It is a common fact that when you think of toxins, you most likely think of something that is poisonous or hazardous to your health as toxins are substances that are capable of producing negative effects on an organism. However, the point to ponder here is that these substances can be found in a wide variety of places and things, from cleaning products to the water supply.
We are all aware of how vital water is to our survival. What we may not realize, however, is that the water supply in many parts of the world is contaminated with toxins. According to EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) reports, there may be over 84,000 known toxins, such as pesticides, chlorine, DBPs, lead and volatile organic compounds found in the water supply of US homes.
These toxins come from a variety of sources, such as runoff from agricultural fields, sewage discharge, chemicals from industries, and even leaching from landfills. Industrial waste and toxins such as mercury, lead, and nitrate are routinely dumped into rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. When this happens, the toxins affect the entire ecosystem of the water.
So, the effect of toxins on the water supply is, unfortunately, widespread and often overlooked by the general public. When we consume water that is contaminated with toxins, it can have a variety of adverse effects on our health such as gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory problems, skin irritation, and even cancer.
A research study done on 611 individuals receiving small water supplies in UK found a strong association between drinking enterococci contaminated water from these supplies and the risk of infectious intestinal disease in young children suggesting that these water supplies pose a significant risk of contracting infectious intestinal disease in young children who reside in homes that depend on these supplies.
In this article, we will explore the different types of toxins that can contaminate our water supply and the various illnesses that they can cause.
What are toxins?
- A toxin is any substance that has harmful effects on the body when consumed or encountered in mostly high quantities.
- They can be poisonous to humans and other animals if ingested in large amounts.
- Some toxins can cause skin irritation or rashes if touched directly, while others are more commonly known as carcinogens that can lead to cancerous tumors and growths in humans if they are inhaled over a long period of time as is possible with the routine regular use of contaminated water.
The different types of toxins in water supply
There are many different types of toxins that can be present in our water supply. Some of these toxins are naturally occurring, while others are the result of human activity. Either way, these toxins can have a serious impact on our health and depending on how much exposure you have to these toxins; your risk for developing a certain illness also increases.
Knowing about the toxins in your water supply will allow you to take proactive steps in reducing your exposure and keeping yourself healthy at the same time. Here are mentioned the different types of toxins that can be present in our water supply.
- Bacteria: The most common type of toxin found in water is bacteria. While some types of bacteria are actually beneficial to our health, others can cause serious illnesses. The most common type of illness caused by bacteria is gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Other illnesses that can be caused by bacteria include cholera, dysentery, and typhoid fever.
- Lead: Another type of toxin often found in water is lead. Lead can enter the water supply through pipes, solder or other sources. When ingested, lead can cause serious health problems, including brain damage, learning disabilities, kidney failure, anemia and even death.
- Mercury: Another type of toxin that can be found in water is mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that can damage the nervous system and cause developmental problems in children. It can also cause kidney damage and other health problems in adults.
- Arsenic: it is also one of the contaminant commonly found in water supply. Drinking water containing arsenic is a severe health concern.
Other common toxins found in water include pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine. These chemicals can enter the water supply and cause health problems.
- Chlorine: is used to disinfect water but can also irritate the skin and eyes.
- Fluoride: is added to many public water supplies to help prevent tooth decay but can also cause bone and neurological problems if consumed in large amounts.
- Nitrates and pesticides: are sometimes found in well water and can cause a variety of health problems if ingested.These chemicals can all cause a variety of health problems, including skin irritation, adverse reproductive outcomes such as low birth weight,and cancer.
- Glyphosate: is an herbicide that is a potentially dangerous chemical for the human body as it has been found to be carcinogenic and its residues can be found in water. Glyphosate also disrupts the shikimate pathway in the human microbiome disturbing the gut microbiome negatively influencing human health by affecting proper digestion and immune system. When digestion is affected, nutrient absorption in the body is also affected leading to nutritional deficiencies.
It is important to be aware of the different types of toxins that can be present in our water so that we can take steps to protect ourselves and our families. If you suspect that your water may be contaminated with toxins, it’s important to contact your local water authority for testing. In some cases, you may need to install a home filtration system to remove contaminants from your tap water.
The types of illnesses that come forth from these toxins
Diseases from water-borne toxins put a huge burden on the world economy.
Here is a look at some of the more common types of illnesses that can be caused by waterborne toxins:
- Gastrointestinal illness: According to recent estimates, unsafe drinking water in low- and middle-income countries account for 36% of the 1.4 million diarrheal fatalities worldwide each year. Many waterborne toxins can cause gastrointestinal illness, such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps which is the most common type of illness caused by water toxins. This is often the result of ingestion of contaminated water. When toxins build up in the digestive tract, they can cause damage to the intestinal lining, impairing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and process food. This can lead to digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Respiratory illness: Some waterborne toxins can also cause respiratory illness, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. This is often the result of inhalation of contaminated water droplets.
