Roughly 60% of an adult human’s body is comprised of water. We need it more than we need food, and it has been the most important ingredient for a healthy life ever since the dawn of man.
The link between water quality and human health stretches beyond the sheer need for sustenance. Drinking water refreshes the body, aids digestion, removes various bacteria from the bladder, stabilizes blood pressure and heartbeat, protects our organs, regulates the body temperature, and prevents dehydration.
Today we’ll talk about the impact water has on human health, as well as water quality in general, so without any further ado, let’s get straight into it.
Water pH value and what does it mean
The pH is widely recognized as the most crucial parameter that determines the quality of water. It encompasses several other parameters in a broad spectrum; the acronym ‘pH’ stands for ‘Power of Hydrogen’.
Basically, hydrogen-rich water boasts anti-oxidant, as well as anti-oxidant properties, both of which relate to the two extremes of the pH bar – low pH water is acidic while high pH water is alkaline.
Highly acidic water can dissolve metals, which would then become substantially more toxic. Alkaline water has acid-neutralizing properties, which affects amphibian organisms more intensely than humans, although it’s still considered poisonous in high concentrations.
High-quality water has a neutral pH value, which is approximately between 7 and 9 on the official pH scale.
Chloride and why is it used for water treatment
Chloride is naturally found in groundwater, lakes, and most streams, although high concentrations usually indicate pollution.
Water treated with chloride looks foggy, mainly due to the fact that such water has a somewhat lower turbidity level. However, chloride-rich water does not have harmful or in any way dangerous effects on human health.
The introduction of chloride ions to water is meant to eliminate bacteria, microbes, and viruses, which is among the most natural ways of purification aside from using water filters.
The World Health Organization stated that even high concentrations of Chloride in water can’t affect health in a substantial way. The water’s taste usually starts deteriorating, becoming saltier, although that’s the only notable effect Chloride-rich water has on humans. Chloride is widely used as a water purifier, although most people who aren’t too fond of its taste opt for bottled water.
Fluoride and how it helps our teeth
Fluoride plays an important role in terms of improving the water’s impact on dental health. Water with a moderately strong concentration of fluoride prevents tooth decay, although high concentrations may have adverse effects.
Namely, excessive quantities of fluoride are known to cause Dental Fluorosis, which is another name for the discoloration of teeth.
Iron and how it affects our blood pressure
Human bodies require a certain amount of iron in their organism. Insufficient quantity of iron typically leads to anemia, enhanced risk of infection, and fatigue. Although supplemental iron is available in various formats (pills, beverages, and similar), it’s also normally contained in drinking water.
However, only small concentrations of iron can be beneficial while high could lead to a series of health risks. Iron-rich water can lead to skin damage, wrinkles, and increased skin sensitivity. Furthermore, too much iron in one’s bloodstream can disbalance the organs responsible for digesting it. Water with a high concentration of this mineral has a distinct metallic taste.
On another hand, drinking water with very mild concertation of iron can help regulate blood pressure and bolster our immune system. All countries prescribe optimal iron levels in drinking water.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Hard Water
Contrary to what its name may suggest, hard water is neither heavy nor polluted. The number of calcium ions and magnesium ions in water determines its hardness, which essentially determines its taste, potential health risks, as well as potential benefits.
First and foremost, soft water is not readily available in most countries – it needs to be processed, or rather ‘softened’ with special devices called water softeners. These softeners remove Ca and Mg ions, but they also tend to strip other minerals in the process as well.
Hard water tastes different from soft water, although the former is what the vast majority of people are accustomed to. Minerals actually improve how water tastes, although it all boils down to personal preference at the end of the day.
On a practical note, hard water tends to clog plumbing pipes, as pockets of Ca and Mg build up over time.
Health-wise, there are different types of hard water, depending on the proportion of magnesium and calcium in it. Excessive amounts of either mineral may lead to ‘overflows’, but drinking hard water generally helps balance our intake of the aforementioned minerals.
Types of water pollution
High amounts of minerals affect water’s purity chemically. Aside from chemical pollution, there are several other categories, including physical, biological, and radioactive.
Chemically polluted water contains excessive amounts of metals, bacteria, or similar toxic contaminants. Water with either too high or too low pH value is also considered chemically polluted.
Physical pollutants affect water’s temperature, its sedimentation, and flow. Moreover, water can be physically contaminated by a wide array of physical objects.
Biological pollution includes viruses, bacteria, and all kinds of aquatic life. Some bacteria can be beneficial to human health while most viruses are detrimental to it.
Radiation pollution is among the most dangerous types of water pollution. It may be polluted from radioactive fallout, or by radioactive material.
Beta particles, as well as Gamma rays, persist if the radiation pollution is high enough, both of which can cause a series of immense health hazards, most notably cancer.
Another source of radiation pollution can be Radon gas, which is actually a natural phenomenon that is normally found in groundwater. This gas is remarkably volatile, and it can be accidentally inhaled as a person is taking a shower without knowing it’s carried by the stream.
Fortunately, the vast majority of countries are closely monitoring all known pollutants frequently, particularly radioactive ones.
We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on the link between water quality and living a healthy life. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!