How Water Makes You Sick, Experts Say (2023)

You use it to brew your coffee, make mac and cheese for your kids, and even dip in it with a few bubbles after a long day. You assume your tap water is perfectly healthy because... isn't there a regulation? The government has strict laws that prohibit water companies from supplying the public with tap water that does not meet certain standards.The Safe Drinking Water Act(SDWA) was passed by Congress in 1974 and enforces drinking water standards by setting limits on harmful contaminants such as lead and disinfectants.

But "the Safe Drinking Water Act only tests for 91 chemicals," it saysdr. Scott Michael Schreiber, CC, DACRB, DCBCN, MS, LN, cert. MDT, CKTP, CNS, Maine, "many go undetected and end up in drinking water." Your pipes, faucets, or other appliances can also expose you to some nasty chemicals that can adversely affect your health. Here are 30 ways tap water could be ruining your health.Read on and don't miss these to protect your health and that of othersSure signs you've already had coronavirus.


You can get metal poisoning

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Heavy metal isn't just a type of music that racked your brains in the '80s, according to a study published in theInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, is a heavy metal "...any metallic element that has a relatively high density and is poisonous or poisonous even in low concentrations." While heavy metals occur naturally in the earth, they can easily enter our groundwater and cause significant health problems when consumed in large quantities. Common heavy metals include:

  • Arsenic
  • Hierro
  • Cadmium
  • To lead
  • Mercury
  • copper
  • Zink

AfterCaleb CheeksAs a Maple Holistics Certified Health and Wellness Professional, it is normal to have hard water with trace amounts of these metals. However, he warns: "Tap water contaminated in large quantities with these substances could cause metal poisoning." Symptoms of poisoning can vary depending on the type of metal you've been exposed to, but can include nerve damage, diarrhea, memory loss, or muscle spasms.

The Rx:Backe suggests adding a point-of-entry filter to the faucets you use every day if you're concerned about heavy metals in your water supply. You can also install a whole house filter that will remove scale, rust, and chlorine from your water.


Nearby chemical plants can contaminate your water

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dr As Schreiber explains, “If you live near chemical plants, refineries, or other industries, the chemicals can contaminate your drinking water.” Your local chemical plant produces industrial waste that can affect the country's water supply. According to theCenter for Public Integrity, manufacturing plants, mining and waste disposal companies have polluted water supplies across the country for decades. TO2013-Studie des National Research Councilfound that there were more than 126,000 facilities across the country that tested positive for groundwater contamination. Some of the worst offenders entering our supply are arsenic and lead, which can have a number of negative health effects.

The Rx:IsEPAmonitors the release of most industrial chemicals to ensure they are not affecting water supplies. However, if you live near a potential offender, it's important to pay attention to your water quality and read your water utility's annual water quality report. If you have your own well, you are responsible for the quality of your water. Test your water annually, and more frequently if you notice any changes in taste, smell, or color.


Chromium 6 exposure can cause cancer

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According to the EPA, chromium-6 is present in soil, volcanic dust, rock, plants, and animals. However, when this chemical enters our water supply, it can cause problems. Backe warns that this specific chemical is a known carcinogen. For chromium, the EPA has a drinking water standard of 0.1 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or 100 parts per billion (ppb), which is endorsed by the SDWA.

The Rx:Chromium is an odorless and tasteless metal, so detecting it yourself can be difficult. However, Backe says, "Yellow water indicates the potential presence of chromium-6." If your water turns yellowish, notify your water company immediately so they can test for chromium. In most cases, however, this yellow tinge is due to rusty pipes.


Lead can change your child's behavior

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If you live in an older home, chances are your plumbing is corroded unless the home has been reinstalled. Small amounts of lead from corroded pipes can get into tap water. Small amounts of lead in water are generally not particularly harmful to most people. dr Lina Velikova, MD, PhD, fromdoesn't bother mewarns "...if you are constantly exposed to it, you may notice some symptoms." It also indicates that children are more vulnerable to the negative health effects of lead. dr Velikova says: “Children and infants are most at risk. Symptoms include behavior changes, learning problems, low IQ, and even slower growth.”

The Rx:If corroded pipes are the cause of lead in your tap water, it may be time to invest in new pipes. If this is too big an investment for the time being, Dr. Velikova: "Alternatively, you can flush the pipes with cold water before drinking. Always let the water run for a few seconds and then use it. Be sure to only use cold water as this hot lead will melt and mix with it". You can also install a reverse osmosis filter for your faucet or whole house, which has been found to be the most effective at removing lead.


You could be exposed to asbestos

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"As a health researcher specializing in asbestos exposure, I find that many people are unaware of the dangers that tap water can pose," says Bridget Asbestos cement pipes were used before the 1980s and if you've never reinstalled them, they might still be in your home today. As these pipes have been used for years, they can become brittle and begin to deteriorate. If these pipes are damaged by nearby construction work or simply begin to corrode naturally, asbestos fibers can find their way into your tap water.

Rooney explains, "Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, which is a very aggressive disease." HeMayo Clinicconfirms that there are treatments for mesothelioma cancer, but there is no cure and most of the time this disease is fatal.

