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More Than Just Lead: 25 More Contaminants Found In Drinking Water

Lead is bad for your health. We know this. Recent discoveries highlighting dangerous levels of lead in Toronto waterways have put residents on alert.

But what else is lurking within the innocent looking water pouring daily from your tap? You might be surprised at the sheer number of dangerous microorganisms, disinfectants, and byproducts that can be found in the water you drink every day.

While this is far from a comprehensive list, we’re listing 25 of the nastiest contaminants to ever call the tap home.

1. Cyanide

This nasty poison finds its way into your drinking water via discharges from steel, metal, and fertilizer manufacturers. Light ingestion results in nerve damage and thyroid problems.

2. Cryptosporidium

This single-celled parasite is found in lakes and rivers and enters the water supply via animal fecal waste. Symptoms of contamination include diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps.

3. Chlorite

Another byproduct of drinking water disinfection systems, Chlorite causes Anemia in children and causes harm to the central nervous system for all ages.

4.. Legionella

This bacteria is commonly found within most bodies of water and multiplies quickly at warm temperatures. If aerosolized and breathed in, it causes a form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires disease.

5. Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Another byproduct of drinking water disinfection systems, TTHM exposure can result in liver and kidney problems, central nervous system issues, and an increased risk of cancer.

6. Chloramine

This water disinfectant is harmful at levels greater than 4 mg/L. Symptoms include anemia, eye or nose irritation, and stomach pain.

7. Antimony

This contaminant comes from petroleum discharge, electronics, and ceramic waste. When ingested, its presence results in increased body cholesterol and decreased blood sugar levels.

8. Chlorine

A common water disinfectant, Chlorine can be harmful at levels exceeding 4 mg/L. Symptoms include stomach discomfort and irritation to the eyes and nose.

9. Arsenic

The result of soil erosion, fertilizer runoff, and glass waste, Arsenic can cause skin damage and circulatory system problems.

10. Chlorine Dioxide

Another water disinfectant, this solution is dangerous at levels greater than 8 mg/L. Symptoms range from anemia in infants to nervous system effects in adults.

11. Asbestos

This nasty little fiber used to be used in construction materials, including cement and insulation. As the materials break down, asbestos fibers end up in the water supply, causing intestinal polyps.

12. Copper

This every day metal ends up in the water supply via home plumbing corrosion and natural runoff. Symptoms range from diarrhea and vomiting to liver and kidney damage.

13. Barium

Barium gets into the water supply via drilling waste and metal refinery discharges. Ingestion can result in increased blood pressure.

14. Bromate

This byproduct of drinking water disinfection systems can cause an increased risk of cancer over time.

15. Cadmium

This contaminant enters the water supply via galvanized pipes, waste pollution, and natural runoff. Ingestion can result in kidney damage.

16. Fluoride

Fluoride is sometimes added to the water supply to increase teeth strength. Levels exceeding 4 mg/L can result in bone disease or mottle teeth.

17. Beryllium

Coal burning, metal refinery discharge, and electrical waste can leave Beryllium deposits in our drinking water. Ingestion may result in intestinal lesions.

18. Mercury

The result of erosions, natural runoff, and discharges, Mercury can cause severe kidney damage.

19. Alachlor

This herbicide runoff causes eye, liver, kidney and spleen problems, anemia, and increased risk of cancer.

20. Selenium

This contaminant enters the water stream via mine discharges and natural runoff. It can cause extremity numbness, hair and fingernail loss, and circulatory problems.

21. Dinoseb

Dinoseb reaches the water supply via herbicide runoff. If ingested, it can cause reproductive difficulties in both men and women.

22. Diquat

Also the result of herbicide runoff, Diquat ingestion can result in cataracts.

23. Styrene

This contaminant comes from rubber or plastic factory discharges and can result in liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems.

24. Lindane

This contaminant comes from insecticide runoff and also results in liver and kidney problems.

25. Uranium

This radionuclide can find its way into the water supply via erosion of natural deposits. Ingestion can increase one’s risk of cancer.

The Good News!

Well don’t get too depressed. These contaminants may be swimming about in our drinking water, but they’re remarkably easy to remove.

Simply install a Filter Butler water filtration system within your home, and say a permanent goodbye to many contaminants and their nasty friends.


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Filter Butler offers whole Home Filters, Whole home Salt Free Softeners, and other drinking water solutions for residential and commercial customers.
Categories: Water