- Skin irritation: Some waterborne toxins can also cause skin irritation, such as rashes or hives. This is often the result of direct contact with contaminated water.
- Neurological disorders: In rare cases, some waterborne toxins can also cause neurological disorders, such as seizures or paralysis. This is often the result of ingestion or inhalation of contaminated water. When toxins build up in the brain and surrounding tissues, they can cause damage in the brain, impairing memory and cognitive function. Brain disorders can lead to conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
- Cancer: When toxins build up in the body, they can wreak havoc on cells and DNA, increasing the risk for cancer. While no one knows exactly what causes cancer, researchers believe that toxins are one of the many risk factors.
- Blood disorders: When toxins build up in the blood, they can damage red blood cells, which are necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Blood disorders often result in anemia, which can cause extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and headaches.
In some cases, these illnesses can be severe enough to require hospitalization. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these toxins.
Examples of companies who have been found at fault for contamination of the water supply.
- Monsanto: One notable example is Monsanto. It is a company that produces genetically modified organisms such as corn, canola, and soybeans for use as food, feed, and in other products. Unfortunately, GMOs have been found to contain toxins in the form of pesticides, antibiotics, and other harmful chemicals that can lead to serious health consequences for humans, such as cancer.
- Monsanto has been found responsible for polluting waterways with its pesticides and herbicides. An example is the fertilizer glyphosate, which is commonly used on corn, canola, and soybeans to make them grow faster. When the plants are harvested, the glyphosate ends up in the water supply, where it can remain for years. The cytotoxicity potential of the herbicide roundup glyphosate has been shown in many studies. Particularly in breast cancer cell lines, it was found to induce cellular proliferation via estrogen receptors. The breast cancer cell lines exposed to low concentration and short exposure to roundup glyphosate suffered deregulation of 11 canonical pathways including cell cycle and DNA repair pathways suggesting a link between roundup glyphosate and breast cancer.
- Research has found that levels of glyphosate in the water have been rising since the 1990s, and that drinking water contaminated with glyphosate can cause various health problems in humans.
- A report published in ‘The Guardian’ found that the herbicide Roundup Glyphosate linked to cancer and other health issues has been found in 80% of urine samples from US children and adults in a health study conducted there. A 2019 study also found glyphosate documented in human urine samples in 19 studies that were reviewed.
This is an alarming situation giving us the idea that how widely these chemicals are available in our surroundings including the water supply and ultimately in us impacting our health negatively.
Some other companies are also found suspected for contaminating the water sources.
- Nestle: for polluting rivers in the Philippines
- Coca-Cola: for polluting rivers in India
- PepsiCo: for polluting rivers in India
- Syngenta: for polluting a river in China
- JBS: for polluting a river in Brazil.
Each of these companies has been found to have contaminated the water supply in some way, whether it be through pollution or dumping of toxic waste. This has led to a number of illnesses and health problems in those who have ingested this contaminated water. Some of the illnesses that have been linked to water contamination include: cancer, birth defects, gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, and immune system disorders.
How to reduce toxins in your water supply
The water we drink every day is contaminated with a variety of toxins, including lead, chlorine, and other chemicals. While the levels of these toxins are regulated by the government, they can still pose a health risk to humans, especially children and pregnant women. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from the harmful effects of water toxins. Here are mentioned a few simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of toxins in your water supply.
- Use a water filter: This is one of the most effective and easiest ways to remove or reduce many different types of toxins from your water supply. There are many different types of water filters available on the market, so find one that suits your needs and budget. There are filters that attach to your faucet, ones that you place in your refrigerator, and even portable ones that you can take with you when you travel. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate all toxins from water, you can greatly reduce the amount of toxins in your water supply by filtering it through a water filter. Install a home filtration system (reverse osmosis) to remove contaminants from your water before you drink it or use it for cooking.
- Buy bottled water: If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can always buy bottled water. Just be sure to check the labels to make sure the water is indeed from a clean source.
- Boil your water: Boiling your water is one of the most effective ways to remove toxins from it. Just be sure to let it cool down before drinking it, as boiling water can also remove some of the healthy minerals from it.
- Limit your exposure to plastic: BPA, a hormone-disrupting chemical found in some plastics, can leach into food and drink. To limit your exposure, avoid putting hot food or liquids/water in plastic containers and don’t microwave them in plastic containers.
- Educate yourself: Stay up-to-date on the latest news about toxins in our environment and what you can do to avoid them. So, if you suspect that your tap water may be contaminated, you can have it tested by a professional and by taking the above precautions, you can help keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of water contamination.
In conclusion, water toxins can have a major impact on our bodies, causing a wide variety of illnesses and health problems.
It is important to be aware of the types of toxins that may be present in our water supply and to take steps to protect ourselves from them. By working together to reduce pollution and improve water quality, we can help keep our families safe and healthy.
Don’t forget to be aware of what you’re consuming and where it’s coming from.
Drink safe water!
Got a question? Leave it below in the comments!
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