poisonous to humans and does not produce a smell or taste. The
concentrations are higher in drilled wells than dug wells, and higher
in wells than surface water. The drinking water guideline is 0.025mg/L.
Arsenic is easily soluble in water. Many of the locations in
Newfoundland and Labrador where arsenic is found are documented.
it is so pervasive in the environment, to the point of being
unavoidable, researchers have long been studying its effects on humans.
This research has revealed a link between aluminum intake and
neurological dementia in kidney dialysis patients (dialysis
encephalopathy). In recent years, the public and the media have become
concerned about other possible adverse effects of aluminum on human
health, including its role in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease
and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). In addition,
questions have been raised about the potential risks to infants who
drink baby formula containing aluminum.
that is added to clarify water, has long been associated with memory
loss, possibly Alzheimer’s disease and is believed to increase
(NH3) is a
colorless, alkaline gas at ambient temperature and pressure, with a
distinct pungent odour. Produced naturally by the biological
degradation of nitrogenous matter (e.g., amino acids) that is present
in organic wastes or soils, ammonia provides an essential link in the
"nitrogen cycle" of nature.
Ammonia is produced commercially by a catalyzed reaction between
nitrogen and hydrogen and by its recovery during the isolation of coal
gas. It is used in the manufacture of chemical products such as
fertilizers, explosives, nitric acid and plastics and in refrigeration
plants and petroleum refineries.
Ammonia is very soluble in water; approximately 90g dissolve in 100 ml
of distilled water at 0°C. In solution, some of the ammonia
reacts with the water, resulting in the following equilibrium:
NH3 + H2O → NH4+ + OH–, pKb = 4.74
For the purpose of this review, reference to the ammonia content of
water should be taken to mean the sum total of ammonia and ammonium ion
content. In the pH range of most natural waters, ammonia nitrogen will
exist principally as NH4+.
Ammonia is present in most waters as a result of the biological
degradation of nitrogenous organic matter, although it may also reach
groundwater and surface waters from industrial waste discharges.
Ammonia removal during drinking water treatment is not usually
required. Ammonia removal by air stripping is a fairly common process,
particularly in wastewater treatment. Adsorption and demineralization
processes may also be effective for ammonia removal. If chlorination is
used in water treatment, any ammonia will combine with the chlorine to
form chloramines. As well, pH adjustment can be used to affect the form
of ammonia in the water.
Bromate is a
byproduct of drinking water disinfection. MCL (Maximum Concentration
Level) is 0.010mg/L. Bromate Increased risk of cancer
indicate that chlorine is involved in heart disease, hardening of the
arteries (arteriosclerosis), anemia, high blood pressure, allergies and
cancer of the bladder, stomach, liver and rectum. Further, chlorine can
destroy protein in the body and cause adverse effects on the skin and
hair. The US COUNCIL of environmental quality states that cancer risk
among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those
whose water does not contain chlorine". Chlorine binds and reacts with
many other chemicals, forming carcinogens like Trihallomethanes (THM),
with chloroform being the most common one. Furthermore, recent real
life evidence in the tap water of Sydney shows that certain viruses and
parasites, like giardia and cryptosporidium, are being resistant to
chlorine and can survive the long journey from the sewage treatment to
your tap. That makes chlorination an even more pointless and dangerous
Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water such as the eye/nose
irritation, stomach discomfort, and anemia.
Giardia and cryptosporidium
are protozoa (unicellular organisms) parasitic to the intestines of
animals and humans. Once in the body, these parasites then multiply and
cause the respective infections of giardia and cryptosporidiosis, which
contribute or are associated to enteric (intestinal) diseases. Other
than food, these parasites are transmitted from contaminated drinking
water. These infested waters are today in most major
cities, which is a direct result of the unsuccessful treatment of
recycled sewage effluent. These parasites initially venture their way
into the sewage effluent, from Hospitals, abattoir and farms waste,
which contain blood, intestines and faeces. While immunocompetent
(the ability to develop an immune response) people may remain
asymptomatic (presenting no symptoms) by ingestion of this parasites,
immunocompromised (i.e. malnutrition Cancer and Aids) patients are at
risk. U.S. Health Officials estimate 900,000 people each year
become ill, and possibly 900 die from waterborne disease.
chemical ingredient found in the water that imposes risks to the
nervous, circulatory and digestive systems. It is a teratogen, a
substance known to cause physical defects in the developing embryo.
