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5 Most Common Hidden Contaminants in Drinking Water
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Water is crucial to life but we end up polluting it with hidden contaminants. In fact, 80% of wastewater which is largely untreated ends up in the rivers, oceans, and lakes. What many people don’t know is that declining water quality is a global issue.

The most prevalent water quality issue is eutrophication. This is where high nutrient loads from industrial effluent impact the water sources negatively.

Want to know which are the most common hidden contaminants in drinking water?

Read on and learn the types of hidden contaminants in drinking water.

1. Lead

As one of the hidden contaminants in water, lead enters the drinking water when plumbing pipes with lead corrode. This is common in areas where the water has high acidity levels or low mineral content. As such, it corrodes the fixtures and pipes.

Lead pipes are common in homes built before 1986 or in older cities. For homes without lead service lines, the water gets contaminated with lead from lead solder. According to the Safe Drinking Water Act, water is lead-free if it has 0.2% for flux and solder.

Also, it should have 0.25% of weighted average on wetted surfaces such as plumbing fixtures and pipes.

2. Mercury

Inorganic mercury is common in drinking water and is not considered harmful. The major source of mercury is from the earth’s crust as a result of natural degassing. As one of the most common hidden contaminants, mercury can cause kidney damage.

Apart from kidney damage, mercury has the potential of affecting the brain. Also, it can result in changes in hearing and vision as well as memory problems.

To certify that water is mercury free, it should have a maximum contaminant level of 0.002 mg/L to 0.006 mg/L.

3. Uranium

Uranium is a naturally occurring radionuclide in mineral deposits. It enters drinking water in varying concentration. This mainly occurs through leaching from natural mineral deposits and combustion of coal.

What you need to know is that wells are susceptible to contamination from uranium. High levels of uranium have been discovered in the Western Upper Peninsula namely:

  • Baraga
  • Keweenaw
  • Houghton
  • Gogebic counties

Drinking water contaminated with uranium increases the risk of cancer. But bathing or showering with this water is not a health concern. The maximum contamination limit set by the Safe Drinking Water Act for public drinking water is 30 micrograms per liter.

4. Arsenic

Arsenic is a hidden contaminant that naturally occurs in rocks. It is common in wells and drinking water supplies. Drinking water containing arsenic has long and short-term effects on our health.

For starters, exposure to arsenic for days or weeks leads to arsenic poisoning. The contaminant can also cause skin changes. How? It may result in corn like growths or skin darkening.

Arsenic can also lead to certain types of cancer such as skin, kidney, and lung. To remove arsenic from drinking water, buy the appropriate treatment device.

5. Selenium

Selenium comes from natural deposits, or from agricultural runoff. It also comes from discharge from mines or refineries. Like other types of hidden contaminants in water, selenium toxicity occurs when ingested at levels of 0.7 to 7 mg/day.

This can result in fingernail and hair loss. It can also result in damage to the liver and kidney among others. To prevent this, the Safety Drinking Water Act sets the maximum contaminant level for selenium as 0.05 mg/L.

Keeping Your Family Safe From Hidden Contaminants in Drinking Water

There are a few measures you can take to prevent ingestion of hidden contaminants in drinking water. First, install a "point of use" reverse osmosis system or distillation system. This will help to remove the contaminants.

Last, take steps to prevent water pollution.

For more information on smart water quality gadgets, contact Analytical Technology Inc today!

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