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The health risks of drinking unpotable water

Even though you might believe that tap water is not actually dangerous for your health, the truth is you can contact diseases from it or it can affect your internal organs without showing any symptoms at first. If you consume tap water for a long period, the symptoms will start to show up and you’ll have to undergo detailed medical investigations. Water can be consumed in many forms, but the most popular type is tap water. People choose to drink tap water (especially in under-developed countries) because they lack the budget to buy bottled water or to install a sink water purifier, but they don’t know the risks they expose themselves to. A recent study shows that 80% of Nigerians lack potable water, and 90% of Nigerian household drinking water is contaminated with E coli bacteria.

This article is meant to raise awareness on the health risks of drinking safe drinking water for a long time. From the diseases that it can cause to ways to prevent anything from happening, the article includes details that will help you do what’s best for your health.

Chlorine and its effects on the human body

As you may know from your chemistry classes, chlorine is a chemical element present in the periodic table. It is used with a multitude of applications in different industries. It is widely known as a bleaching agent, as a cleaning agent in metallurgy and so on. Chlorine can be found in various forms, some of them being harmful to human beings and for the environment. Chlorine in some of these forms is responsible for the ozone layer destruction, so implicitly for the consequences that people are struggling with at the moment.

Chlorine is present in unfiltered tap water, in the water you shower with, in the water in pools and so on. The effects of chlorine exposure are immediate and they can last for a long time, depending on the duration of the exposure and the amount of chlorine present in the respective water. The effects can be produced through chlorine inhalation, ingestion and skin contact. Exposing yourself to chlorine by inhalation happens during showering but this is more unlikely compared to ingestion.

Chlorine ingestion happens due to unfiltered tap water that people consume without knowing or noticing the effects of this substance on their health. Chlorine ingestion can lead to tissue damage inside the stomach, gastrointestinal tract diseases and many more other consequences that are difficult to deal with. Also, long exposure to chlorine can cause irreparable damage to a person’s skin and eyes. Chlorine is used for water disinfection, but if it is not used in the right quantities, it can have the aforementioned effects. Long exposure to chlorine can lead to a sudden development of a disease, without any warning signs beforehand.

Is unpotable water responsible for cancer?

Lack of potable water can lead to heart problems, cancer and neurological diseases. A very dangerous bacterium called Helicobacter Pylori can be found in unfiltered water. This bacterium is one of the causes of cancer apparition. The infection with Helicobacter Pylori is a pressing health problem that worries millions of people not only in Nigeria but all around the world. The presence of this bacterium in your body won’t show any symptoms, but once the gastric/duodenal mucosa suffers inflammation because of it, you will start noticing worrying signs such as nausea, stomach pain and many others. In such situations, an emergency visit to the hospital is required. The infection with Helicobacter Pylori can be treated with antibiotics, but in some cases the bacterium is resistant to them. This is why the patient will be under special monitoring to notice whether the treatment is effective or not.

The main signs of infection with Helicobacter Pylori are bloating and loss of appetite, besides nausea and vomiting. Stomach pain will occur when eating foods that the bacterium is sensitive to such as garlic or anything spicy. If not treated properly, Helicobacter Pylori can eventually lead to cancer, besides gastritis, ulcer and other serious complications. In case of cancer confirmation, the patient will need to undergo more individualized tests among which gastroscopy, abdominal CTs, MRIs etc. Yet the cases of cancer are quite rare, but it’s better to make sure that the water you are drinking is safe instead of waiting for the symptoms to appear. Take all the measurements you can to keep yourself healthy and prevent the harm of unfiltered tap water can do to you.

What can you do to prevent this?

First of all, you should understand that there is no universal water filter that’s suitable for all houses and regions of the planet. However, there are some systems that can help you prevent the damaging effects of unpotable water. Water purification methods are diverse and you need to establish the purpose you are mounting them for. The most common filtering system is the one that’s mounted under the counter and offers potable water for the kitchen. Filtering the water transforms it into fully drinkable water and you no longer have to worry about any possible consequences of drinking it.

If you want to protect your skin from the effects of chlorine exposure, you can install separate filters for your shower. There are several types of shower filters you can choose from depending on your budget and requirements. Usually, the filter is placed inside the shower head. Some shower heads have a replaceable filter included. The filters are meant to remove chlorine from water instantly. They should be changed every three months from maximum efficacity. For protecting your appliances, you should install filters for washing machines. Such filters protect the appliances from developing limescale and grease from the water.

Some filters can protect the whole amount of water that reaches into your house. The filtering installations are meant to remove chlorine and heavy substances from the water and make it safe for drinking or showering. Choose the one method that’s suitable for your individual situation and rest assured that you won’t encounter any problems with the water you use for different purposes. In case you can’t afford methods for filtering the water, go ahead and buy bottled water instead of drinking tap water to prevent any unpleasant situation.


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