Tap water that reaches us comes from an open-source. But, unfortunately, the pipes that carry the water to your taps may also be a culprit to unhealthy water reaching your homes.
Every other country is protesting over increased and uncontrollable pollution. This makes it evident that any water source is contaminated to a certain level. Unless we treat it, we can never be sure what might be running through our taps.
Every year researches, findings, and tests are conducted. The majority have confirmed that water from lakes and rivers is polluted. Some chemical or the other is present because of many reasons.
Here is a list of a few chemicals and microorganisms mostly found in tap water.
Why Is Drinking Tap Water Bad for You?
The reason remains largely due to poor management. Not just by the authorities but everyone who does not work right. If everyone fulfills their responsibilities, we might have safe and healthy water coming through our taps.
And eventually, it might be good for consumption as well. The most worrying chemicals that might be present are:
Arsenic – poisonousness of arsenic in humans is famous. This chemical, even in small amounts, can result in chronic issues. Even if just traces of arsenic are found, as little as 100 mg can result in severe poisoning.
Lead is a toxic metal to cause damage even at low doses. The presence of lead in water is from natural and artificial resources. But no matter what the reasons are, they are an issue.
Chlorine – Though chlorine disinfects the water, excessive use is still harmful. Besides, chlorine can be absorbed through the skin. The results are acute and chronic skin, hair, and overall health issues.
Chloramines form when chlorine water combines with ammonia. Therefore, chloramines are typically used as secondary disinfectants.
Both chlorine and Chloramines can react with other natural substances. This results in the production of cancer-bearing byproducts.
Mercury – a substance that not only invades human health but sea life too. It deposits in discharges from factories and manufacturing industries. When they contaminate marine life, it is not surprising that it reaches our plates.
Its occurrence in running tap water as well is also very alarming. It can be due to natural erosion or illegal dumping of chemical waste.
VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds are a variety of chemicals that are discharged as gases. Thousands of products contain VOCs like paint thinner, cleaning supplies, building material pesticides.
So, it’s no surprise that these elements end up in our tap water. When water is hot, the VOCs present vaporizes, which your body can absorb.
Pharmaceuticals – are artificial chemicals in the medication. They end up in our water due to substandard disposal of waste. Many pharmaceutical manufacturing industries are responsible for unsupervised dumping.
Herbicides and Pesticides – These chemicals have now become vital for agriculture. But the harm they cause is inevitable. Even with preventive measures, some of these chemicals accumulate in the soil.
And nearby water sources are also not safe. Ultimately ending up in our tap water. Rainfall and irrigation usually wash herbicides and pesticides from farmlands. The water runs off into lakes and rivers and contaminates them.
Bacteria and Viruses – every water supply is home to multiple microbes. Some of these are sources of waterborne diseases. It is quite impossible to filter out these microorganisms.
These simple water cleaning techniques might not be enough. Hence they usually remain in the water traveling to our homes.
Cysts are also microbial parasites found in lakes. They are usually brought in from sewers or leaking septic tanks. However, you can remove them. Giving your tap water high standard treatment will rid it of the cysts.
Nitrates & Nitrites. – The major sources of nitrate in water are fertilizers, animal waste, and septic tanks. The water sources that are vulnerable to contamination are near agricultural fields. The point is that high levels of nitrates in drinking water can cause harm to everyone.
Fluoride – may be present in water as a natural resource. However, ceramic and agricultural industries raise this chemical to harmful levels.
Heavy metals – besides lead and mercury, many other metals are present. Aluminum, copper, cadmium, and chromium all can harm humans. That is because the effects are adverse and their generations to come.
The authorities ensure that they provide you with clean and safe drinking water. The question again arises: Are the pipes transporting the water clean?
Do they not spoil the water in any way? But, overall, you cannot ignore the fact that the contamination in the tap water is dangerous. No matter how less it is.
Heavy metals in tap water create health issues and affect the human body genetically. However, its acute effects may be treatable. Some diseases like cardiovascular diseases, renal failure, cancers, and diabetes have treatments.
But the accumulation of these heavy metals for a decent number of years can result in genetic disorders in newborns. However smaller amounts they might be in, they are in no way safe to consume.
