HealthWater Contamination and Its Adverse Effects on Human Health

Water Contamination and Its Adverse Effects on Human Health


Water contamination is one of the most severe issues the world is facing today. It’s estimated that 40% of people around the globe lack access to safe drinking water. On the other hand, more than 1 million people die each year from diseases associated with poor water quality. 

In addition to providing a substantial amount of our daily needs such as food, water has other vital functions in our bodies. But when contaminated, it can lead to significant health risks with harmful substances such as heavy metals or chemicals. That’s why it’s essential to understand what contaminated water means, how it impacts our health, and what we can do about it.

Need for Clean Water

Most of us take water for granted. It’s a basic necessity and an essential resource for life on Earth. Without it, there would be no humans or animals to worry about, no plants to grow crops with, and no industrial processes to power our world. Water is everywhere in our daily lives: we drink it, bathe in it, and use it to wash ourselves and our clothes. We use water for cooking food; we flush away waste using the same that keeps us alive. The importance of clean water cannot be overstated. It’s essential for everything from agriculture and industry to personal hygiene.

Causes Of Water Contamination

Natural or man-made causes can cause water contamination. Natural causes include floods, earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions, whereas man-made causes include industrial waste, agricultural waste, and sewage.

Sometimes natural and man-made, when combined, can cause water contamination. For example:

  • A flood may wash chemical pollutants into the river from a factory upstream; these chemicals will then mix with the water in the river.
  • When an earthquake destroys an underground storage tank at an oil refinery containing many different kinds of chemicals like benzene, these chemicals will leak into the ground. There it mixes with groundwater supplies used for drinking water.

These are just some examples of how water contamination can occur from either one kind of cause or two kinds together.

Effect of Water Contamination on Health

Water contamination has many adverse effects on human health. For example:

  • Diarrhea and dysentery: It occurs when the contaminated water must contain a pathogen transmitted through the fecal-oral route.
  • Skin and eye infections: These can be caused by bacteria that are present in sewage or other organic wastes. These pathogens enter the body through contaminated water or food sources like fruits and vegetables from unhygienic places.
  • Respiratory infections: Diseases such as pneumonia are respiratory infections that can also occur due to pathogenic microorganisms in sewage. Or other organic wastes may enter your respiratory tract via inhalation of contaminated air while bathing in a polluted water source. It can even get into the system while drinking it from an uncovered container. Pneumonia is most common among children under five who drink unfiltered tap water without boiling it before consumption (WHO).
  • Cancer: It is another health threat caused by water contamination because when you drink carcinogenic chemicals found in tap water like fluoride, chlorine salts, etc., these chemicals will eventually build up inside your body. They then cause harm over time until they finally cause cancerous cells to grow uncontrolled.

Certain lawsuits are also formed to help aid people who suffered from water contamination and get compensation for the loss they had. As mentioned above, Cancer is one disease that is the most dangerous of them, and it often leaves people helpless in getting justice when caused as a result of water contamination. Thus, for example, a lawsuit like Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit has proved quite successful in helping those who need it. Camp Lejeune has many people exposed to toxic substances in the water, causing Cancer and many harmful illnesses. Thus, this lawsuit was formed and has since proved its worth for people getting justice for themselves.

Sources Of Water Contamination

Many factors cause water contamination. Some of the most common sources of water contamination include:

  • Chemicals from manufacturing plants: These and other entities that utilize or dispose of hazardous compounds are included in industrial waste.
  • Agricultural runoff: These consists of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals.
  • Untreated Sewage: Those that have not been adequately treated or sewage that has leaked into groundwater supplies contribute to this source of pollution. Also, leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) used for storing petroleum products are one of the causes.
  • Home septic systems: these fail when they are not properly maintained or if they do not undergo regular maintenance inspections by a licensed professional. If you have a home septic system, ensure it is regularly inspected.

Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater is the water that is found below the surface of the Earth. This source of freshwater is essential to humans as a drinking source and for irrigation, livestock, and industrial activities.

Unfortunately, agricultural or industrial waste, mining activities, septic systems, and pesticides can contaminate groundwater.

Among other things:

  • Agricultural waste from farms may contain fertilizer chemicals or animal manure that seeps into groundwater aquifers. When this happens, you should not drink from it without purifying it first. Drinking contaminated water could lead to serious health problems like Cancer or liver disease.
  • Industrial waste from factories can include dangerous chemicals such as mercury which can also contaminate groundwater when released into rivers or oceans.

Protect Yourself

If you want to protect yourself and your family, you can do a few things. First of all, filter the water before drinking it. Also, ensure that the water is boiled for at least one minute before you use it for drinking or cooking. Avoid swimming or even eating fish from contaminated water sources is also a good idea.

Brush your teeth with bottled or filtered water instead of tap water unless an independent lab has tested the tap water as safe for consumption. Also, avoid using tap water for washing fruits and vegetables as well as for washing dishes.

It is a Serious Issue

Water contamination is a serious issue that needs worldwide attention and action. The importance of water to life cannot be overstated. The United Nations has declared water a fundamental human right, but unfortunately, many people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water.

Water also plays a vital role in our environment. It purifies many of the pollutants we release into our atmosphere and helps regulate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen back into it. Finally, clean water is essential for economic growth: without access to safe drinking supplies or functioning irrigation systems, farmers cannot grow food crops or anything else.

Awareness About Water Contamination is Important 

The rise of water contamination is an alarming fact affecting human health for a long time. The need for awareness and action to combat this problem has never been more urgent than now. The effects of contaminated water can be devastating, especially for infants, children, and the elderly, who are most at risk from drinking it. We must know what causes water contamination so we can be prepared if an emergency arises in our area.

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