9 Chemicals in Water Supply – Substances – Pollution – Treatment
Water is the main thing in our life. Human body consists of over 60% of water and about 75% like what we have in the earth. The water is sourced from a continuous water cycle in the earth. The Ontario’s scientists also found the oldest water that have been recorded on earth aged 2.6 billion years old. They sampled the sample of water from a mine deep of 2.4 km underground.
The scientists discovered water in the deep part of earth in the form of crystal structure of a diamond that produced near Sao Luiz river in Juina, Brazil. The inclusions that trapped during the formation contains presence of hydroxyl ions which are naturally in water. It shows that water presences were older than expected before. What we have in the oldest water, could bring us the understanding of Mars formed and the possibility of water presences there.
Water is very important element for living people. You won’t make it without water more than 4 days you can survive without food for 3 weeks. Human body needs water to keep the cells functioning, to lubricate the joints, to wash out the wastes over the body and to balance the body’s temperature. Water regulates those all main supporting functions over our body. So, keep your water in the body balanced by drinking water as the best source. Dehydration could cause fatal effect to your live because of the blood volume will be dropped drastically.
What is water? Water is molecule that composed by hydrogen and oxygen with its polar covalent. It exists in the form of solid, gas and liquid in the earth. It has negative charge from oxygen and positive charges from two hydrogen molecules. The bond of hydrogen characterizes the water into its cohesion and surface tension. The use of water is domestically for household purposes, such as preparing food, drinking, washing, watering the yard, toilet, showering and others.
Most of American families will consume over 300 gallons of water per day at home for indoor purposes. Only 30% of water is used for outdoor purposes in which could be increased during the season and location. Soon, the water crisis is going to happen in over the world. The droughts in many countries have caused problems for many governments. The climate changes also create problems on water reserve in the poles area where over 80% of water in the earth are preserved in the form of ice and water.
There are many kinds of water in the earth. The surface water is known as water flowing in the surface of the earth, such as glaciers, river, sea, lake, soil surface, swamps, atmosphere and any dams. Human lives from the surface water in the form of drinking water or other functions. Surface water is part of hydrology cycle that could be calculated locally or even globally. Over 97% of water is the form of salt water, 2.5% of fresh water with 0.01% of available fresh water as the stock.
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What do you have in your water?
During the hydrologic cycle, there are some processes that affect the water chemical in each form. You can have the ions, metals, organic matters and other dissolved material in the water. Generally, chemicals in the water consists of calcium, chlorine, magnesium, bromine, potassium, sodium, carbonate (CO32-) and sulfate (SO42-). Then if the water is processed for other products, such as drinking water, you will have other chemical inside due to some impropriate treatment or process, namely fluoride, lead, mercury, arsenic, dioxins, perchlorate, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls. Let’s see some of them to remind us about chemicals in water.
1. Calcium (Ca)
Calcium is the essential elements in living organisms that is very important for teeth, bone and shells. This is fifth most abundant element by mass in the human body and part of cellular ionic messenger with many functions in our body. The calcium is generally to be found in the form of calcium salts which is soluble in the water. It will form calcium carbonate that are insoluble deposits especially in hard water.
The calcium-bearing rocks that are exposed in the surface to chemical weathering and to cause releasing the calcium-ion into the surface water. Once the calcium-ion releases, it will remove the carbon dioxide molecule from the system. Major calcium in the earth is stored in sedimentary rocks as the forms of calcite, gypsum and dolomite.
Calcium ion in the water has low toxicity compared to with other ions. The calcium abundance also has high natural abundances in the earth. The Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine sets the Upper Intake Levels for calcium is at 2.000 mg/day to 2.500 mg/day. The similar upper level is also set by the European Food Safety Authority. However, in the form of metal, calcium is hazardous because it is easily to react with water and acids. The swallowed, calcium metal could harm stomach and be fatal to the death.
2. Magnesium (Mg)
One of the chemicals in water is magnesium. Magnesium is also the ninth most abundant elements in the earth. The same element also plays important roles in the human body. It helps you in suppressing unstable hearth rhythms, maintaining insulin concentration, regulating the blood pressure and adjusting over hundreds of enzymes in the body. Naturally, the surface water has magnesium in the form of cation, but the modernized process of bottling the water these days magnesium also become the contaminant in the form of mineral.
The recommendation of dietary allowance (RDA) will required the amount of 320 to 420 mg per day of magnesium. However, only 30% of the total consumption shall be provided by the bottled drinking water. Humans really need magnesium in a balance uses to avoid the rising blood pressure, diminishing nervous system and losing the muscle mass. Interaction of magnesium and phosphate ions to form the basic nucleic acid chemistry of all cells.