The Rx:Even the smallest exposure to asbestos is dangerous. SDWA requires water utilities to notify customers of exposure to this chemical within 30 days. However, if you're concerned about your own plumbing, ideally you should re-pipe your house. Ms. Rooney also suggests that you install "...a filtration system with a filter of 1 micron or less". This will filter the asbestos fibers from your home's tap water.


You could get Legionnaires' disease

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IsMayo Clinicdefines Legionnaires' disease as a severe form of pneumonia. Infection causes pneumonia, which is often accompanied by fever, muscle pain, headache, and chills. In addition, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and other symptoms may appear after the first day of infection. In most cases, older residents, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to Legionnaires' disease.

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This disease is contracted after contact with a bacterium called Legionella. AfterDr. Anthony Kouri, MDfrom the University of Toledo Medical Center: "It is usually spread by water spray but can be present in ice machines, water filters, water heaters or in the shower."

The Rx:The EPA ensures compliance with SDWA regulations related to Legionella bacteria. If this contaminant is present in your water, your water company will notify you. According to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), water management program teams are responsible for monitoring water quality and the presence of bacteria in public water supplies and in apartment complexes or other residential facilities.


Excess fluoride can cause neurological damage

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According to Michelle Miller, MSACN ofPhysiologik, “Fluoride has been added to public water supplies to prevent tooth decay. However, recent research strongly suggests that fluoride-contaminated water is associated with neurological, immunological, and gastrointestinal damage. A study conducted byHarvard Public Healthcame to the conclusion that in countries that do not fluoridate their water, there is a sharp decrease in the number of caries among residents.

The Rx:If your water supply contains fluoride, Miller suggests getting a fluorideBerkeyGravity water filter for your home This filter is proven to remove many contaminants from water, including fluoride. This type of system can be set up independently of your home plumbing and still leave important, healthy minerals in your tap water.


Your baby could get blue baby syndrome from nitrates

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Methemoglobinemia, also known as "blue baby syndrome," occurs in babies when they simply aren't getting enough oxygen in their blood. Hemoglobins are responsible for transporting oxygen in our blood. However, with excessive exposure to nitrates, hemoglobin converts to methemoglobin, which prevents it from carrying oxygen into the blood.

Adults have mature enzymes that can convert this methemoglobin back into hemoglobin. Babies don't have these enzymes, however, and methemoglobin can be dangerous if left untreated. Babies with "blue baby syndrome" can develop cyanosis, a bluish tinge to the skin. If nitrate levels continue to rise, babies can develop permanent brain damage or die.

according to dr Kouri, “nitrates come primarily from fertilizers and can find their way into drinking water. Babies drink a large amount of water relative to their size.

The Rx:If you get your water from a public water supplier, you are responsible for testing for nitrates. However, if you have your own well and suspect your water supply contains nitrates, get it tested with the help of a local.state auditor. There are several ways to treat nitrate water, including distillation, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange. Please note that mechanical filters and chemical disinfection do not remove nitrates from the water. You can contact your local health department for advice on the best method of removing nitrates from your well water.


You could get Giardiasis

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Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes a disease called giardiasis. HeCenters for Disease Control and Preventionconcludes that the most common symptoms of this disease are:

  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • dehydration
  • nausea
  • Vomit

The disease affects nearly 2% of adults and 6% to 8% of children in developed countries worldwide and is the most common intestinal parasitic disease in the United States. An infected person will have Giardia parasites in their feces. When these fecal bacteria are present in drinking water, the disease can easily spread. Sewage overflows, agricultural runoff, stormwater runoff, or malfunctioning sewage systems can allow the bacteria to spread to others.

The Rx:Avoid drinking tap water after a flood or when you know a sewage system is not working properly. If you suspect your tap water is infected with Giardia, bring it to a boil before using. You should consider installing a reverse osmosis filter in your home. A filter that has a pore size of 1 micron or less, or is certified to NSF Standard 53 for cyst removal or reduction, can also remove these parasites from the water.


Might drink VOCs from nearby dry cleaners

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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found in dry cleaning chemicals. They contain carbon and can vaporize into the air at normal air temperatures. As vapors, groundwater is susceptible to absorbing these VOCs. Once VOCs enter groundwater, they can easily be present in water supplies as well. According to a study byUS Geological survey, the most common group of VOCs found in groundwater were the trihalomethanes (THM), which also includes chloroform. Exposure to these VOCs can cause a variety of symptoms in many people, including nausea, headache, fatigue, dizziness, a sore throat, or other irritation.

The Rx:Dry cleaners and other nearby industries may be contaminating groundwater in your area, which can lead to VOCs in your water supply. According to Keith Bernard, CEO ofCLEAR2O, "Household water filtering can remove many harmful contaminants before they reach your glass." Consider installing a water filtration system in your home, or simply use a jug of filtered water on tap water before drinking.


