Harmful Chemicals That May Be Present in Your Water

Every single year, tens of millions of Americans find themselves exposed to unsafe drinking water. This problem is most common in rural areas, though some cities are also at risk. Contaminants like lead and arsenic have been found in water supplies throughout America. You might be surprised to learn what other chemicals and contaminants could be lurking in your water supply. This article will outline a list of harmful chemicals that could be present in your water. Frequent exposure to contaminants can lead to cancer and in some cases, produce brain damage in children. Industrial facilities and industries may invest in a Valve Manifold Box to control the flow of these chemicals.


Lead pipes were commonplace up until 1986 when they were banned. However, many lead pipes still remain. When lead pipes begin to wear away, they can release lead into the water supply. According to this commercial water treatment agency, Wellness Water Filtration Systems, it is time that property managers and business owners fight back against polluted and contaminated water. They say that just because water is ‘regulated’ does not mean it is safe. This is especially true regarding lead. There should be no lead pipes anywhere in the United States. Lead can lead to brain damage in children and contribute to seizures and reproductive issues in adults.


Arsenic is an organic compound, found naturally in the earth. Arsenic levels in some areas of the United States far exceed what is allowable by the Environmental Protection Agency. California is a state that is particularly bad for this. Groundwater pumping is suggested to have been the catalyst for high levels of arsenic leaching into public water supplies. Arsenic can contribute to cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, and can cause issues in brain development in children. You can buy small tests that will tell you whether or not your water is contaminated with arsenic, lead, or any of the other chemicals that will be mentioned in this article.


Thorium, radon, uranium, and radium can be found naturally. It is commonly thought that they only come from nuclear power plants, but this is untrue. Construction, oil, gas production, and coal mining can cause these isotopes to seep into groundwater and then contaminate the public water supply. If you live in a state where any of the aforementioned is a big industry, then you at greater risk than in other states. 

One state that has been hugely affected by isotope leaks is Texas, where radium has caused massive water violations. Radioactive materials can contribute to cancer in the bone, kidney, thyroid, and lungs. Radioactive outbreaks are rare, though they can happen.


While other chemicals here can be imperceptible, copper is not. Copper often causes water to turn a tinge of blue or green. As your pipes begin to age, they release copper into the water supply. Rarely does copper accumulate in such quantities as to pose a risk to health, though it can happen. In small levels, copper is harmless. In higher quantities, copper can cause damage to the kidney and the liver.


Perfluorooctanoic acid is a man-made chemical that is known as the ‘non-stick’ component in Teflon. Towns, villages, and cities located near plants where PFOA is produced may find traces of the chemical in their water supply. The harmful effects of the chemical are, at this time, still undergoing research, though it has been suggested to cause both kidney and testicular cancer, as well as heart disease, ulcers in the colon, and other problems.


Perchlorate is found in most states’ water supplies. There are strict limits on how much can be present at one time. It is the chemical used to make rocket fuel, fireworks, and weaponry. Over 45 states have been identified as having perchlorate present in their drinking water. The chemical poses a massive risk to pregnant women and children, because it, like other chemicals here, has been linked to brain development issues.


Manganese is naturally occurring and is found in the earth’s crust. The mineral is consumed mostly through food, though it can also be found in many American’s water supply. Scientists are not yet clear on whether or not manganese has harmful effects on the nervous system or brain, and like arsenic (another naturally occurring compound), it poses the greatest threat to young children when consumed excessively. Manganese has been linked with behavioral issues in later life when consumed in early life.


Mercury can find its way into your drinking water through a number of ways, though mainly through industrial waste and discarded products like paint. Exposure to mercury can cause massive damage to the human nervous system, kidneys, and liver. It can also contribute to infertility. Mercury has been regulated for many decades now, however, so exposure to it is incredibly unlikely. Water is routinely tested for mercury all over the United States.


Chlorine is a chemical agent added to the water supply to fight bacteria and germs. It is usually safe in small amounts. The biggest threat chlorine poses to your water at safe levels is a strong smell or taste. When chlorine comes into contact with other agents in your water, it can create harmful by-products like chloroform. Water is routinely tested to ensure that chlorine levels are safe and not excessive. If chlorine is consumed excessively, it can make you very unwell and can contribute to health problems.


Fluoride is a point of great contentions. Scientists claim it is safe in small quantities, while anti-fluoride advocates claim it causes a number of health problems. Fluoride is proven to prevent tooth decay, which is why it is actually added to the water supply in some places around the world. Fluoride is usually safe, and you should experience no problems with it. If levels become excessive, however, then you can experience health problems. Fluoride is carefully monitored and regulated to ensure that it does not reach levels that would be harmful. You can test the fluoride content in your water with a home test.

Clean drinking water is a basic human right. It is unlikely you will ever encounter any of the chemicals mentioned here in your water. If you do test your water and find levels of any of these, save chlorine and fluoride, then you should contact your local authority.