gallery Water Contaminants and Health Effects Chart

DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS and POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Water contaminants affect City Water as well as Well Water. If  you missed the prior post regarding drinking water contamination, please click here.

If you’re interested in making your tap water safe for drinking and cooking consider installing a water filter either under your kitchen sink or for the whole home. My organic home consulting business, Adore Your Home specializes in this in Chicago.  If interested, see my Water Filtration Installation post.

The below charts are courtesy of the EPA; www.epa.gov/safewater/hfacts.html#Volatile

Disinfection Byproducts

Contaminant MCLG1
(mg/L)
2
MCL or TT1
(mg/L)
2
Potent ial Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
Bromate Zero 0.010 Increased risk of cancer Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
Chlorite 0.8 1.0 Anemia; infants & young children: nervous system effects Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
Haloacetic acids (HAA5) n/a6 0.060 Increased risk of cancer Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) None7
———-
n/a6
0.10
———-0.080
Liver, kidney or central nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer Byproduct of drinking water disinfection

 

Disinfectants

Contaminant MRDLG1
(mg/L)
2
MRDL1
(mg/L)
2
Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
Chloramines (as Cl2) MRDLG=41 MRDL=4.01 Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort, anemia, DNA damage Water additive used to control microbes
Chlorine (as Cl2) MRDLG=41 MRDL=4.01 Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort Water additive used to control microbes
Chlorine dioxide (as ClO2) MRDLG=0.81 MRDL=0.81 Anemia; infants & young children: nervous system effects Water additive used to control microbes

 

Inorganic Chemicals

Contaminant MCLG1
(mg/L)
2
MCL or TT1
(mg/L)
2
Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
Antimony 0.006 0.006 Increase in blood cholesterol; decrease in blood sugar Discharge from petroleum refineries; fire retardants; ceramics; electronics; solder
Arsenic 07 0.010
as of 01/23/06
Skin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may have increased risk of getting cancer Erosion of natural deposits; runoff from orchards, runoff from glass & electronics production wastes
Asbestos
(fiber >10 micrometers)
7 million fibers 7 MFL Increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps Decay of asbestos cement in water mains; erosion of natural deposits
Barium 2 2 Increase in blood pressure Discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; erosion of natural deposits
Beryllium 0.004 0.004 Intestinal lesions Discharge from metal refineries and coal-burning factories; discharge from electrical, aerospace, and defense industries
Cadmium 0.005 0.005 Kidney damage Corrosion of galvanized pipes; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from metal refineries; runoff from waste batteries and paints
Chromium (total) 0.1 0.1 Allergic dermatitis Discharge from steel and pulp mills; erosion of natural deposits
Copper 1.3 TT8;
Action Level=1.3
Short term exposure: Gastrointestinal distress

Long term exposure: Liver or kidney damage

People with Wilson’s Disease should consult their personal doctor if the amount of copper in their water exceeds the action level

Corrosion of household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits
Cyanide (as free cyanide) 0.2 0.2 Nerve damage or thyroid problems Discharge from steel/metal factories; discharge from plastic and fertilizer factories
Fluoride 4.0 4.0 Bone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); Children may get mottled teeth Water additive which promotes strong teeth; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories
Lead Zero TT8;
Action Level=0.015
Infants and children: Delays in physical or mental development; deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults: Kidney problems; high blood pressure Corrosion of household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits
Mercury (inorganic) 0.002 0.002 Kidney damage Erosion of natural deposits; discharge from refineries and factories; runoff from landfills and croplands
Nitrate (measured as Nitrogen) 10 10 Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome. Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits
Nitrite (measured as Nitrogen) 1 1 Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrite in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome. Runoff from fertilizer use; leaching from septic tanks, sewage; erosion of natural deposits
Selenium 0.05 0.05 Hair or fingernail loss; numbness in fingers or toes; circulatory problems Discharge from petroleum refineries; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from mines
Thallium 0.0005 0.002 Hair loss; changes in blood; kidney, intestine, or liver problems Leaching from ore-processing sites; discharge from electronics, glass, and drug factories

Volatile Organic Chemicals (including Pesticides)

Contaminant MCLG1
(mg/L)
2
MCL or TT1
(mg/L)
2
Potential Health Effects from Ingestion of Water Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water
Acrylamide Zero TT9 Nervous system or blood problems; increased risk of cancer Added to water during sewage/wastewater treatment
Alachlor Zero 0.002 Eye, liver, kidney or spleen problems; anemia; increased risk of cancer Runoff from herbicide used on row crops
Atrazine 0.003 0.003 Cardiovascular system or reproductive problems Runoff from herbicide used on row crops

 

 

