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Welcome to APEC Water!

We are America's leading supplier of high quality drinking water systems and information source.
 
 
 
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Water Contaminants
  Water and Health   Water Quality   Water Can Heal   Contaminants Facts   Air and Health
 
 


Most Common Water Contaminants
Index Page

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Drinking water, including bottled and tap water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. In the United States, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) sets strict standards for approximately 90 different types of contaminants that can be found in drinking water. On this page, we have compiled a list of the most common water pollutants and categorized them below to provide you with detailed information on specific contaminants and their effects on your health.

 

Microbes ~ Radionuclides ~ Inorganics ~ Volatile Organics ~ Disinfectants ~ Disinfection Byproducts ~ MTBE


Water Pollutants

Inorganic Contaminants

Antimony
Asbestos
Barium
Beryllium
Cadmium
Chromium
Copper
Cyanide
Lead
Mercury
Nitrate/Nitrite
Selenium
Thallium

Arsenic is a highly toxic heavy metal. Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of EPA's standard over many years could experience a wide range of serious problems. Health concerns include damage to the bladder, lungs, heart, kidney and liver. Arsenic can also harm the central & peripheral nervous system and circulatory system. Arsenic exposure has been linked to several types of cancers.

Fluoride. Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Each community makes its own decision about whether or not to add fluoride. EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for fluoride of 4 mg/L (some people who drink water containing fluoride in excess of this level over many years could get bone disease, including pain and tenderness of the bones). EPA has also set a secondary fluoride standard of 2 mg/L to protect against dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis, in its moderate or severe forms, may result in a brown staining and/or pitting of the permanent teeth. This problem occurs only in developing teeth, before they erupt from the gums. Children under nine should not drink water that has more than 2 mg/L of fluoride.

Lead typically leaches into water from plumbing in older buildings. Lead pipes and plumbing fittings have been banned since August 1998. Children and pregnant women are most susceptible to lead health risks. For advice on avoiding lead, see the how to remove lead in your drinking water fact sheet prepared by EPA.


Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOCs)

Benzene
Carbon Tetrachloride
Chlorobenzene 
o-Dichlorobenzene**
p-Dichlorobenzene 
1,1-Dichloroethylene
cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene
trans-1,2-Dicholoroethylene

Dichloromethane
1,2-Dichloroethane
1,2-Dichloropropane
Ethylbenzene
Styrene
Tetrachloroethylene
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene
1,1,1,-Trichloroethane 
1,1,2-Trichloroethane
Trichloroethylene 
Toluene
Vinyl Chloride
Xylenes 
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Read Next: Health Risks of Heavy Metals

 

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