You could die from lead poisoning

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Older water systems can be built with lead pipes, and as those pipes age, small particles of lead can get into the water. HeEPAwarns that lead in tap water can bioaccumulate in the body. You may not initially experience any symptoms when exposed to this pollutant, but continued exposure can lead to decreased kidney function, cardiovascular effects such as high blood pressure, and reproductive problems. according to dr Kouri, "Lead poisoning can be fatal if left untreated." So it's important to know if your water supply contains lead, and if so, to identify and correct the problem.

The Rx:If your water comes from a private well, have it tested by a professional at least once a year to ensure the water quality remains above SDWA standards. If you want to use a filter to ensure lead is removed from your tap water, the EPA recommends that you only purchase a filter that is certified byNSF Internationalto remove lead.


They could ingest radioactive substances

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Radioactive substances such as radon, uranium and radon can be released as a result of construction work, drilling or other disturbances to the earth's surface. These radioactive contaminants can get into the groundwater and eventually seep into your water supply. The EPA concludes that there are different concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive substances in different areas of the country. SDWA limits the levels of contamination of these substances in water, and in some cases water utilities must treat their water to ensure these levels are acceptable.

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However, it is important to know the levels of radioactive substances in tap water in your home to ensure it is safe. according to dr Kouri, "exposure to these substances can lead to various types of cancer, including bone, skin, kidney, liver, and lung cancer."

The Rx: Tina SeemannMS, RD, CPT, an Integrative Culinary Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, suggests you visitenvironmental working groupwebsite and enter your zip code to learn more about potential water contamination in your area. You can also use the site to get advice on the best water filter to fix the problem. If you're dealing with a less-than-ideal water quality report, says Marinaccio, "you probably need a whole-house reverse osmosis filter to deal with what your water utility throws at you."


Too much copper can be bad for your body

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Copper is another naturally occurring substance found in the environment. In low, manageable amounts, copper is essential for the proper functioning of your body. However, accAgency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR), exposure to copper in excessive amounts can trigger negative side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Irritation of nose, mouth and eyes.
  • nausea

In some cases, ingesting too much copper can even lead to death. ATSDR advises that if your home's plumbing is made of copper tubing and your water is particularly acidic, you may be exposed to high levels of copper.

The Rx:If you think your plumbing is exposing you and your family members to too much copper, you should consider re-piping your home. Also, ATSDR recommends running the water for at least 15 seconds in the morning before using it. This can cause high levels of copper in your pipes to subside before you are exposed to it.


Bacteria or parasites can make you sick

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A rupture in one of your pipes or corrosion can expose you to harmful bacteria or parasites through the water. Many common bacteria can be found in tap water, but in most cases public water companies comply with the standards set by the SDWA. If you live in an agricultural area, your water may be more susceptible to bacteria from animal feces. For example himMinnesota Department of Healthwarns residents that e.g. Coli and coliform bacteria can be present in tap water due to the abundance of wildlife and farms in the area.

Exposure to these bacteria can cause unhealthy symptoms such as nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and convulsions. Residents with already compromised immune systems can experience more serious health consequences from exposure to these bacteria or parasites, including chronic illness or death.

The Rx:If your water is provided by a public water company, the EPA has strict guidelines that prohibit the presence of bacteria like E. coli. If your water supply is contaminated, your water utility must notify you within 24 hours. If you have a private well, have your water tested annually to make sure these bacteria are absent. Maintain your home septic system regularly with the help of a professional and disinfect your well and equipment as recommended.

Marinaccio says, "You can test your water, but if it shows symptoms of toxicity, a qualified physician must perform blood and stool tests to determine a treatment plan to express any contaminants present in the body." Once you know which contaminants are present in your water, you can purchase a filter that specifically deals with that particular bacteria or parasite.


You could get hepatitis A

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Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease that can cause illness or death for several weeks, depending on its severity. An unvaccinated person can contract this disease after ingesting microscopic bacteria from an infected person's feces. In most cases, well water is safe from a contagious virus such as hepatitis C.

However according toCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, "If a water source, including private wells, is contaminated with feces from infected people, the water can potentially spread the hepatitis A virus." When a sewage system malfunctions or becomes clogged, it can contaminate a well line, resulting in tap water that may contain feces from infected people. Improper well maintenance or operation can also lead to this contamination.

The Rx:Always maintain your fountain and make sure the drainage system is working properly as well. If you suspect your fountain is contaminated, boil the water for at least a minute before using to kill active bacteria. Remember that a precision filter will not help prevent the spread of this disease in an infected well. You may need to sanitize your fountain with chlorine, but you should consult a water quality professional before using tap water again.


you could do drugs

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When pharmaceutical drugs are no longer needed, it is common for their users to flush the remaining product down the toilet. Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and other medical service providers can also dispose of unused medicines in the water system or in the trash can, which is returned to the country. However, this can result in these drugs being present in our water treatment plants and eventually in our water supplies.

There are no regulations within the SDWA that directly address pharmaceutical residues in water supplies. after aStudie des US Geological Survey, "Effluents from two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) receiving discharges from pharmaceutical manufacturing plants (PMFs) had 10 to 1000 times higher drug concentrations than effluents from 24 statewide wastewater treatment plants that do not receive FAQ downloads". In most cases, only small amounts of these drugs are found in the water and not enough to cause any negative effects on users' health.