Benzene Zero 0.005 Anemia; decrease in blood platelets; increased risk of cancer Discharge from factories; leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills
Benzo(a)pyrene (PAHs) Zero 0.0002 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Leaching from linings of water storage tanks and distribution lines
Carbofuran 0.04 0.04 Problems with blood, nervous system, or reproductive system Leaching of soil fumigant used on rice and alfalfa
Carbon
tetrachloride
Zero 0.005 Liver problems; increased risk of cancer Discharge from chemical plants and other industrial activities
Chlordane Zero 0.002 Liver or nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer Residue of banned termiticide
Chlorobenzene 0.1 0.1 Liver or kidney problems Discharge from chemical and agricultural chemical factories
2,4-D 0.07 0.07 Kidney, liver, or adrenal gland problems Runoff from herbicide used on row crops
Dalapon 0.2 0.2 Minor kidney changes Runoff from herbicide used on rights of way
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) Zero 0.0002 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Runoff/leaching from soil fumigant used on soybeans, cotton, pineapples, and orchards
o-Dichlorobenzene 0.6 0.6 Liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems Discharge from industrial chemical factories
p-Dichlorobenzene 0.075 0.075 Anemia; liver, kidney or spleen damage; changes in blood Discharge from industrial chemical factories
1,2-Dichloroethane Zero 0.005 Increased risk of cancer Discharge from industrial chemical factories
1,1-Dichloroethylene 0.007 0.007 Liver problems Discharge from industrial chemical factories
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene 0.07 0.07 Liver problems Discharge from industrial chemical factories
trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene 0.1 0.1 Liver problems Discharge from industrial chemical factories
Dichloromethane Zero 0.005 Liver problems; increased risk of cancer Discharge from drug and chemical factories
1,2-Dichloropropane Zero 0.005 Increased risk of cancer Discharge from industrial chemical factories
Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate 0.4 0.4 Weight loss, liver problems, or possible reproductive difficulties. Discharge from chemical factories
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate Zero 0.006 Reproductive difficulties; liver problems; increased risk of cancer Discharge from rubber and chemical factories
Dinoseb 0.007 0.007 Reproductive difficulties Runoff from herbicide used on soybeans and vegetables
Dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) Zero 0.00000003 Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Emissions from waste incineration and combustion; discharge from chemical factories
Diquat 0.02 0.02 Cataracts Runoff from herbicide use
Endothall 0.1 0.1 Stomach and intestinal problems Runoff from herbicide use
Endrin 0.002 0.002 Liver problems Residue of banned insecticide
Epichlorohydrin Zero TT9 Increased cancer risk, and over a long period of time, stomach problems Discharge from chemical factories; impure water treatment chemicals
Ethylbenzene 0.7 0.7 Liver or kidneys problems Discharge from petroleum refineries
Ethylene dibromide Zero 0.00005 Problems with liver, stomach, reproductive system, or kidneys; increased risk of cancer Discharge from petroleum refineries
Glyphosate 0.7 0.7 Kidney problems; reproductive difficulties Runoff from herbicide use
Heptachlor Zero 0.0004 Liver damage; increased risk of cancer Residue of banned termiticide
Heptachlor epoxide Zero 0.0002 Liver damage; increased risk of cancer Breakdown of heptachlor
Hexachlorobenzene Zero 0.001 Liver or kidney problems; reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer Discharge from metal refineries and agricultural chemical factories
Hexachlorocyclopentadiene 0.05 0.05 Kidney or stomach problems Discharge from chemical factories
Lindane 0.0002 0.0002 Liver or kidney problems Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on cattle, lumber, gardens
Methoxychlor 0.04 0.04 Reproductive difficulties Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on fruits, vegetables, alfalfa, livestock
Oxamyl (Vydate) 0.2 0.2 Slight nervous system effects Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on apples, potatoes, and tomatoes
 

Polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs)

 

Zero

 

0.0005

 

Skin changes; thymus gland problems; immune deficiencies; reproductive or nervous system difficulties; cancer risk

 

Runoff from landfills; discharge of waste chemicals

Pentachlorophenol Zero 0.001 Liver or kidney problems; increased cancer risk Discharge from wood preserving factories
Picloram 0.5 0.5 Liver problems Herbicide runoff
Simazine 0.004 0.004 Problems with blood Herbicide runoff
Styrene 0.1 0.1 Liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems Discharge from rubber and plastic factories; leaching from landfills
Tetrachloroethylene Zero 0.005 Liver problems; increased risk of cancer Discharge from factories and dry cleaners
Toluene 1 1 Nervous system, kidney, or liver problems Discharge from petroleum factories
Toxaphene Zero 0.003 Kidney, liver, or thyroid problems; increased risk of cancer Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on cotton and cattle
2,4,5-TP (Silvex) 0.05 0.05 Liver problems Residue of banned herbicide
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 0.07 0.07 Changes in adrenal glands Discharge from textile finishing factories
1,1,1-Trichloroethane 0.20 0.2 Liver, nervous system, or circulatory problems Discharge from metal degreasing sites and other factories
1,1,2-Trichloroethane 0.003 0.005 Liver, kidney, or immune system problems Discharge from industrial chemical factories
Trichloroethylene Zero 0.005 Liver problems; increased risk of cancer Discharge from metal degreasing sites and other factories
Vinyl chloride Zero 0.002 Increased risk of cancer Leaching from PVC pipes; discharge from plastic factories
Xylenes (total) 10 10 Nervous system damage Discharge from petroleum factories; discharge from chemical factories

 

SOLUTIONS: 

1. Consider having a filtration system installed in your home and work place. Properly done, this makes tap water safe for drinking and cooking while making the need for bottled water obsolete.  Adore Your home, my organic home consulting business specializes in this in Chicago. See my Water Filter Installation post. 

2. Avoid using pesticides and fertilizers in your home or on your lawn, these eventually get in our drinking water sources. Also, try to use natural home cleaning solutions rather than chemical and chlorine varieties. Contact me at Adore Your Home for organic home services and ideas.

3. See Cleaning up Our Tap Water: a Proposal for Chicago’s Mayor
Lake Michigan, chicago tap water, wecologist, wecology, wecology handbook, hippocrateas, joanna kappele, tap water
Looking south over Lake Michigan

 

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