Chronic exposure, even in small doses, may have serious implications to
your well being. Symptoms to be wary of are irritability, nervousness,
weight loss, anemia, stomach cramps, constipation and mental
depression. It can cause learning disabilities and lowered IQ.
fertilizers when brought in contact with chlorine and ammonia, can turn
into nitrites. Nitrites once inside the body combines with amines and
form nitrosamines which are highly carcinogenic. Nitrites can interfere
with oxygen uptake and since babies are specifically sensitive to this
aspect you could not fail to see a possible link between blue baby
syndrome and the nitrite factor. Infants below the age of six month who
drink water, containing nitrate or nitrite in excess of the MCL could
become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include
shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome.
Selenium is a
metal found in natural deposits as ores containing other elements. The
greatest use of selenium compounds is in electronic and photocopier
components, but they are also widely used in glass, pigments, rubber,
metal alloys, textiles, petroleum, medical therapeutic agents, and
Short-term: Selenium is an essential nutrient at low levels. However,
EPA has found selenium to potentially cause the following health
effects when people are exposed to it at levels above the MCL for
relatively short periods of time: hair and fingernail changes; damage
to the peripheral nervous system; fatigue and irritability.
Long-term: Selenium has the potential to cause the following effects
from a lifetime exposure at levels above the MCL: hair and fingernail
loss; damage to kidney and liver tissue, and the nervous and
this is not a water treatment and was initially added as a supplement
to prevent “assumingly” tooth decay in children. Its toxicity is high
enough that in larger concentrations can be used as a pesticide and rat
killer. In humans it can be damaging to the heart, lungs, liver, cause
genetic mutations and have long term negative effects on enzyme
production and the efficiency of the immune system. In the medical
encyclopedia and dictionary by Miller-Keane, under fluoridation refers
that slight excesses of fluoride are poisonous and can cause dental
fluorosis (mottled discoloration of teeth). When you look up
further down under fluorosis, you can see clearly the irony of the
system an enamel hypoplasia resulting from prolonged ingestion of
drinking water containing high levels of fluoride. As the debate about
the safety of fluoride continuous, countries such as Switzerland,
Belgium, Holland, Germany and Sweden have terminated its use due to its
potential health hazard. Health Canada does not recommend the use of
fluoride supplements (drops or tablets)!
If you turn on your tap and get a rotten egg smell, then there is a
good chance that there is sulfur in your water. At the concentrations
it is found in groundwater it is generally not harmful, but at high
concentrations it can make you sick. You know you may have Hydrogen
Sulfide in your water if your water is bitter and have a laxative
effect. The guidelines state the maximum limit of sulfates is 500mg/L
and for sulfides is 0.05mg/L.
are byproducts of chlorinated disinfectants added to drinking water to
control pathogens. THMs are formed when chlorine byproducts react with
organic matter found in water treatment influent. Disinfecting tap
water is a critical public health measure that saves thousands of lives
each year by reducing the incidence of waterborne disease.
Trihalomethanes with all the same halogen atoms are called haloforms.
MCL must be less then 0.0807mg/L. Elso THM leads kidney or central
nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer.
An Environmental Working Group analysis of Total trihalomethanes
(TTHMs) tests reported by 28,082 public water suppliers in 41 states
shows that between 1998 and 2003, 170 million people in 14,685
communities drank water contaminated with Total trihalomethanes
(TTHMs). In 6,975 of these communities, tap water was contaminated at
levels above health-based thresholds.
symbol H-3) is a radioactive isotope of the element hydrogen (chemical
symbol H). Tritium is produced naturally in the upper atmosphere when
cosmic rays strike nitrogen molecules in the air. Tritium is also
produced during nuclear weapons explosions, as a byproduct in reactors
producing electricity, and in special production reactors, where the
isotope lithium-6 is bombarded to produce tritium.
Tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years and emits a very weak beta
particle. Tritium is almost always found as water, or "tritiated"
water. Once tritium enters the body, it disperses quickly and is
uniformly distributed throughout the body. Tritium is excreted through
the urine within a month or so after ingestion. Organically bound
tritium (tritium that is incorporated in organic compounds) can remain
in the body for a longer period.
As with all ionizing radiation, exposure to tritium increases the risk
of developing cancer.
Uranium is a
naturally occurring radioactive metal in the soil and can also come
from mine tailings. A concentration above 0.020mg/L in drinking water
is above the Drinking Water Quality Guidelines. Uranium is easily
released from the body if ingested. The chemical properties of uranium
are more of a concern than the radioactivity.
More about the harmful contaminants read at the E.P.A