The Rx:If you want to ensure that your home tap water does not contain any traces of pharmaceutical or illegal drugs, you can use a household water filter. HeNatural Resources Defense Councilencourages pharmaceutical companies to produce more "green" medicines and dispose of surplus products responsibly. The EPA has also added 10 pharmaceutical compounds to its watch list to study possible adverse effects. Finally, laws can be enacted that set maximum pollution levels for public water supplies.


You could get gastrointestinal problems

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Although the CDC confirms that the US has one of the safest public water systems in the world, it's still possible to get sick from tap water. The presence of E. coli or Salmonella bacteria in the water you drink can lead to flu-like symptoms, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting. These two bacteria were among the top 10 most common outbreaks in the US water system. In most cases, the symptoms of these outbreaks go away on their own, but pregnant women, the elderly, and children are more susceptible to serious side effects that may warrant hospitalization.

The Rx:bacteria such as coli or salmonella in the water if there was a flood or natural disaster. When sewage seeps into the system due to a faulty system, you and your family can be affected. Do not use your water if your well or public water system is off after a natural disaster or during a power outage. Consider getting a whole house filter or even just a faucet filter for your water.


Your water could contain harmful pesticides

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Farmers use pesticides to protect their crops, which allows them to ensure they grow food they will sell. However, these pesticides can easily enter our groundwater and be present in our water. Even if you buy organic food from the grocery store, you may still be exposed to these pesticides through your tap water. The effects of exposure to these pesticides can vary depending on the type and amount of pesticides in the water source.

If you get your water from a private well, you are responsible for testing the water to ensure it is free of pesticides. If your water supply is from a public water system, the EPA sets some rules for these companies to ensure pesticide levels stay low. However, please note that not all types of pesticides are controlled in our public water.

The Rx:IsNational Pesticide Information Centersuggests that you install a carbon point-of-use filter or reverse osmosis treatment on your water source. This removes or reduces the amount of pesticides in the water. If you live near an area with heavy agriculture, you should test your water for pesticides more often than once a year. You can ask a professional at your local health department for help with this test.


Excess chlorine can make you sick

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Many water treatment plants use chlorine in their water filtration process to kill bacteria and germs. However, when combined with other compounds, chemicals are formed as by-products that can be harmful to health. "An example of one of these chemicals are THMs, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and kidney problems," says Backe. If you are a dialysis patient, the chlorine used to treat your water can also affect the functioning of your machine and equipment. You should consult your doctor regarding proper maintenance and chlorinated water.

The Rx:IsCenters for Disease Control and Preventionstates: "Chlorine levels up to 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L or 4 parts per million (ppm)) in drinking water are considered safe." However, if your water supply has excessive levels of chlorine, you should notify your public water utility if you If you are concerned about chlorine levels in your tap water, consider purchasing a whole-home water filter.


You could get norovirus

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Norovirus refers to all "Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs). These are contagious viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting. In most cases, norovirus is transmitted by touching an infected person or by touching a surface that has already been touched by an infected person. However, in some cases, norovirus can be spread through your private well water source.

A sewage overflow or a malfunctioning system can result in human feces entering the water source. This is more likely to be the case after a natural disaster such as a flood. If bacteria from contaminated feces are present in your water and you drink it, you can get norovirus for several days, and your family members are likely to get infected as well.

The Rx:After a natural disaster or sewage system failure, do not drink water until you have your water company's approval. Keep your privacy in good condition and disinfect when recommended. Keep in mind that norovirus is chlorine tolerant, so you may need to use a different disinfectant if you suspect your well is contaminated. Have your private well water tested at least once a year and get professional advice on disinfection. You can contact your local health department for a list of professionals who can test your well water for contamination.


You could drink arsenic

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Certain rock formations and other natural environments produce an element called arsenic. But just because it occurs naturally doesn't mean it's safe. According to theFood and drug managementAccording to the FDA, long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic can increase your risk of skin cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, and heart disease.

If your water comes from a private well, you risk ingesting arsenic with every sip. The EPA has strict guidelines and limits for arsenic in tap water distributed by public water companies. However, as a private well owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that arsenic levels in your water are acceptable.

The Rx:The CDC warns that heating or boiling water does not remove arsenic. You should consider installing a water treatment system that performs reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, distillation, or ion exchange at every faucet in your home. It's also important to test your well water annually for arsenic and other contaminants. If the levels are not acceptable, consult a professional for recommended water quality improvement procedures.


Viruses could live in your water

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According to Bernard, "Most tap water is contaminated with a variety of contaminants that can increase the risk of serious illnesses. Improper sanitation, inadequate protection of drinking water sources, and poor hygiene often result in sewage and fecal-contaminated water. This can create an ideal environment for harmful Bacteria, parasites and viruses create." The EPA has strict regulations for the levels of bacteria and parasites that may be present in public water supplies. However, your own plumbing and water system can be responsible for excess bacteria in your water. Depending on the type of bacteria you are exposed to, you may experience symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.

