Life cannot sustain without air and water, but both these elements are mostly polluted. The consumption of polluted water is a major reason for increasing health problems mostly in developing and third world nations. Anyone who consumes contaminated water on a regular basis is prone to diseases like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid etc. Typhoid is a very common disease that affects nearly 12 million people every year globally. A report suggests that in India alone nearly 1,000 children die every day due to diarrhoea.
Availability of fresh and clean drinking water is a basic need for humans and it is sad to see that millions are deprived of this. The freshwater resources today are threatened by over-exploitation, poor management and ecological degradation. Dumping of industrial effluent, run-off from agricultural fields and untreated waste are all contributing towards water pollution. We can blame it on rapid urbanization, industrial growth, use of synthetic organic substances etc., but the fact is that they are all adversely affecting the freshwater bodies and in turn us.
These pollutants result in a number of diseases and having a RO water purifier at home is increasingly becoming mandatory.
Water-borne diseases can be both infectious and dangerous and can spread through filth or flies or directly. Most of the intestinal diseases are infectious and the faecal waste of the infected person becomes the medium of transmission. It happens in areas that have poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis, dysentery, cholera andtyphoid are some of these water-borne diseases that can affect a large population in little time and can prove fatal too.
Commonly Found Chemicals in Water and Their Health Effects
Besides these, there are chemicals that get mixed with water. They can get leached from rocksor can be added due to human activity. The ones that are added due to human intervention are really harmful. The commonly found chemicals are:
- Pesticides: These contain carbonates and organophosphates and have the potential to cause cancer or damage to the nervous system. Many of the pesticides used today contain carcinogens that exceed the recommended levels. They also contain chlorides that are known to cause damage to reproductive and endocrinal systems in the body.
- Lead: The elderly, kids and pregnant women are highly at risk as leadaccumulates in the body and can affect the central nervous system.
- Nitrates: If water contains nitrates, it can lead to digestive tract cancers. It restricts the amount of oxygen that should reach the brain, which can prove fatal for infants who drink formula milk.
- Fluoride: If fluorides are present in excess in drinking water, it can cause yellowing of teeth. If the exposure is too much for prolonged amounts of time, it can cause many crippling diseases, including damage to the spinal cord.
- Petrochemicals: These are dangerous even in small amounts as they are mostly carcinogenic.
- Heavy metals: Heavy metals, including metalloid arsenic can cause damage to the nervous system, liver, kidney, vascular diseases, other metabolic disruptions and even skin cancer.
- Salts: The various salts present in freshwater can render it useless for both consumption and irrigation purposes.
As you can see, the health effects of drinking impure water range from some minor ailments to really fatal ones. Stagnant or untreated water also serves as a habitat for mosquitoes and other parasites and insects. This can further lead to a large number of diseases, especially in the tropical regions.