Lead in Water
Lead is a dangerous chemical, especially for young children who can suffer developmental delays due to lead exposure. It’s possible for small amounts of lead to leach into your drinking water from lead soldering used on old pipes, as well as brass and chrome faucets and fittings. If you suspect there could be lead in your water, get it tested as soon as possible. Meanwhile, always let the water run for a bit before you use it for drinking or cooking because lead content is highest in water that’s been sitting inside the pipes.
Solution: reverse osmosis and water distillation systems can remove up to 98% percent of lead from water.
Blue Baby Syndrome
Blue baby syndrome (or methemoglobinemia) is a blood disorder characterized by reduced blood oxygen content. The lack of oxygen exhibits itself as blue-gray skin around the baby’s mouth, hands and feet. This condition occurs in bottle-fed babies when water high in nitrates is used to make the formula mix. Nitrates cause hemoglobin levels to drop, and hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to various cells and organs in your body. The only way to find out if your water is high in nitrates is to have it tested, preferably every three to five years. Nitrate levels can be naturally high in some areas, while in others farming and use of fertilizers can gradually increase nitrate content in well water.
Solution: ion exchange and reverse osmosis work well for removing nitrate from well water.
If you feel like the water you drink could be making you physically ill, you are likely dealing with bacterial contamination. Stomach ache, upset stomach and diarrhea are some of the signs of a contaminated water supply. In this case, a test for coliform bacteria should be performed. Coliform bacteria are typically not harmful (except for some strings of E. coli), but their presence serves as an indicator that other bacterial contaminants could be present.
Solution: UV light, chlorination or other disinfecting water treatment systems. In some cases, well casing or well tank repair might be necessary to stop pollutants from seeping in.
If your home is connected to the city water supply, it’s likely the water you drink goes through a water fluoridation treatment. This means the fluoride is added to your drinking water. It can be a good thing, because fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. However, with such a generalized water treatment, the individual dosage of fluoride can’t be measured, so fluoride may cause adverse effects on teeth, especially in teenage children. Dental fluorosis (fluoride overdose) shows as white streaks, brown stains, pits and broken enamel. Because fluoride is now available from many other sources, including fluoride-rich toothpaste, it’s easy for children to consume more of it than they need. Sometimes, underground water that fills up your well can also be high in fluoride.
Solution: reverse osmosis and water distillation can both help reduce water fluoride content.