The Rx:“If you show signs of bacterial infection and suspect your water supply, you need to get it tested. If there's a lot of bacteria, you may need to install a filter that targets the specific bacteria in your water," said Robert Weitz, Certified Microbial Investigator and Founder ofRTK environmental group, “If you have contaminated water, there are usually water treatment systems to address your specific problem. Purification systems can vary based on contaminants, so it's important to know what's in your water.”


Hard water can irritate your skin.

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Water supplied by the public water system in many areas is considered "hard water". This simply means that the water is rich in minerals, including calcium and magnesium. While hard water is harmless and won't make you sick, using it to bathe or wash your hands can be frustrating. This water is known to leave a "suds" on the skin that cannot be washed off. According to the USGS, "Soap in hard water reacts with calcium (which is relatively high in hard water) to form 'suds,' whether on hands, hair, or clothing". If you don't use enough soap, your wash can become ineffective and not properly kill the bacteria on your skin. Making sure you use enough soap but not washing it properly can lead to irritated or itchy skin.

The Rx:If hard water bothers you, you can install a water softener in your home. This machine plugs directly into your water supply and filters out the minerals that harden the water. In most cases, these systems use salt to remove these minerals. Please note that water softener systems require maintenance and you should consult a professional for installation.


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You could get sick from blue-green algae blooms

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Blue-green algae blooms, also known as cyanobacteria, occur naturally in lakes, rivers and other surface waters. Warm water allows these bacteria to grow and in some cases can produce cyanotoxins that can cause health risks to humans and animals if ingested. In some severe cases, this ingestion can lead to death. If these cyanobacteria do not contain toxins but are present in the water, they can negatively affect taste and smell.

Public water systems use chlorine and other disinfectants to ensure blue-green algae blooms do not affect water quality. However, if there is a heavy bloom in your area, the public water company's treatment plant may struggle to keep up with the removal of these bacteria and toxins.

The Rx:If you know your area is experiencing an algal bloom, follow the advice of your water utility. You may need to boil your water before using it, or you may be advised not to use your tap water at all for a period of time. According to the EPA, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can stimulate the growth of cyanobacteria. Excess nutrients like these can enter the water from local agricultural facilities and industrial centers. Make sure your water doesn't have high levels of these bacteria by checking your water report. You can also install an entire house filter that targets these nutrients and bacteria.


Your standing faucet could be spawning organisms

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Most bacteria love to grow in damp, dark places, so what could be a more perfect environment than the pipes in your house? If the pipes break or have not been used for a long time, bacteria and organisms can grow and multiply. If you use this contaminated water, you can see negative health effects. According to Weitz, "Drinking and bathing in contaminated water can lead to chronic health problems, including joint pain, damage to the brain, kidneys, and neurological system, rashes and other skin problems, body numbness, gastrointestinal disorders, hair loss, and immune problems." If you or a family member have any of these symptoms, your water may be to blame.”

The Rx:Old or corroded pipes can allow bacteria to enter your water. Consider re-tubing your system if it is old and showing signs of wear. Even pipes that have been stagnant for a while can produce these bacteria. dr Nikola Djordjevic, MD, says: “When you get home from vacation, you should leave all taps running for a few minutes before drinking. With an organic infestation or an old plumbing system, that precaution is to flush contaminated water outside.”


You could drink raw sewage

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When your well water equipment fails, or when your public water company's sewage system fails or stops working properly, it can spell disaster for your water supply. A leak from a septic tank into your well can result in sewage in your water. A natural disaster that has caused flooding in your area can also negatively impact water quality. These effluents can e.g. coli or coliform bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. If you have recurring gastrointestinal problems, your water may be contaminated with sewage.

The Rx:Heed all water quality warnings after a natural disaster and follow the advice of your water utility. Check your water company's annual water quality report to ensure your water is safe to drink. Have your well water tested annually and have all components properly inspected and maintained. If the smell or color of your water changes drastically, contact your water utility to investigate.


A nearby coal mine could change the pH of the water

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If you live near an abandoned coal mine, you can rest assured that you don't have to worry about exposure to chemicals because the land is no longer disturbed. However, the soil around a coal mine is polluted with some nasty chemicals like sulfuric acid and dissolved iron. According to the USGS, "Acid runoff further dissolves heavy metals such as copper, lead, and mercury in ground or surface water." Not only does this contaminated water negatively affect nearby wildlife, but it can also seep into your public water supply and cause problems with your home's drinking water.

If the pH of your water is not balanced and your water is acidic, it can quickly corrode your pipes. This can give the water an unpleasant odor, color or odor. These metals can also make you sick and cause symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting.

The Rx:According to theCouncil of Water Systems(WSC) If you suspect your water has been contaminated by a nearby coal mine, it is important to test the pH. Your local health department can help you find a professional to test your water. If the pH is below 7, you need to act. You can install a pH buffer filter and chemical feed pump to filter out these heavy metals and inject a buffer solution into the water.


