Water Contaminants

Inorganic Chemical Contaminants

Contaminants

Health Effects

Sources

Arsenic
  • skin and nervous system toxicity effects
  • geological, pesticide residues, industrial waste and smelter operation

Asbestos
  • benign tumors
  • natural mineral deposits; also in Asbestos/Cement pipe

Barium
  • circulatory system
  • natural mineral deposits; oil/gas drilling; paint and other industrial uses

Cadmium
  • kidney
  • natural mineral deposits; metal finishing; corrosion of plumbing

Chromium
  • liver/kidney, skin and digestive system
  • natural mineral deposits; metal finishing, textile, tanning and leather industries

Copper
  • stomach and intestinal distress; Wilson's disease
  • corrosion of interior household and building pipes

Fluoride
  • skeletal damage
  • geological; additive to water; toothpaste; foods processed with fluorinated water

Lead
  • central and peripheral nervous system damage; kidney; highly toxic to infants and pregnant women
  • corrosion of lead solder and brass faucets and fixtures; lead pipes

Mercury
  • kidney, nervous system
  • industrial/chemical manufacturing; fungicide, natural mineral deposits

Nitrate*
  • methemoglobinemia "blue baby syndrome": more info on main page
  • fertilizers, feedlots, sewage; naturally in soil, mineral deposits

Nitrite*
  • methemoglobinemia "blue baby syndrome"
  • unstable, rapidly converted to nitrate; prohibited in working metal fluids

Selenium
  • nervous system
  • natural mineral deposits; by-product of copper mining/smelting

Microbiological and Other Contaminants

Contaminants

Health Effects

Sources

Giardia lambia
  • stomach cramps, intestinal distress
  • human and animal feces

Total Coliforms
  • can be indicators of organisms that can cause gastroenteric infections, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera. Also, coliforms interfere with disinfection.
  • human and animal feces

Turbidity
  • Interferes with disinfection
  • erosion, runoff, discharges

Viruses
  • Gastroenteritis (intestinal distress)
  • human and animal feces

Sodium
  • Possible increase in blood pressure in susceptible individuals.
  • geological, road salting

Compiled by Elena Tilli, Western Maryland College

 

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