A Simple Molecule
It has no taste, no smell, no real color of its own (except when diffusing light). It seems like the least substantial thing next to air itself, yet this transparent liquid with no nutritional value is the most important substance on earth and vital to all known forms of life. Chemically it’s identified as H2O, but most folks just call it water.
The chemical formula of H2O represents that the molecule of water contains two hydrogen atoms paired up with a single oxygen atom. Somehow this magic mix of two of the most common gases creates a liquid while in the temperature range that exists on most of the planet Earth at our particular distance from the sun. This wacky concoction even breaks the rules and expands when it freezes, unlike almost every other substance.
It didn’t take mankind long to figure out that water wasn’t just good for drinking—it could play a part in planned agriculture and other economic pursuits. Most of the freshwater used by people today is used in farming, while cooking, cleaning and even heating and cooling largely depend on it. People travel on water, fish in water, recreate on water and sometimes just sit back to enjoy looking at large bodies of water.
Health Risks of Polluted Water
While water itself is critical to life, the tiny things that can get it are often just the opposite. Microbes and other pollutants and pathogens often cause sickness and even death, especially in third-world nations where means for treating water aren’t readily available. No country is completely free from polluted water. Major outbreaks of disease in U.S. and Canadian cities in recent decades have been traced to contaminants such as E. coli and parasites.
The most common results from drinking tainted water are various gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, aches or cramping of the stomach or intestines and diarrhea. Ironically, ingestion of polluted water can lead to severe dehydration as the body seeks to rid itself of the contaminants.
Diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and polio can be contracted through bad water, and long-term health problems such as kidney and liver damage can also result. Water that contains radioactive elements like radium or radon gas can cause cancer and other diseases.
The very young, the very old, and those with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to illness and death from ingesting unclean water.
Supplying Clean Water
Nearly a billion people across the world don’t have access to clean water. Fortunately, in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) requires communities to regularly test public water systems for coliform bacteria to ensure that they are supplying potable water, meaning water that is safe for drinking.
While it is difficult to test for every pathogenic organism that might be present in water, testing for coliforms—the most well-known of which is E. coli—gives a good indication if other contaminants might be present. Coliforms come from the same sources as pathogens, are usually present in larger numbers and are fairly easy to identify. This makes them a good indicator to determine if other pathogenic bacteria are present.
Water can become contaminated through chemical as well as microbial means, so along with bacteria and viruses, things like lead, nitrates, pesticides, petrochemicals and even pharmaceuticals can pollute drinking water. While boiling kills most types of biological contamination, the process will evaporate water and ironically increase concentrations of chemical contaminants.
One indicator that water might be compromised is if it looks cloudy or has a bad smell or an odd taste. Many contaminants, however, are just as odorless and tasteless as pure water itself. It’s important to test your drinking water to gauge the levels of impurities contained in it, and then install a home filtration system that can remove contaminants, sediments and hard water, leading to a healthier body, inside and out.
NuWater Can Help
Northern Utah company NuWater Technologies offers a professional testing service for homeowners and businesses alike that will show in detail what unhealthy substances and excess minerals could be trickling out of your tap.
In addition, NuWater will give you a competitive quote on a high-quality water filtration, heating and softening system tailored to your specific floor plan and needs, regardless of whether your water comes from the city or your own well.
Give NuWater a call today and start on the path to a healthier tomorrow.