Toxins in the Water
If this is the first Toxic Thursday post you have read, check out the posts on shampoo, lotions, body wash, mercury levels in fish and food preservatives. Each Thursday, I highlight a potential source of toxins in our everyday lives, explain what health risks the potential toxins have been linked to and suggest healthier, safer alternatives. For the next few weeks, we are going to talk about toxins in our water supply.
Today we will talk about what toxins are in our waters.
What toxins may be in my water?
You can find out what toxins have been documented in your city’s water here. For example, I live in Charleston, SC and I am supplied by the city’s main water system. Contaminants in my water that have been over the health guidelines (and that’s another topic) have included total acetic acids, trihalomethanes, dibromochloromethane and lead. Even though these were found to be over the health limit, they were still under the legal limit (a little scary). Other contaminants have included: chloroform, trichloroacetic acid, nitrate and copper.
Some toxins that aren’t over the health limit in Charleston’s water but that have been detected in waters across the country:
- Insecticides and herbicides
- Petroleum hydrocarbons, including fuels
- Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs)
- Chemical compounds found in personal hygiene and cosmetic products (medicine)
- Ammonia from food processing waste
- Fertilizerscontaining nitrates and phosphates
Why are these toxins in my water?
I have broken down the toxins into categories and described why they may be in our water supplies.
- Microorganism– human and animal waste or normal environmental microbes
- Disinfectants by-products– bromite, chlorite, haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes
- Disinfectants– chlormaines, chlorine and chlorine dioxide used to control microbe growth
- Inorganic and organic contaminants-due to things such as herbicide run off and discharge from chemical factories
- Radionucleotides– due to erosion of natural products
Still to come….
In the few weeks, we will talk about the potentially harmful effects of these toxins and ways to eliminate them from our drinking supply.
What toxins are in your city’s water? Which toxins in water do you believe pose the greatest health risks?