Water is the most important substance to human beings. Without water the human body can only survive for a short while. In extreme cases, like in an overheated and dehydrated athlete, a few hours without water may be deadly. In most cases, you may only survive a few days without it. That's because human bodies are made up of 60% water. Every organ in your body needs it. But it's important that the water you put into your body is pure and free of any contaminants. Water with impurities can cause major health problems. Even in the majority of the U.S., where culinary water comes from public sources, contaminants can still creep in. Here are some for the most common problems that can arise from impure water in your home.
Even if water emerges clean and potable from a local water purification plant, it can become contaminated on the journey from the plant to your home if it travels through deteriorating lead pipes. This very problem has been the cause of a lot of sickness and death recently in the town of Flint, Michigan, where corroding supply pipes caused lead to leach into the town's water supply. Lead contamination can be especially dangerous to children because, when ingested by a child, lead can be absorbed four to five times faster than in an adult. The result is an attack on the brain and central nervous system that can cause drastic behavioral changes, reduced cognitive function, and even death.
Another common result of contaminated water is Legionella or Legionnaire's disease. Legionella is a bacterium that can be found naturally in fresh water. What's unusual about this bacterium is that it has to be aspirated into the lungs in order for it to cause problems. If there is enough of it in the moisture in the air, it can result in Legionnaire's disease or Pontiac disease. The resulting symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, coughing, and even death. Smokers and people over the age of fifty are especially vulnerable. Legionella was the most commonly reported water-born outbreak in U.S. between 2013 and 2014.
The third most common problem associated with contaminated water in the U.S. is a parasitic infection like Cryptosporidium or Giardia. Both of these strange-sounding words are the names of parasites, which are most commonly found in the gut of infected animals or people. Symptoms of these parasites include diarrhea, stomach and abdominal cramps, gas, dehydration from loss of fluids, upset stomach and vomiting, and greasy stool. If treated early, these parasites don't usually result in death.
Make sure you are using a water purification system, like those from Houston Water Products, to remove these and other contaminants from your home's water.