They say some bacteria are good. But, you still do not know that the harmful ones may outweigh the beneficial ones in your water. Antibiotics can cure the diseases like Flu, gastric issues, and infections.
Even the bacteria and the viruses can be removed from the water by disinfecting it with other chemicals. But over the long run, disinfectants that kill bacteria and viruses can pose a threat when consumed. one of the most common is chlorine.
It can cause significant skin issues and intense nausea. Diarrhea and inflammation of the respiratory tract are some other harmful effects.
Unclean water is the source of many waterborne diseases. Some top on the list is cholera, typhoid, dysentery. Most of them are related to the digestive system because the water reaches first. They usually occur due to poor sanitation.
And then, it leads to contaminated groundwater mixing with drinking water. So, unfortunately, it’s not just waterborne diseases that one may fear acquiring.
Arsenic can cause cancer of the skin, bladder, lung, kidney, liver, and prostate. Its non-cancerous health hazards affect the cardiovascular, endocrinal, immunological, pulmonary, and neurological systems.
Nitrates in high quantity can cause a blood disorder in infants, as blue baby syndrome. Atrazine is a herbicide that washes off from green fields such as golf courses.
They interfere with the body’s hormonal activity and create issues. Excess fluoride can cause fluorosis, which is the deformation of bones.
Tap water is usually tasteless and, the majority of the time, odorless too. If the contamination levels are low, the water seems regular in taste. That’s why some bacteria and viruses go unnoticed.
They cannot be detected just using the human senses. However, the taste issue arises when the water comes with heavy metal poisoning. Even in just traceable quantities, the presence of metals can change the taste of the water.
Metals like copper, chromium lead, and mercury are on the top. The seeping of chemicals into water sources is also taste-altering. Some herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs can add a certain pungent taste to tap water.
An earthy and fishy taste might result from algae building up in the water source. Change in taste can undoubtedly raise a red flag. But how long will they take to implement is the question. Purifying water on a large scale remains a hectic and expensive process.
How To Improve Tap Water?
You can adopt certain strategies if you face a change in taste. Moreover, to make sure you are getting safe water in your taps, you can still take some precautionary measures:
Contact water authorities – cleaning up and maintaining the quality of the water at the source itself can be rewarding. The government can carry out specific criteria like monitoring the Ph level of the water, testing the chemical contents, and cleaning the tanks regularly. All such procedures can easily carry out at the government or community level.
However, here are some ways to improve the quality of your tap water.
- Filtration – implementing a water filtering system at your premises can help you get clean and safe water. There are many systems available in the filtration market.
They can filter debris, add disinfectants, and a few more techniques to ensure the final output is in the purest form possible.
- Boiling the water – you can certainly boil the tap water before using it for drinking. Boiling it up to 200 degrees can help get rid of certain bacteria and viruses.
It can further sieve through to get rid of the dirt and mud. But again, you will need to consume the boiled water within a certain time frame.
- Seek Plumbing professional help – sometimes the problem might be in just your plumbing system itself. Getting professional help and surveying your existing water pipes might resolve some issues.
Cleaning your pipes once in a while will relieve your tap water from harmful chemicals, algae, and bacteria.
Does Boiling Tap Water Purify It?
Boiling tap water might help you get rid of bacteria, viruses, and many pathogens. However, filtering out any metal contamination is almost impossible using this procedure.
Why Is It Called Tap Water?
Because the water is obtained from the taps at home, the supply from the water source travels through pipes and reaches your bathroom and kitchen taps. The only way to access this water is through the taps.
What Is the PH of Tap Water?
Generally, the pH of tap water should be between 6.5 and 7.5. However, the pH value of Tap water deviates from the standard value depending on your location.
The most realistic way to ensure that your tap water is safe for drinking is to get it tested. All the purification procedures come after that. Then, related to the findings, you can decide on further actions.
You will know what sort of filtration, disinfection, and cleaning your water supply needs. Everyone has the right to safe and healthy water as it is one of the most vital essentials of life. But increasing population, deforestation, and other global issues are linked.
They all end up spoiling the water that runs through your taps. But, prevention is always better than cure. So, make efforts to ensure what you are getting through your taps at home.