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- Arsenic in water is a very dangerous water contaminant because it is colorless and odorless and magnifies in toxicity over time. A water test can determine if you have arsenic present in your drinking water.
- Chlorine residual is mandatory in the USA for water that is provided to the public. All municipalities add chlorine to drinking water as a disinfectant to kill bacteria. Although chlorine serves a great purpose as a disinfectant, chlorine can interact with organic compounds to form dangerous disinfectant byproducts such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Excess chlorine can also change the color of your hair.
- Hydrogen sulfide is an obnoxious gas that causes the water to smell like rotten eggs. It is not only a nuisance to the nose, but is extremely corrosive to plumbing fixtures.
- Iron can cause damage to plumbing lines, fixtures and appliances by causing a stain build up that will reduce their efficiency. Iron will also stain clothes and hair. Iron also serves as a food source for different types of bacteria which cause a slimy buildup.
- Calcium and magnesium can cause damage to plumbing lines, fixtures and appliances by causing a scale build up that will reduce their efficiency. Calcium and magnesium together make up the hardness of the water.
- Tannic acid in water while it does not pose any health risk it can cause some unique problems. Besides giving the water a tea color, affected water can have a plant like, musty odor, and will have an unpleasant tangy aftertaste when consumed. The presence of tannic acid in water can also indicate surface water intrusion.
- pH of water is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of the water and has a range of 1 to 14 with 7 being neutral. pH should be in the range of 6.5 – 5 SU to be considered safe for consumption. A pH lower than 6.5 is considered acidic and a pH of greater than 8.5 is considered alkaline. pH plays an important role in the corrosivity of water.
- Lead in water is a very dangerous water contaminant because it is colorless and odorless and magnifies in toxicity over time. A water test of the “stagnant” water (water that has sat in the pipes for a minimum of 6 hours) can determine if there is lead in your drinking water.
- Nitrates in water can cause methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome) and should not be consumed by pregnant ladies or infants. High nitrate levels provide an indication of agricultural runoff. Only recently has scientific evidence emerged to assess the health impacts of drinking water with high nitrate levels on adults. Potential health effects such as increased heart rate, nausea, headaches and abdominal cramps have been linked to consuming drinking water high in nitrates.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are a class of chemicals that contain carbon and will volatilize into the atmosphere. VOC’s have a strong odor and include petrochemicals from gasoline. Health effects from drinking water or bathing in water contaminated with VOC’s may include impaired immune system function, liver damage and increased risk of cancer. Sampling for VOC’s require specific vials and sampling technique. Please contact the Laboratory to request your containers and instructions.
- Per-and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) are groups of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, Gen X, and many other chemicals. These chemical have been leaching into our drinking water since the 1940’s. Potential adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure include liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. Sampling for PFAS compounds requires a specific container and preservative. Please contact the Laboratory to request your containers and instructions.
Category: COMMON DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS
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