Magnesium could be found in more than 60 minerals, such as magnesite, dolomite, talc and carnallite. Most of the minerals are commercial importance. Generally, the magnesium is used in the form of magnesium oxide that generated from the calcination.
3. Bromine (Br)
Bromine in water, is found as anion in the water and also members of halogen groups. The element easily found in the form of salt in nature, altogether with sodium, potassium or other cations. This element will be evaporated in the room temperature to form the colored gas of bromine. Bromide as anion ha high solubility in the oceans as it is owing similar physical and chemical properties.
However, it is only small portion of it in the sea water compared to the chlorine composition. The concentration in sea water generally ranges from 65 mg/l to more than 80 mg/l. On the contrary, the chloride composition ranges from 18.980 mg/l to 23.000 mg/l. The differences are very wide though both of them are halogens. Naturally in the fresh water, bromide concentration is at 0.5 mg/l.
The allowed consumption of bromide ranges from 2 to 9.4 mg/day that is taken from various sources of water, food, nuts and fish. Bromide ion has a low degree of toxicity thought it might benefit the body nutrition. In other hand, the elemental bromine is toxic and easily to burn the human flesh if contacting. If the bromine gas is inhaled that will result the irritation of the respiratory tract.
Bromide also could be utilized as pharmaceutical in giving inhibitory effect on our central nervous system, as medical sedative (almost 6g/day) and antiepileptic. The increment of chloride intake will cause the excretion of bromide. The large consumption of bromide will cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, coma and paralysis. In level of 96 mg/l plasma to 320 mg/l plasma are sometimes fatal that cause by the production of bromism or bromine toxicity. The bromism relates to the seizures, delirium, nervous system, gastrointestinal tract and glandular secretions.
4. Potassium (K)
Potassium is important for our body, especially for our nerve and muscle system. It is kind of electrolyte to help our heartbeat stay regular, to transfer the nutrients into cells and to move out the waste. The kidney regulates the balance amount of potassium in our blood. The low level of potassium in the body will cause the hypokalemia which results in weakening muscles, abnormal heart rhythms and rising the blood pressure.
In the contrary, the high level of potassium in the body will harm your heart and kidney in which called as hyperkalemia. The kidney plays important roles in order to excrete the excess of potassium in the body immediately. The recommendation level for potassium consumption varies for infants, kids and adult. Normally, the recommended consumption level is at 4.7 gr/day.
Potassium occurs naturally in the various environment, including water in the form of cations. It also could be found as salt in the nature. The additional potassium could be found in drinking water because uses of potassium permanganate in water treatment process. The use of potassium salts is also recommended for conditioning desalinated water. The use of potassium permanganate results lower potassium level than use of potassium chloride. The level of potassium in the drinking water normally do not cause any problems for health.
5. Sodium (Na)
Another common cation found in the water is sodium. Every household has it at their home in the form of sodium chloride that is added to the food. Total threshold of sodium in the water depends on the temperature and associated anion within. In the form of salt, sodium is mainly highly soluble in the water. It is leached from the environment to groundwater and surface water. This is also one of major composition in the water, especially sea water. Normally the fresh water shall have less than 20 mg/l but in some countries could achieve 250 mg/l as results of many nature contributions, such as saline intrusions, mineral deposit and sewage effluents.
The sodium is easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and principal cations in the extracellular body fluids. The sodium could be found in the bone as reservoir in maintaining the blood pH. Similar to potassium, kidney is also maintaining the sodium level in the blood while regulating the level of the fluid. The extra level of sodium will excrete through urine.
The average consumption of sodium in the body ranges from 2 to 8 g sodium per day. There is no agreement to minimum level of sodium consumption. The average recommended level of daily dietary ranges from 120 to 500 mg. The sodium salt is not toxic. However, the overdose of sodium consumption will lead to nausea, vomiting, convulsions, chronic congestive heart failure and pulmonary oedema.
Instead of the good things you have in the water, some awareness shall be in the attention of our water consumption. The water is easily to be contaminated during its flow from the sources to be prepared drinking water. The information of fluoride, lead and dioxins are examples what you can have in your drinking water that possibly harm your body.
6. Fluoride (F-)
Fluoride in water, the use of fluoride began in the 1940s because it has neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor. It occurs in the earth as several kinds of minerals, especially fluorite groups which is found worldwide. Naturally, fluoride is present in the low concentration when drinking water, only about 0.01 to 0.30 ppm.
