Pregnancy and Contaminated Water: Protect Your Health with a Filter
Lack of fresh water is a major problem in some countries; others are faced with contaminated freshwater. Water pollution has become a major global challenge, and without major unilateral efforts among various governments, these concerns will spread. Farming, industrial activity, energy generation, and other efforts continue to produce harmful pollutants in the oceans as well as our drinking water sources. This situation puts human health at risk, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to contaminated water.
Contaminated Water and Its Causes
Contaminated water generally refers to water polluted with dangerous compounds. Some of the most common water contaminants include harmful bacteria and chemicals (nitrates, bleach, salts). Water is considered unsafe to drink when a water test shows the presence of chemicals and/or disease-causing organisms.
The presence of E. coli bacteria in water indicates that animal feces or human sewage have entered the water supply. Farming activities, like fertilizing, can contaminate well water with nitrates. When the nitrate level exceeds 10 milligrams per litre of water, it can cause ‘blue baby syndrome,” a condition that affects an infant’s blood by interfering with the ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Signs of Contaminated Drinking Water
The adverse effects of drinking contaminated water may or may not present themselves immediately. Although some of us might think cloudy water coming from the tap is contaminated, this is a common occurrence and not a sign of contamination. Cloudy water is usually caused by trapped tiny air bubbles in the water supply.
One of the simplest ways to test water is to fill a glass with water and let it sit for a few minutes. If the water clears from top to bottom, the cloudiness of the water is simply caused by air bubbles. If the liquid fails to clear, it indicates the presence of dirt, clay, sand, or methane gas. While these contaminants are not typically life-threatening when ingested, high quantity of methane gas can cause asphyxiation.
Here are signs that water is unsafe to drink:
- Bleach/Chlorine Scent - Although chlorine is often used in municipal water plant treatment systems to kill bacteria, persistent exposure to chlorine can cause intestinal distress, heart disease, and cancer. Consider using a filtration system to remove chlorine from your water supply.
- Sulfur Scent - Since sulfur is naturally present in the ground, the underground water supply may have small traces of it. Low levels of sulfur in drinking water do not pose any health threat when consumed. However, drinking water with high levels of sulfur can be harmful to health. Fortunately, it is easy to detect the presence of sulfur in drinking water. Hydrogen sulfide gas (the most fatal component of sulfur) has a strong, persistent, and unpleasant scent, similar to rotten eggs.
- Metallic Taste - Clean drinking water does not come with any taste. If you detect a metallic taste, copper may be present. Have your tap water tested right away. Using certain filtration systems can effectively eliminate copper from your water.
- Gas Odour - Smelling oil or petroleum in your drinking water is rare. This indicates that the water is contaminated with gasoline additives, fuel, or petroleum, which are all dangerous to your health.
- Lead - This is a harmful element that can contaminate your water supply. The major concern with lead-contaminated water (aside from health affects) is that it does not have any odour, taste, or visible residue.
The Dangers of Contaminated Water for Pregnant Women
While drinking contaminated water can cause a number of health problems, it has more serious health implications for pregnant women. Researchers at Princeton University found that consumption of unsafe water can endanger an unborn baby’s health. Pregnant women who consume contaminated water are more likely to give birth to premature or low birth weight babies.
Janet Currie (director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing at the Wilson School, Princeton) says that developing fetuses care are highly susceptible to different types of pollution, including chemical and bacteria-contaminated water. Exposure to unsafe drinking water can lead to various health problems that result in lifelong cognitive struggles.
The study compared birth records to water systems where pregnant women resided. Single mothers with less education and fewer opportunities to change their residence are more likely to expose their infants to in utero contamination. According to the study, older mothers were more likely to move from an area with contaminated water (or stay and drink bottled water).
The presence of nitrates, lead, pesticides (and byproducts of water disinfectant supplies) can be harmful to unborn babies. Retardation of growth, stunted mental development and birth defects are all concerns.
Chlorine, when added during the drinking water treatment process, reacts with organic matter (like decaying leaves). This reaction can form a group of chemicals called “disinfection by-product.” Trihalomethane (THM) is among l the formed byproducts (as well as chloroform). The level of THM is typically low in wells and large lakes and high in rivers and other surface waters.
Pregnant women who drink tap water with high levels of THM have an increased risk of miscarriage. Additionally, The Daily Mail also reported a study involving about 400,000 babies and how birth defects are associated with disinfection by-products.
To protect the health of their population, especially pregnant women, the federal and provincial governments in Canada share responsibility in providing drinking water that meets the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Health Canada published and developed these guidelines in collaboration with the provincial and territorial governments to ensure safe drinking water.
How to Minimize Your Risk
Although many countries’ water supply undergoes rigorous treatment to kill bacteria and other disease-causing organisms, the residual chemicals used can still harm health. The best way to remove bacteria and chemicals from tap water is by using a water filtration system. People with compromised immune systems, young children, and pregnant women can all benefit from drinking water with potential contaminants removed. If iron and lead testing of your tap water shows high levels of those substances, families who are planning a family (or have babies in the house) should consider using filtration.
The Quantum 4000 water filter has absolute ½ microns (1/50,000 inch) that effectively get rid of 99.9 percent of dirt, lead, chlorine, asbestos fibres, harmful cysts (like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium), and other contaminants that cause offensive taste and odour.
It deals with most impurities and comes with the following specifications:
- Capacity: 2000 gallons (5,678 L)
- Flow Rate: 0.5 gallons per minute
- NSF/ANSI Standard 42 & 53 certifications
- Cartridge length: 14½"
Protect yourself and those who drink and cook with the water in your home or office. Use a quality water filtration system for clean and safe drinking water. Several providers can ship and easy-to-install system to you today.
Efilters.ca is a trusted provider of water filtration systems for both residential and commercial needs. With over 25 years in the water filtration industry, we are proud to help provide clean and safe drinking water to our clients. Call us toll-free at 1-866-283-9919 for high-quality water filters.