In many developed countries, people often directly drink tap water. However, there are frequent concerns about whether tap water is actually safe. Tap water may contain plenty of chemicals and contamination may occur due to leaks, cracks and oxidation in pipes. Also, water companies treat water by adding various chemicals. Based on researches, it is estimated that more than 200 chemicals are detected in water supply. They could be associated with various illnesses and diseases.
- Chlorine and fluoride: Both elements are effective in killing bacteria. Unfortunately, they can have adverse effects to your body, if consumed regularly. Chlorine is used as the basic ingredient for bleaching material. It could irritate your mouth, nose, eyes and skin. Constant ingestion of fluoride could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and skeletal fluorosis. Fluoride could also depress the thyroid gland, which will cause weight gain. Fluoride is also associated with learning difficulties, mental retardation and low IQ among children.
- Lead: Old pipes are made of lead. This could cause people to get exposed by harmful substances. Lead is toxic for our body and its effect can be cumulative. It will build up over the year, causing various health issues. Lead poisoning may cause damages to our reproductive system, central nervous system, brain and kidneys. Lead also increases the risk of premature birth and reduced birth weight. It’s easy for growing tissue to absorb lead, so it’s quite dangerous for small children.
- Benzene: Benzene is found inside fossil fuel and it’s released by exhaust pipes. Benzene is also found in synthetic fabric and plastic. It’s easy for benzene to contaminate water. Unfortunately, this chemical is a potent carcinogen, potentially causing cancer in brain, liver, lungs and heart. Benzene poisoning could be indicated by convulsions, dizziness and stomach irritation. Although it’s unlikely for you to get benzene poisoning from drinking tap water, the accumulative effects can cause potential problems, like vulnerability to infection, depressed immune system, bone marrow disease and anemia.
- Bromate: Some water companies use ozone to disinfect water. However, if water contains bromide, a naturally occurring element, it will react with ozone, forming bromated. This chemical could damage our kidney and nervous system.
- Copper: Old, oxidized water pipes may leach copper into the water. Long term exposure to copper could cause kidney and liver damage.
- Arsenic: It’s a strong toxin and can cause various problems in trace amounts, such as damages to kidneys, bladder, skin and lungs. Arsenic is also a carcinogen.
- Cyanide: Cyanide is another powerful toxin, which attacks central nervous system, heart, respiratory systems.
- Mercury: Mercury contaminates water supply due to nearby industrial processes. It could cause miscarriage, birth defects, memory loss and learning problems.
There are still hundreds of other substances that can potentially harm your health. Make sure that the water company regularly checks the quality of water. Get the latest reports from the water company and also from independent research centers. If water contamination problem isn’t addressed or you are not certain about the water quality, you may need to purchase a water purification system that’s proven to decontaminate water.