Water contamination is a serious issue that causes thousands to die every year. The causes of water contamination are wide and varied, meaning anyone can be affected, and there is a wide range of effects.
The most dramatic of these effects is cancer. Several water contaminants have been shown to cause cancer, and unfortunately, many are familiar.
One typical example is asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral. It has been mined to be used in thousands of products because it is extremely resistant to heat and chemicals. Unfortunately, asbestos can lead to highly contaminated water. This is usually the result of industrial wastewater or the gradual erosion of materials that contain asbestos, such as concrete pipelines, in water supply systems.
Other chemicals and minerals that can cause cancer when ingested through contaminated water include chlordane, PCB, radium, radon, toxaphene, trihalomethanes, uranium, and volatile organic compounds. Of course, there’s no need to swear off water altogether.
These contaminants are not harmful in minimal doses and can be easily avoided with a sound water purification system.
Less severe but more common are instances of gastrointestinal illness as the result of contaminated water. The most common contaminants to cause gastrointestinal illnesses are cryptosporidium, giardia, and E.coli. Contaminated water containing cryptosporidium, giardia, or E.coli is usually the result of sewage pollution, often carried into the water supply by precipitation.
Cryptosporidium is a single-celled parasite that inhabits the intestines of both humans and animals. Those who have consumed contaminated water containing cryptosporidium will have diarrhea for up to two weeks. Although this is unpleasant, it is only dangerous for people who are already in a vulnerable physical condition, especially anyone who is pregnant or has HIV, AIDS, or cancer.
Giardia is the other most common gastrointestinal illness. Like Cryptosporidium, giardia also causes contaminated water through the feces of humans and animals. Drinking contaminated water containing giardia causes giardiasis, which is a common cause of diarrhea.
The third and most serious common cause of gastrointestinal illness as the result of contaminated water is E.coli. Although there are numerous harmless types of E.coli, the strain 0157:H7 causes several deaths each year in North America alone.
Like cryptosporidium and giardia, E-coli also contaminates water as the result of feces. Between two and seven percent of all people infected with E.coli experience hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that destroys red blood cells and leads to kidney failure. The hemolytic uremic syndrome is most common in children under the age of five and the elderly. The size of the harmful E.coli strain is minute (it is only 0.5 to 3 microns), making it too small for many water filters to catch. All Sure Aqua products are effective in filtering out E.coli.
Cancer and gastrointestinal illnesses are not the only effects of contaminated water. Contaminated water can also lead to liver and kidney damage.
To avoid getting sick from contaminated water, make sure you always have access to safe drinking water by investing in a sound water purification system.