5 Drinking Water Contaminants And Their Health Effects Information

by Curtis Grossi | Last Updated: March 14, 2024
Drinking Water Contaminants

You can live for some days without food, but you cannot live long without water. Drinking water in plenty keeps you hydrated and this enables your body to function in an optimal state.

Unfortunately, drinking water may expose you to various harmful contaminants. That’s why you should treat and purify it either using an under sink filtering system or a whole house filtration system before drinking to avoid introducing these contaminants into your system.

It would also be best if you take total responsibility for the quality of drinking water in your household. This starts by being aware of the contaminants present in your water so that you can use the right filtration system or treatment.

You cannot get a water filter without knowing what’s in your water and expect it to do what you desire. Water filters are created differently and added with different sorts of features. So, their abilities differ.

That’s why it is good to have a look at different water filter reviews to know which filters have what it takes to perform a perfect job. Salt free type water softeners can also do an excellent job of boosting the quality and purity of the water you drink.

1. Inorganic Compounds

Inorganic compounds are chemical minerals which lack carbon as their component. These chemical contaminants may have severe health effects if introduced into the body through drinking dirty water. They’re ranked top among the most dangerous water contaminants. The common types of inorganic compounds present in water include arsenic, nitrate, and lead.

Arsenic chemicals are brought about by soil rock and minerals and they may be introduced in your water source through erosion. They can also be introduced through electronics production wastes.

Orchards, which produce pesticides, may erode, causing runoff into your water thereby causing arsenic pollution. Consuming water affected by arsenic contaminants may result in skin defects and serious ailments such as circulatory system disorders and cancer. Arsenic compounds like nitrate are common in water sources like rivers, swamps, and lakes.

Arsenic contaminants can also get into drinking water through fertilizers and leaking septic systems. They can also occur naturally from the soil. These nitrates affect children more since an amount, which may have no effect on adults can dangerously impact children.

Nitrate is known to reduce the amount of oxygen in children’s blood. After consuming nitrate, children will showcase symptoms such as blue skin, shortened breath, and if these effects are left untreated, it may lead to death.

Lead is another type of inorganic chemical commonly found in drinking water. Lead contaminants may get into your water when lead water pipes corrode. Lead is very harmful to young ones as it may result in retardation of both mental and physical growth. After consuming lead, kids may also become slow learners or have attention deficit.

Heavy metals which are widely found in housing plumbing systems and other minerals are also a common cause of water contamination. These heavy metals are common in water sources such as private wells. Heavy metals have a high toxicity level, hence, can affect the kidneys, liver and lead to cancer in severe cases.

2. Organic Compounds

Unlike inorganic compounds, these chemicals have carbon as their key components. An excellent example of these compounds is atrazine- a common chemical found in agriculture products like herbicides.

In agriculture fields, the atrazine chemical enters into water piping systems, by absorption, or water runoffs. When this chemical is consumed for a long time, it may lead to cardiovascular disorder or reproductive ailments.

Herbicides have incredibly high water contaminating effect. The presence of herbicides in drinking water is on the rise as more people are introducing it to water sources through the use of weed control chemicals.

Pharmaceuticals are other common types of organic water contaminants. These chemicals end up in water sources when farmers and medical specialists dispose of pharmaceutical chemicals into landfills. These compounds are commonly used in veterinary and human care applications. If allowed to flow into water bodies, the chemicals can have serious health problems.

DEHP and TCE are other widespread organic water contaminants. DEHP is mostly found in chemicals and rubber factories while TCE found is in trichloroethylene or metal degreasing sites. PCE is widely known to trigger the emission of organic chemicals, which can have severe health problems.

When released, these chemicals may be absorbed in the water piping systems or runoff to the water sources leading to water contamination. When consumed, these chemicals may lead to various health defects including liver disorders and cancer. DEHP chemicals are quite on the rise today. When consumed, DEHP may cause reproductive problems.

It’s always advised to check out the quality of the water you drink daily to avoid exposing yourself into health problems. Get quality water filters to purify water and keep it safe for human consumption. You may need water coolers that dispense hot water so you can encourage the intake of clean water.

3. Disinfection Byproducts

DBO or Disinfection byproducts are chemicals mostly found in water treating chemicals such as chlorine.

These disinfection chemicals are added to your water to kill dangerous pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Two well-known disinfection byproducts are trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids.

These chemicals may be harmless where exposure is at minimum. But with prolonged exposure to your system, they may result in heath defects like kidney, liver, central nervous systems, or even reproductive systems defects.

These defects may also lead to severe disorders such as cancer. Cancer may be as a result of prolonged exposure to a chemical such as haloacetic present in drinking water. It is advisable to test your water of such compounds, and always filter your water for safe human consumption. You need the best water filtration systems and softeners to make sure everyone at home drinks quality and clean water.

4. Radionuclides

Radionuclides are chemicals mostly found in components that have being releasing nuclear radiation for some time.

There’re tons of radionuclides found in water but uranium and radium are the most popular. These two are organic components which often erode entering into your water sources.

They are very dangerous as exposure into them can affect your kidneys health or result in cancerous problems. A high presence of radium is also reported to increase the risk of cancer infection.

Radionuclides are said to be quite common in water sources like swamps, livers, and lakes. Always get the water you source from these water bodies tested and treated to keep your family safe from drinking the contaminants and exposing themselves to the said health problems.

5. Infectious Agents

Infectious agents are pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. These pathogens are common in drinking found in public water systems. That is because most of the open water systems are not required to run a test for such pathogens. Many water systems are required to conduct tests to find out if water has indicator organisms like total coliform.

Your drinking water may contain these contaminants – but unless tested, you can’t tell it. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites are reported to be very dangerous as they lead to gastrointestinal ailments, which are mostly associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, these chemicals trigger some of the most dangerous water-related health problems. It is good to occasionally get the water tested for these pathogens to confirm the quality and safety levels.

Public water systems sometimes get the water tested, but it is advisable to run a personal test before drinking your water to avoid health defects. That’s to avoid instances when you will consume dirty and unclean water hence exposing yourself to various health problems.


Water is a vital nutrient into your body: water is life. However, taking water can expose you to harmful impurities and pathogens if it is contaminated.

Public water systems undergo regular evaluating and testing to confirm they are working correctly and minimize contamination. However, that does not mean your tap water is 100% safe for human consumption. Taking precautions and ensuring you get the water consumed in your house tested and purified is fundamental. Whether sourced from wells, rivers, or tap, water should be filtered and cleaned with the best water filtration systems.

Tons of contaminants may find their way into drinking water either naturally or through human actions. These contaminants include but are not limited to inorganic and organic chemicals, heavy metals, and radionuclides. They are proven to be very dangerous when introduced to the human body system Microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria are common water contaminants, also. These pathogens are reported to cause health illnesses such as gastrointestinal illness and other infections.

Other chemicals like nitrates, found in human waste and fertilizers are also said to trigger water contamination. Radionuclides which are radioactive from materials such as radium and uranium are also common water contaminants.

These are very lethal when introduced to your body. Some water sources may have these contaminations naturally. The pollutants may also enter your body system through absorption or respiration. It is crucial to undertake a water test to know the chemical present in your drinking water.

Purchasing time-tested and performance-oriented water filters is the way to go to increase the intake of high-quality and clean water.

Curtis is the founder and owner of softeningwater.com. He is the lead guy concerning all the water-softening accessories in this site's guides and reviews. If he is not writing a reviews, guides or any other useful tips, you will find him testing them to find out their suitability. He is passionate about softening water. You will find him extremely helpful and always willing to educate the general populace all there is concerning water and its effects on their health and appliances.