According to UNESCO, 90 percent of contaminated sewage water in developing countries is released directly into water bodies without being treated. Taking other countries into consideration as well, it’s been found that more than 2 million tons of untreated sewage water and effluents are released into the world’s water bodies.
Water contamination isn’t just a problem for the developing and least developed countries of the world. The US, too, is dealing with it. CNN recently reported that almost 50 percent of the country’s tap water is contaminated with toxic chemicals known as ‘forever chemicals.’ Such contaminated water, when used, can lead to dire consequences, ones that can directly affect your health.
In this article, we will explore some of the most common ways using contaminated water can affect your health.
Table of Contents
Contaminated water is a breeding ground for various waterborne diseases, such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis A. These diseases are caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites present in contaminated water.
Consuming or coming into contact with such water can lead to severe gastrointestinal issues, fever, and dehydration. In areas with limited access to clean water, waterborne diseases can spread rapidly, leading to epidemics and significant health challenges for the affected communities.
Compromise Immune System
Consistently using contaminated water can weaken the immune system. A compromised immune system can, in turn, lead to frequent illnesses, chronic fatigue, and reduced quality of life, hindering productivity and daily activities. In a worst-case scenario, the contaminated water can also lead to cancer, as was seen in the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident.
According to TorHoerman Law, water contamination in the Camp Lejeune area between 1953 and 1987 led to severe health problems among residents. Many of them also ended up developing cancer over the years because of exposure to contaminated water. Right now, the Camp Lejeune victims are seeking justice and compensation for their sufferings and losses.
The Camp Lejeune settlement amounts are likely to be between $10,000 and $500,000 per claim. The settlement amounts will vary depending on the gravity of the claim. However, based on the amounts being discussed for these claims, it’s easy to see just how devastating the situation was in Camp Lejeune during the water contamination incident. It also shows how risky things can get when people are exposed to contaminated water.
Develop Skin Problems
Using contaminated water for bathing and washing can have detrimental effects on the skin. The pollutants and chemicals in the water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, and rashes.
Additionally, some contaminants may clog pores and cause acne breakouts. Prolonged exposure to contaminated water can exacerbate skin conditions and negatively impact self-esteem and confidence.
Develop Respiratory Issues
Contaminated water is not only harmful when ingested but can also pose a risk when water vapor containing pollutants is inhaled. When showering or using contaminated water for household purposes, harmful chemicals and toxins can evaporate, leading to respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, and other respiratory tract infections.
Long-term exposure to contaminated water vapor can cause chronic respiratory issues that can significantly impact one’s lifestyle and overall well-being.
Developmental and Growth Challenges
For children and infants, exposure to contaminated water can have severe developmental consequences. Consuming water contaminated with heavy metals like lead or mercury can hinder physical and cognitive development.
Besides, certain waterborne diseases can lead to malnutrition, stunted growth, and impaired learning abilities. The lack of access to clean water in many regions around the world has far-reaching effects on the future potential and well-being of the younger generation.
Reproductive Health Complications
Contaminated water can also impact reproductive health. Exposure to waterborne pollutants and chemicals has been linked to fertility issues in both men and women. For example, certain industrial chemicals and pesticides found in contaminated water sources may disrupt hormonal balances, leading to reproductive disorders, miscarriages, and birth defects. Ensuring access to clean water is vital for safeguarding the health and future of generations to come.
Earlier this year, BBC reported that the US is all set to do what it can and limit the PFAS ‘forever chemicals in drinking water. It’s a welcome initiative and a much-needed one for the betterment of the general public. However, it’s only a small step in ensuring that the water we consume and use is clean.
To prevent water contamination entirely, authorities must strike at the root of the problem. That would mean preventing the water from getting contaminated in the first place by keeping industries and manufacturing plants in check and making sure that contaminated water is never released into our natural water bodies. Only then can we successfully put an end to the water contamination problem.