Your pipes could corrode

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Whether you are near a coal mine or not, your pipes could experience corrosion, which is also dangerous for your health. If your pipes are old, handle acidic water, or are damaged in any way, they can start to corrode. Not only can this cause a major leak, but it also exposes you to lead, copper, bacteria, and other contaminants that can make you and your family ill. dr Kouri says, “Many older water systems use lead pipes. As we age, lead can enter water supplies.” Lead can cause a range of health problems, from illness to death.

The Rx:Your water company's annual water quality report won't help if your home's pipes are causing the problem. If your water has a different taste, smell, or color, pipe corrosion may be to blame, so you need to test it on your faucet. A professional at your local health department can suggest a water tester in your area. If there is a problem, you will need to re-pipe your house. You can also get a whole house water filter, preferably one with solid block carbon.


A nearby fuel leak could seep into your tap water

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When you fill up your car's gas tank, do you sometimes wonder where the gas is stored? It is stored underground in underground storage tanks (UST). Other industries also use these USTs to store gasoline and other chemicals underground for easy access. According to theSierra Club, “There are 680,000 USTs and a backlog of 130,000 purges; 9,000 new leaks are discovered every year.”

When these chemicals or gases leak from their containers, they quickly permeate the soil and enter groundwater. This eventually contaminates the public water supply. In addition to gasoline, chemicals that can leak from USTs and enter groundwater include:

  • Benzene
  • Xylole
  • Cadmium
  • To lead
  • Naphthalin

The Sierra Club warns, "A pinhole in a UST can leak 400 gallons of fuel per year." Although most of the gasoline in the water is quickly filtered through the public water supply system, some of it may still be present when it does reaches your faucet. When toxic chemicals leak near USTs, there is no safe amount to swallow. Exposure to these chemicals through tap water can lead to cancer. Children exposed to these chemicals through water can experience developmental problems.

The Rx:If you feel your well water is contaminated with gasoline or other chemicals, stop drinking it. You may need to connect to a public water supply or get a water treatment plant specifically designed to remove the chemical from your water. If you get water from a public water supplier, follow the company's instructions and do not use the water until the company confirms it is safe. Warm and hot water are more likely to expose you to these contaminants. So if you use water to shower or wash, always keep it cold.


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PFAs could mess up your immune system

How Water Makes You Sick, Experts Say (30)

Derek MellencampsAquasanadefines polyfluoroalkyl (PFA) substances and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFO) as "chemical compounds that have been used in many products for their flame retardant, non-stick and waterproof properties." Because these harsh chemicals are used in fire retardant foams and in the manufacture of other industries, they are present in our groundwater and in the public water supply. A study published inAmerican Journal of Epidemiologyfound that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was detected in the blood of more than 98% of the US population.

Mellencamp warns that exposure to these chemicals is known to have "adverse effects on infant and child growth, women's health and pregnancy, cholesterol levels, the kidneys and liver, the immune system and more." HeEPAand the CDC has also linked these chemicals to certain cancers.

The Rx:Your public water company must notify you if your water is contaminated with unacceptable levels of these chemicals. The company may suggest that you use an alternate water source if the water is unsafe for a period of time. However, if you are concerned about PFAs and PFOs in your water, Mr. Mellencacmp recommends installing a water filter. A filter that meets the NSF P473 standard was designed to remove these chemicals from the water. If you are not sure, you can visit themNSF-Websiteto verify that the filter in question has been certified to remove these chemicals from tap water.And to get through this pandemic without catching the coronavirus, don't miss this essential list:Most COVID patients did this before they got sick.


Why did my doctor tell me to drink more water? ›

It Can Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

By drinking more water, you support normal kidney function, which increases the amount of urine that passes through your kidneys and flushes toxins from your body. Boosting you water intake also helps prevent the buildup of minerals that can cause kidney stones.

How does water help you from getting sick? ›

Staying hydrated lets your body circulate blood more freely, allowing flu-and-cold-fighting white blood cells better fight off viruses.

Do you think you drink enough quantity of water? ›

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

How much water can make you feel sick? ›

Symptoms of water intoxication tend to start appearing after you consume more than 3 to 4 L of water in a few hours. Potential symptoms include: head pain. cramping, spasms, or weakness in your muscles.

What is the healthiest drinking water? ›

Again, the healthiest water to drink is water that's free of pathogens and contaminants, yet rich in key minerals. But, if there was one water option to pick, it's likely going to be spring water or clean artesian water—water that still contains healthy mineral content and is free of pathogens.

Can you flush out sickness with water? ›

From doctors, parents, friends, anytime you feel sick the first advice is often, “rest and drink lots of fluids.” Now, that doesn't mean just ANY fluids. It means water. Not only does water flush out toxins (including pathogens!), it's the building block for almost every single fluid our bodies make.

Does drinking lots of water help your immune system? ›

Water helps maintain healthy mucous membranes.

Another way that water and fluids support immunity is by maintaining the health of your mucous membranes. Just as your skin helps to protect the outside of your body from foreign invaders, your moist mucous membranes act as a barrier, too.

