The effects of contaminated water are a public health concern. We can make our drinking water safe for consumption by examining where contaminated water comes from. Here, we’ll explain how contaminated water can affect the human body.
Sources of Polluted Water
If you want to understand a problem, you should go directly to the source. Our water can become contaminated in many ways, namely:
- Industry and agriculture: Rain runoff and snowmelt can drive harmful pesticides and fertilizer into lakes and streams. This can lead to contaminated well water, which can negatively affect residences that depend on wells to survive.
- Human and animal waste: Sewage can carry harmful bacteria and microbes into drinking water. Wildlife can also pass fecal matter into the water. This can lead to E. coli infections, giardiasis, and other intestinal diseases.
- Water treatment and distribution: Water treatment is useful for cleaning polluted water, but the process can still leave harmful byproducts in the water, which can affect the intestinal tract and bladder function. Water treatment plants can inadvertently dispose of organic solvents, petroleum products, and heavy metals into the water if the plants don’t treat these materials appropriately.
Long-Term Effects on Human Health
Consuming water ridden with harmful chemicals can lead to severe problems with skin discoloration, the nervous system, and the organs. Over time, exposure to chemicals in the water can lead to chronic issues such as cancer or even brain damage.
Consuming water with disease-causing microbes can be just as dangerous. Bacterial and viral infections are common. You may experience vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and fever. In the long term, you could experience kidney failure or hepatitis.
Signs That Your Water May Be Making You Sick
Given that there are so many health concerns related to contaminated water, what are some of the signs that your water is contaminated?
- The water is cloudy. Ideally, water should be clear, without cloudiness. Cloudy water isn’t always contaminated, but the cloudiness can indicate the presence of harmful chemicals or pathogens.
- Your hands feel slimy after you wash them. Hard water indicates the presence of magnesium or calcium in the water source. This can leave residue on your hands after exposure, indicating you might need a water filter.
- The water is yellow, brown, or orange. This indicates that the water might contain magnesium, iron, or rust.
Unfortunately, these are just some of the ways contaminated water can affect the human body, but there are many more to look out for. Contaminated water is an international health concern. Without taking the proper precautions, we’ll all be in bad shape. We must keep our water clean and our bodies healthy.