from streams, lakes, and the ocean to the atmosphere as vapor. In this vapor state, water is in its purest form with all contaminants left behind. when enough vapor has joined together in the form of clouds, it falls to the earth as rain, snow, or other forms of precipitation. This pure moisture collects impurities from the air on its journey down. When it reaches the ground, it continues to collect everything including minerals and pesticides. Because of its ability to collect or absorb other substances, water is often referred to as nature’s solvent.
Natural Water Issues
The “path” that water takes to enter the home determines the type of problems it can have. Water passing through shale, limestone, and other soft rocks will dissolve and carry calcium and magnesium from those rocks into the home causing hard water problems. Water passing through iron-bearing rock will collect iron, causing rust stains and other related iron problems in the home. Water passing through granite, marble, and other extremely hard rocks cannot dissolve or absorb anything; it remains “hungry” or acidic as it enters the home, and begins dissolving or eating away at pipes and chrome plumbing fixtures. Water also collects tastes and odors as it passes through decaying vegetation, gases, minerals, and organic materials beneath the earth’s surface. A common taste and odor problem is caused by the absorption of hydrogen and sulfide, which gives water the taste and smell of rotten eggs.
Man-Made Water Issues
In addition to natural contaminants, water absorbs man-made toxins that cause significant water problems. Modern society has made many scientific advances, but in the process has also created many new byproducts and contaminants. Petrochemical spills and leaks from decades ago have seeped into the underground water supply. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers are washed by rainwater into streams, rivers, lakes and wells.
Hard water is created when water passes through rock formations and picks up calcium and magnesium. Hard water is easy to spot; it leaves a bathtub ring made of hardness minerals and soap. The scum collects on shower walls, clings to hair, clogs skin pores, and makes house cleaning extremely difficult. Hard water deposits also can clog pipes. Cause water heaters to operate inefficiently, and increase the maintenance on water-using appliances.
Acid water is caused by water passing through extremely hard rock such as granite or marble. By its nature, it wants to dissolve materials through which it passes. If it cannot dissolve materials, water comes into the home in a “hungry” state and starts eating away everything it touches. The degree of the problems experienced will be determined by the pH scale of 1 to 14. Water registering below 7 is acidic, at 7 is neutral, and above 7 is alkaline.
Iron in Water
Iron water is created when water passes through iron-bearing rocks in the earth. Because iron accounts for 5% of all the earth’s crust, it can be found in just about all types of water supplies. It can also be caused, usually temporarily, by water standing in iron pipes. Iron has the tendency to leave stains on sinks, clothing and linens, or it can form scale on pipes and water-using appliances that make water look, smell and taste bad.
Water and Your health
Your body craves water. Next to air, it’s the most essential element for human survival and well-being. Water makes up 70 percent of your body. Not having enough water in your system is like a car running low on oil. Water dissolves solids and delivers nutrients to every cell in your body. Staying hydrated can help reduce blood pressure, pain from arthritis, colitis and migraines. It can also lower cholesterol and promote healthy skin. Unlike many other beverages, water has no fat, no cholesterol and no caffeine. It’s the ultimate health drink, the organic elixir that contributes to every physiological process which you’re more likely to reach for it when it tastes great.
Approximately 70% of Your Body is Water
- 85% of the brain’s gray matter is water.
- The transparency of the media of the eye to light is maintained by water.
- Sound is conducted through the inner ear by liquid.
- Water (cerebrospinal fluid) serves as a cushion for the brain and spinal cord.
- The sense organs of equilibrium depend upon the presence of water
- Water is important in equalizing the temperature throughout the body.
- Water serves as a lubricant for moving parts such as joints, the heart, and intestine
- Water dissolves or holds in suspension other materials in protoplasm.
- Water moistens the surface of the lungs for gas diffusion.
- Water is required for digestion, absorption, metabolism, secretion, and excretion.
With all these life critical functions in your body at stake…Doesn’t it make sense to only consume high-quality water?
With a brief home visit, water professionals can easily detect many water problems caused by nature. Pure Water Works Professionals are trained to spot symptoms of certain water problems and, with the help of a portable testing lab, have the ability measure levels of contaminants. The most common in-home water tests are for hardness (measured in grains per gallon), acid, chlorine, nitrates, and total dissolved solids. Water suspected to contain bacteria must be tested by a laboratory.
In cases where laboratory testing may be required, water samples are often mailed to a lab or submitted by a water treatment professional. To locate a reputable water testing lab, look in your local yellow pages or online. Pure Water Works can also take care of any submittal and help you solve your water issues.
Benefits of Treated Water
What do you get with treated water?
- The cleanest shower or bath you’ve ever taken
- No soap or shampoo residue on skin
- Softer, brighter laundry
- Less scale build-up inside pipes, appliances, and fixtures
What do you get with filtered water?
- Clean, fresh, bottle-quality water for drinking and cooking.
- Better tasting everything! Especially coffee, tea, soup and juices.
- A new drink of choice
- Clearer water and ice cubes
- Elimination of tastes, odors, and many contaminants
Additional Resources and Links
Ground Water and Drinking WaterWater Where You LiveU.S. Geological SurveyNational Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) ProgramWater Environment FederationUS Water NewsWater Industry NewsNSF InternationalWater Quality Association
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Common Contaminants in Michigan
Hover over your city to see common contaminants in your area, and read more about them on the ewg.org website.