How much is too much water in a day? ›

But how much water is too much? "Drinking more than the kidneys can eliminate could cause hyponatremia in some people," says Hultin, noting that the kidneys can eliminate 27 to 34 ounces of water per hour, or a total of 676 to 947 ounces (20 to 28 liters) per day. More than that might put you in the danger zone.

Do we really need to drink a lot of water? ›

Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.

What happens when you start drinking enough water? ›

You'll feel less hungry and may even lose weight. You'll probably experience more comfortable digestion (less heartburn). Bowel movements might be easier and more regular. Your teeth and gums will be healthier and more resilient.

What are signs of too much water? ›

Signs You Are Drinking Too Much Water
  • Your Pee Is Pretty Clear. The color of your pee—and how often you run to the bathroom—can be a good indicator of your hydration status, says Koskinen. ...
  • You're Peeing Frequently. Going to the bathroom more than usual? ...
  • You Feel Bloated or Nauseous. ...
  • You Have a Headache or Brain Fog.
5 days ago

Can drinking a gallon of water a day make you sick? ›

Can drinking a gallon of water a day be harmful? For most people, there is really no limit for daily water intake and a gallon a day is not harmful. But for those who have congestive heart failure or end stage kidney disease, sometimes water needs to be restricted because the body can't process it correctly.

How long does it take for water to make you sick? ›

If you do become sick, it can be in as little as a day after exposure in the case of the bacteria E. coli, or as much as nine days in the case of giardia.

What state has the healthiest water? ›

States With the Cleanest Drinking Water in 2021
  • Minnesota.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Connecticut.
  • Vermont.
  • Kansas.
  • Missouri.
  • Oregon.
  • Massachusetts.
Mar 11, 2022

What is the best water for kidneys? ›

Pure, naturally-filtered water is the best thing you can drink for good kidney health. And installing a cost-effective, energy-efficient, and convenient bottled water cooler can be the best way to get it.

Which bottled water is the cleanest to drink? ›

The study concluded that four (yes, only four) bottled water brands have a pH and fluoride level completely safe for your teeth: Fiji, “Just Water,” Deer Park Natural Spring Water, and Evamor.

Is water the best when sick? ›

Water is the best fluid to consume when you are ill, experts say. But, if you don't like the taste of water or you're not eating much, drinks such as Pedialyte offer some flavor and electrolytes.

Why do I pee more when I am sick? ›

Since you'll be hydrating more when you're sick, your bladder will fill up faster, so voiding more frequently can fight the sudden urge to urinate and accidents when your bladder fills up too quickly.

Does drinking water shorten a cold? ›

Keeping yourself well-hydrated helps alleviate your symptoms so you feel better faster; it also helps your immune system work efficiently, so you recover quickly. Luckily, the best self-care for a cold is very simple: Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Is it good to drink water at night? ›

Drinking warm water before bed will keep you hydrated through the night and may help the body to rid itself of unwanted toxins. It may also help to relieve pain or cramping in the stomach. If plain water is too bland or if you're trying to beat a cold, consider adding lemon to you water before bed.

What is the best drink for immune system? ›

Here are six dietitian approved options:
  1. Drink your greens. Eating (or drinking) more fruit and veggies is a great way to support and strengthen your immune system. ...
  2. Honey and Lemon. ...
  3. Almond milk (with B12) ...
  4. Infused Water. ...
  5. Boosted smoothies. ...
  6. Ginger tea.

What does water do to your blood cells? ›

Water carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. Water is the main property of blood, which carries nutrients to cells and carries wastes out of the body. Water helps convert food into energy.

Does coffee count as water intake? ›

Here is one more reason to enjoy that morning cup of joe: “Coffee counts toward your daily water intake,” says Lauren DeWolf, MS, RD, a registered dietitian with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers. The water in coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages helps us meet our daily fluid needs.

How many gallons of water should I drink a day? ›

Health experts commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon a day. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.

Can drinking water raise blood pressure? ›

Water drinking also acutely raises blood pressure in older normal subjects. The pressor effect of oral water is an important yet unrecognized confounding factor in clinical studies of pressor agents and antihypertensive medications. (Circulation. 2000;101:504-509.)

What happens if you don t drink enough water? ›

“If you don't get enough water, hard stools and constipation could be common side effects, along with abdominal pain and cramps.” Dull skin. Dehydration shows up on your face in the form of dry, ashy skin that seems less radiant, plump and elastic. Fatigue.

How long can you go without water? ›

How Long Can a Normal Person Survive Without Water. The body requires a lot of water to maintain an internal temperature balance and keep cells alive. In general, a person can survive for about three days without water.

How much water is too much in one hour? ›

Normal kidneys can release up to a quart of fluid every hour. If you drink more than that, you'll retain the excess water in your body, which causes a condition known as hyponatremia and can be hazardous to your health.

What happens when you drink water before bed? ›

Drinking water before bed might help ward off dehydration. View Source while you sleep, and it may also help you attain the drop in core body temperature. View Source that helps induce sleepiness.

