Sure water is tasteless, but it contains certain substances that change its taste. Most of the times, these substances are minerals in local soils. However, sometimes contaminants present in water are the reason behind the different taste of water.
A contaminant is an unnecessary substance present in water which might be harmful to the human body. The contaminants are roughly differentiated in 3 categories:
•Physical Contaminants: Visible dirt, Suspended solids etc.
•Biological Contaminants: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungal and Algal cells etc.
•Chemical Contaminants: Heavy Metal salts, Radioactive chemicals, Etc.
The nature of contamination varies from place to place. Presence of industrialisation and sewage treatment plants increase the rate of contamination. Here are the top 5 tap water contaminants:
Also called as coliform, these bacteria are common residents of the human digestive system. Thus, human excreta contain millions of coliforms which contaminate drinking water mixing with it. Coliform contamination is a prominent issue in many developing countries due to poor sewage treatment systems.
Although coliforms are common residents of human intestines, they are opportunistic pathogens that cause outbursts of waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea. The best way to stay safe from them is water purifier for home. Any water filter with an RO system removes germs from drinking water.
These types of pollutants are often found in the water sources surrounded by industries and agricultural land. Organic compounds can be any carbon compound like hydrocarbon, insecticides and pesticides. These contaminants are harmful to the various internal system of the human body. Prolonged exposure to them may lead to malignancy.
Examples: DDT, Petrol, Urea
It is a common contaminant; whose source is outdated-corroded water pipes. Lead is one of the most dangerous pollutants especially for children as it severely affects their central nervous system and lower IQ. Drinking water loaded with lead causes damage kidneys and circulatory system of the human body.
They are compounds that generally lacks carbon in structure. Their major sources are industrial and domestic waste and mines. Inorganic compounds mainly contain salts of iron, mercury, arsenic, nitrates and chromium. Their long term exposure causes severe internal damage and leads to cancer. The infamous Minamata Disaster happened in Japan was a result of mercury poisoning that takes a death toll 900 and thousands suffered due to Minamata Diseases.
Chemicals like chlorine, chloramines and chlorine dioxide are used to kill the germs present in water. However, when they used in a quantity more than the recommended quantity, they become pollutants. Disinfectant contamination can be easily detected because of its foul and unpleasant odour. Disinfectants damage the digestive system which shows symptoms like indigestion, upset stomach and ulcers.
Water purifiers are the best to avoid the consequences caused by drinking contaminated water. Not all water purifiers can remove chemical contamination, however, a solution to this problem is electric water purifier.
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