Below is a list of water contaminants and their possible health effects. Click on contaminant link names for more detailed information about a specific contaminant. There is also a list of contaminants removed by reverse osmosis.
|Arsenic||Malignant tumors of skin and lungs, cramps, spasms, effects to nervous system|
|Asbestos||Malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis|
|Bacteria||Dependant on type of bacteria|
|Barium||Prolonged stimulant action on muscles, nerve block|
|Benzene||Associated with cancer, leukemia, anemia|
|Cadmium||Bronchitis, anemia, gastrointestinal upsets, cancer in rats|
|Carbon tetrachloride||Central nervous system depression, gastrointestinal effects, liver and kidney damage, coma, death|
|Chlordane||Carcinogen, liver and kidney damage|
|Chlorobenzene||Irritation to respiratory system, central nervous system depression|
|Chloramines||No observed health effects from drinking water with chloramine levels of less than 50 mg/L in drinking water|
|Chlorine||Irritation to respiratory system, eyes and skin, corrosive tissue damage of the gastrointestinal tract|
|Chloroform||Possible liver, kidney and heart effects; carcinogenic in at least one animal species|
|Chromium||Kidney damage, cancer|
|Copper||Gastrointestinal tract irritant, possible infant fatality, Wilson’s disease|
|Cryptosporidiosis||Diarrhea, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever resulting in weight loss, and dehydration|
|1,1-Dichloroethane||Central nervous system depression, liver damage, suggested animal carcinogen|
|1,2-Dichloroethane||Nausea, mental confusion, liver and kidney damage|
|Fluoride||Skeletal damage when present in high levels|
|Giardia||Diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea resulting in weight loss, and dehydration|
|Heptachlor||Possible tumor induction, carcinogenic in test animals|
|Hetertrophic Bacteria||No health risks but is an indicator for ideal conditions bacteria growth|
|Lead||Damage to nervous system, kidneys, reproductive system; cancer in rats|
|Lindane||Chronic liver damage, anemia, leukemia|
|Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)||Limited Data, Potential Human Carcinogen at High Doses.|
|Mercury||Kidney impairment, possible death|
|Nickel||Signs of hyperglycemia and gastrointestinal and nervous disorders|
|Nitrite||Toxicity, methemoglobinemia (‘blue baby syndrome’ in infants)|
|Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS, PFOS, PFOA)||Limited Data, developmental effects during pregnancy, damage to liver, thyroid or immune system|
|Pentachlorophenol (PCP)||Loss of appetite, respiratory difficulties, anesthesia, coma, death|
|Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs)||Damage to skin and liver; nausea, loss of weight, jaundice, coma, death|
|Selenium||Carcinogen; irritation to mucous membranes, dermatitis|
|Styrene||Carcinogen; irritation to mucous membranes, dermatitis|
|Tetrachloroethylene||Central nervous system effects; confirmed animal carcinogen, anesthesia, death|
|Toluene||Narcosis, irritation to eyes and respiratory system|
|Toxaphene||Possible liver damage|
|1,1,1-Trichloroethane||Narcosis, depression of central nervous system, unconsciousness, death|
|1,1,2-Trichloroethane||Possible liver and kidney effects, possible carcinogen in animals|
|Trichloroethylene||Central nervous system depression, loss of coordination, unconsciousness; strong irritant and carcinogen|
|Trihalomethanes (THMs)||Effects to nervous system and muscles, loss of consciousness|
|Vinyl chloride||Central nervous system depression, dulling of visual and auditory responses, possible death|
|Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)||Effects range from respiratory, allergic, or immune. They include: Nausea, headaches, loss of coordination, irritation to eyes, nose and throat, and damage to kidneys, liver, or central nervous system, some VOCs are also carcinogenic and can cause cancer in humans and animals|
|Xylene||Mucous membrane irritant, lung congestion, impairment of kidney functions|
|Zinc||Muscular stiffness and pain, loss of appetite, nausea|
Hydraulic fracturing (sometimes referred to as fracking or hydrofracking) is a relatively new form of natural gas extraction.
The fluids used in the fracking process flow back to the surface, often entering the water table or polluting the drilling area, and sometimes improper disposal of waste water from the wells.
As our technology advances, so do new forms of pollution and contaminants that effect our environment and our health.
Read more about drinking water contaminants and their health effects.
Chlorine has long been recognized as an oxidative agent, meaning that it not only kills the germs in the water supply; it will damage any living tissue with which it comes in contact. And your skin, like the rest of your organs, is living tissue. But that’s not the only problem.
Since the discovery of its health benefits in the mid-1940’s, fluoride is often added to the public water supplies of industrialized countries in order to reduce the populations tooth decay, which is especially effective in low income communities, where good dental hygiene may be too costly.
Chromium-6 was found in the drinking water supply of the southern California town of Hinkley and brought to national attention by Erin Brockovich.
The EPA is reviewing effects of Chromium-6 after a recent report brought to light dangerous levels in a number of major US cities.
Giardia is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonizes and reproduces in the small intestines of humans and other animals, which can cause giardiasis.
Symptoms of Giardiasis usually show after 3 to 4 days, and include gastrointestinal and constitutional problems.
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium parvum.
Since a outbreak in 1993 in Wisconson, new attention has been focused on determining and reducing the risk for Cryptosporidiosis from community and municipal water supplies.
What is ultraviolet light? Do I need to filter the water before the UV process? How exactly can light kill organisms?
Visit our ‘How Ultraviolet Purification Works‘ guide to find out how it works.
The typical water softener is a mechanical appliance that’s plumbed into your home’s water supply system. All water softeners use the same operating principle: They trade the minerals for something else, in most cases sodium. The process is called ion exchange. More…
Step by step instructions on installing replacement cartridges and sanitizing filter housings. It is highly recommended that you clean and sanitize your system once a year.
Step by step instructions on making a connection with Twist and Lock fittings. Twist-Lock fittings allow you to connect and disconnect tubing without the need of tools.
Step by step instructions on making a connection with SharkBite Push-To-Connect fittings. SharkBite fittings allow you to connect and disconnect pipes without the need of using PVC glue or welding copper.
A micron is a unit of measurement for how small of particles a filter will catch. The lower the micron size, the tinier the ‘holes’ in the filter cartridge are that allows water to pass through, ranging from 0.1 absolute to 150 microns.
Use our Pore Size Efficiency Guide to find out what micron size to use.
Pleated sediment cartridges remove dirt, rust and sediment from water while providing an increased surface area and longer life. Pleated filters down to 5 microns are washable and reusable.
Use our Pleated Sediment Cartridge Comparison to find the filter cartridge you need.
When brewing beer with tap or bottled water, chlorine and chloramine present in the water can combine with malt phenols in the wort to create a compound called chlorophenol, which can give the beer a medicinal taste.
View our Filtered Water for Home Beer Brewing guide.
Bottled water requires a lot of resources to manufacture and ship, and costs a lot more than reverse osmosis water.
Use our Bottled Water Cost Calculator to find out how much of an impact you have on the environment.