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What Are the Health Effects of Drinking Sulfur?
Monday, June 24, 2019
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Does your water smell like rotten eggs? If yes, chances are you have a sulfur problem. And if you've been drinking sulfur based water, you might need to get your health checked.

Sulfur is a micronutrient, and healthy in very small quantities. But, it can have adverse effects when present or ingested in larger quantities.

Sulfur stains pipes, bowls, and taps. As a result, it can stain your sinks and toilets. If you wash with the water, chances are your clothes will have some stains. It's also quite potent at tarnishing silver and copper.

Eventually, prolonged exposure of sulfur in your water can result in highly corroded pipes and blockades. As for your personal health, the most common side effect of ingesting sulfur in large quantities is diarrhea.

What Causes Sulfur Build-Up in Water?

Sulfur can be present in very small, negligible quantities in your water. When this happens, its effects are hardly noticeable. And there's no foul, rotten egg smell.

But when present in abundance, it's mostly as a result of bacteria breaking down sulfate compounds in the water. It can also be because of organic matter decay in your water.

In the case of the former, the breakdown by bacteria produces sulfur as a byproduct of the reactions. Also, if you live in the city and have municipal water, you'll probably never encounter this problem.

People who drink from wells are more likely to deal with drinking sulfur based water occasionally. Another cause of sulfur in your water is the use of water heaters.

Water heaters can also provide an environment that encourages the growth of sulfide-loving bacteria.

The Dangers of Drinking Sulfur-Rich Water

There are no significant health effects of drinking sulfur based water. The major downside is that foul smell that makes it unpleasant to drink. It can also alter the taste of food and drinks.

In extreme quantities though, people may suffer from diarrhea, which can result in dehydration. For adults, this is not a big problem. But for children and animals, it can be a real issue. Just get treatment for that and you'll be fine.

The rotten egg smell though is enough to prevent people from drinking the water. And if that's the only source of water, that can be a major inconvenience. Which is why people try to correct the problem immediately.

What Can You Do to Curb the Effects?

The major approaches to eliminating sulfur from your water include chlorination or chlorine injection. There's also the use of carbon filters and aeration. All of these work just as well as correcting the levels of sulfur in your water.

A better solution is to have sulfide monitors set up in your water sources and treatment plants. And if it's caused by the water heater in your home, you might want to have that cleaned out of sulfide compounds.

What Else Can You Do?

These tips should help you get rid of high sulfur levels in your water at home. If your water source is a well, you need to consider setting up comprehensive sulfur detection systems.

This will help prevent you and your loved ones from drinking sulfur based water without even knowing it. If you need help with this, get in touch with us at Analytical Technology, Inc.

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