Should you drink less water as you get older? ›

Here's Why. Researchers say that as people age, they need to drink more water to compensate for changes in their body temperature regulation. They say dehydration can cause a number of ailments, including muscle pain, fatigue, and heat exhaustion.

What are 5 benefits of water? ›

The 5 benefits of drinking water are to maintain normal blood pressure, electrolyte balance, body temperature, prevent constipation, and improve your brain.

How many oz of water should I drink a day? ›

Here are some tips to help you make sure you are drinking enough fluids to maintain good levels of hydration. You are probably all aware of the “cardinal rule” that says adults should drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

Is Cucumber water good for you? ›

Cucumber water is a very hydrating drink. It has many potential health benefits, including weight loss, lowering blood pressure, helping bone health, and improving skin health. It is simple to make, and people can enjoy it at any time.

Is 64 oz water a day enough? ›

The longstanding rumor is that humans need about 8 cups — or 64 fluid ounces — of water a day. But actually, as a general rule, Mayo Clinic shares that men should consume about 15.5 cups of fluids per day. For women, that number is 11.5 cups.

Why do I feel dizzy after drinking water? ›

“This is where sodium in the body is too low from excessive sodium loss in sweat or urine,” says Cline. “Or it is diluted by taking in too much free water without any electrolytes.” Hyponatremia can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps, and in severe cases coma, seizures, and death.

Can you drink day old water? ›

We've all gotten a mouthful of weird-tasting morning-after water, but why does the flavor change? And is it safe to drink? The short answer is that it's perfectly fine to drink.

How long can water sit in a bottle? ›

The recommended shelf life of still water is 2 years and 1 year for sparkling. The FDA does not list shelf life requirements and water can be stored indefinitely however bottled water plastic leaches over time and can effect taste.

How many gallons of water can you drink before you get sick? ›

The authors of the study report that hyponatremia symptoms can develop if a person drinks 3–4 liters of water in a short period, though they do not give a specific time estimate. According to one case report , soldiers developed symptoms after consuming at least 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of water per hour.

What conditions increase fluid needs? ›

Fever, exercise, exposure to extreme temperature climates (very hot or cold), and excessive loss of body fluids (such as with vomiting or diarrhea) will increase fluid needs. The amount and color of urine can provide a rough estimate of adequate hydration.

What medical conditions require water? ›

Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water and may even need oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade, or CeraLyte.

What are signs you need to drink more water? ›

Here are the 10 most common signs you may not be getting enough water throughout the day.
  • Severe Headaches. ...
  • Muscle Cramps & Joint Pain. ...
  • Weight Gain. ...
  • Lack of Energy. ...
  • A Little Disoriented. ...
  • Dry Eyes, Mouth and Skin. ...
  • Indulging in Salty Foods. ...
  • Uncomfortable Stomach Pain.
Aug 8, 2017

What is the medical condition where you need water? ›

Polydipsia is the medical definition of excessive thirst. Excess thirst is an abnormal urge to drink fluids at all times. It's a reaction to fluid loss in your body. Dry mouth (xerostomia) and the urge to pee often (frequent urination) may go along with it.

What diseases does lack of water cause? ›

Prolonged or repeated bouts of dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones and even kidney failure. Seizures.

What are 3 signs the body has a water deficiency? ›

Dehydration is the absence of a sufficient amount of water in your body. The best way to beat dehydration is to drink before you get thirsty. If you're thirsty, you're already mildly dehydrated, and that can cause symptoms like headache, fatigue, dizziness and more.

What are three diseases caused by water? ›

Water and health

Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.

What happens when the body does not get enough water? ›

However, failing to drink enough water can cause dehydration and adverse symptoms, including fatigue, headache, weakened immunity, and dry skin.

How do you super hydrate your body? ›

For most people, drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated and rehydrate. Other options include coffee, tea, milk, fruits, vegetables, and oral hydration solutions. Don't hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider if you're concerned about your or someone else's hydration status.

How long does it take for a glass of water to go through the body? ›

After you drink water, it doesn't take long at all for your body to absorb it. Unlike foods, water can be “digested” in as little as 5 minutes. Excess water leaves your body through urination and feces but is also excreted by sweating.

Can you be dehydrated and still pee clear? ›

The relationship between urine colour and hydration status

The issue is that, whilst urine colour can definitely be somewhat indicative of hydration status, there's definitely not a simple and linear relationship between actual hydration status and the colour of your pee.

What is it called when your body can't hold water? ›

Diabetes insipidus is a condition in which your ability to control the balance of water within your body is not working properly. Your kidneys are not able to retain water and this causes you to pass large amounts of urine.

What is the disease called when you can't drink water? ›

Adipsia can tend to result from lesions to hypothalamic regions involved in thirst regulation. These lesions can be congenital, acquired, trauma, or even surgery. Lesions or injuries to those hypothalamic regions cause adipsia because the lesions cause defects in the thirst regulating center which can lead to adipsia.

Is there a disorder for not drinking water? ›

adipsia, also called hypodipsia, rare disorder characterized by the lack of thirst even in the presence of dehydration. In adipsia the brain's thirst centre, located in the hypothalamus, is damaged.


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