The element has toxicity level that could harm the thyroid gland and other serious health problems. The recommended daily consumption ranges from 0.46 to 5.4 mg/day. The highest level of fluoride consumption is maximum at 10 mg/day for most people. Fluoride is found in the form of salts and soluble in the water. The lethal dose will cause directly acute poisoning.
Nevertheless, the uses of high dose are also applied in the treatment of bone mineral density at the lumbar spine. Fluoride is also still using for the oral hygiene process in the water fluoridation. Some countries have already rejected the water fluoridation.
7. Lead (Pb)
The lead has high toxicity in all levels for human health. It effects the child the most. Lead is also an issue for many uses in cosmetics and foods. The exposure of lead causes the deafness, stunted growth, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, brain damage, cancer, kidneys, cardiovascular and reproductive problems. The corroded pipes become the main source of lead in the drinking water.
The most common problem is the fixtures of lead solder that lead to significant amount of lead in water, especially the hot water. Major uses of lead are for producing the metals composition, coloring agents, plastic and semiconductors or mainly in the industry uses. The lead salts are easily absorbed in the human body especially in the bloodstream.
The continuous exposure will cause the bioaccumulation of lead in the body. The average consumption of lead in the drinking water is assumed to range from 3.8 microgram per day to 10 micrograms per day. The safe drinking water act (SDWA) allows the lead content at average of 0.25% calculated across the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixture and only 0.20% for solder and flux.
8. Chlorine (Cl)
Chlorine in water, the element is part of halogen group that has been used for water purification and bleaching for both domestic and industrial purposes. It has highly disinfectant to clean the disease that causing by pathogens like viruses and bacteria. People widely use it to disinfect the water for drinking and swimming pool water, also to control the bacteria in the food industry. The chlorine in the chlorination is used in the form of hypochlorite. The first use of chlorine was 1905 in England to stop the epidemic. The interaction of chlorine and water results the hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid.
Chlorine is reactive element that bonds the water to produce poisonous hydrochloric acid. It is also relatively high toxicity because it causes the respiratory problems and cells. The carcinogenicity level for the sodium hypochlorite in drinking water is 75 to 300 mg/kg of body weight per day. The small quantity of bleach could harm the esophagus, mouth and throat, spontaneous vomiting and tissue injury in extremely caustic condition. Thus, this is kind of water pollution.
The chlorinated water itself cause problems to the health in long term used for cancer. In several cases for sensitive condition, it could trigger the asthma. Some scientists speculated that the interaction of calcium and chlorine in drinking water affects lipid levels. This can disintegrate the lipids by composing the cell wall and reacting the intracellular enzymes and proteins to make it nonfunctional.
9. Dioxins (C4H4O2)
Dioxins in water, are family name of polychlorinated dibenzo para dioxins (PSDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or certain dioxin like structure is also classified as dioxins. It is one of the most toxic chemicals known. There is no safe level of dioxin agreed because its effect to human body. The major sources of dioxin are coming from the waste-burning incinerators, papers mill which use the chlorine bleaching in the process and chlorinated chemicals.
The dioxin is a cancer hazard for people based on the EPA report. The exposure of dioxins will cause the severe reproductive and developmental problems, harm the immune system and get involve in the hormonal system. The maximum dose of dioxin must be zero. The maximum contaminant level of dioxin is at 30 ppq or 0.00000003 mg/l that is considered still protective of human health.
The dioxin is actually water-fearing or hydrophobic which implies to be accumulated in the lipid once it is in the human body. If it is polluted in the water, then the dioxins will be accumulated in the sea life, such as fish or shells than in the sea water. There are no ways to excrete the dioxins from man body. On the contrary, woman can excrete it from placentas and breast milk which are harmful for the baby.
How to Choose a Good Quality Water?
You have kinds of elements in your water as important part of your life such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. However, some additional elements are also dangerous for your body, such as lead, mercury and dioxins. This is your decisions to aware in what you have in your glass. Here are some tips to choose a good quality drinking water for your consumption with no dangerous chemicals.
- The water shall have no any kind of smells;
- It shall have no any kind of tastes;
- The color shall be crystal clear or colorless;
- No solid materials involved in the water;
- The temperature shall be fresh or about 10 to 25 oC;
- The pH of water ranges from 6.5 to 9.2;
- Other good elements, such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, must be in recommended values;
- The water shall have no any dangerous chemical elements like lead, toxins;
- No bacteria pathogen, such as Eschericia Colli.
You shall consider that not all crystal clear water could be consumed, then be advised to choose the good ones based on those following criteria. The good quality drinking water shall have those requirements that have been regulated by the authority. This quality is to guarantee us in having a healthy drinking water.
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