As many people are aware, hard water is known to include harsh minerals, sediments, and chemicals from runoffs near the water source. In our article, we will look at four specific contaminants that could be affecting your family’s health.
Known around the United States as a potent toxin, lead is a neurotoxin that is especially harmful to early childhood development and during pregnancy. Outdated plumbing with lead and copper, as well as contaminated paint, soil, and household dust are common exposure points with lead. When the pipes release the lead into the drinking water, the exposure amount can vary. The EPA states that no amount of lead exposure is considered safe. A concentration amount exceeding 3.8 parts per billion (ppb) can expose children to adverse hazards.
Bottled water is not a safer option, although many parents choose this option for formula bottles over tap water. The Food and Drug Administration limits lead levels to 5ppb for bottled water, which is higher than the Environmental Protection Agency suggests.
When children are exposed to lead, brain and nervous systems suffer the consequences — resulting in neurological damage in growing children’s brains, as well as loss of IQ points. California has been known to set a public health goal of only 0.2ppb of lead in tap water to help protect the neurological growth in children.
Nitrate and Atrazine
Nitrates and Atrazine are both chemical compounds that are often present together in drinking water. Nitrates are a common ingredient in pesticides and found in many private wells and are not routinely included in water testing. While the federal government allows for 10ppb of nitrate in water, a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that exceeding 5ppb can increase health risks. Nitrate can obstruct the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, increases the risk of cancer and congenital disabilities.
Atrazine is a manmade herbicide used on weeds along roadways, fruits, and other plants. In agricultural areas, Nitrates and Atrazine are commonly found together and typically end up in drinking water simultaneously. While federal law allows up to 3ppb of Atrazine, human studies have shown this number to be inadequate in the protection of human health. The University of Illinois reported a link between drinking water and preterm births with an exposure of only one-seventh of the federal limit. This same research study reported the health conditions become intensified when Nitrates are present.
Manganese is a naturally occurring metal found in some food sources and fortified to food supplements. When present in soil and rocks along aquifer sources for drinking water, manganese begins leaching into the water. Studies have found lower IQ scores and delays in verbal and behavior performances in children exposed to higher concentrations of manganese in water. Although this metal is naturally occurring, scientists have still not found evidence as to why drinking water contaminated with manganese causes harmful effects. Frida Zipkin’s doctoral thesis concluded that children’s blood and hair samples that had manganese present did not correlate to dietary intake. This finding leaves drinking water the primary culprit for the exposure. While the government has not set a legal limit on manganese in drinking water, a non-enforced suggested limit of 50 parts per billion is encouraged.
In its natural environment, workers that have been exposed to manganese in industrial settings have known to suffer from lethargy, weakness, and Parkinson’s-like symptoms. In children’s drinking water, the primary concern becomes the brain and nervous system toxicity. Reports consist of lower IQ scores, hyperactivity, memory problems, and attention dysfunction.
New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine reviewed children’s case studies and found 12 out of 14 children had manganese related developmental delays. The study also found that children retain more manganese than adults, putting them at a higher risk of harmful effects.
Reverse Osmosis is the best way to eliminate hard water contaminants in your drinking water and general household water. The harshness of these minerals not only takes a toll on your body but also on your plumbing and appliances. With your Reverse Osmosis whole house system, you can rest assured that only the purest water is nourishing your home and health.
- Sanders et al. Perinatal and Childhood Exposure to Cadmium, Manganese, and Metal Mixtures and Effects on Cognition and Behavior: A Review of Recent Literature. Current Environmental Health Reports, 2015, 2:284–294.
- Zipkin. Assessment of Manganese Dietary Intake for a Rural Pediatric Population. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Cincinnati, 2014.