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How Dangerous Actually is Polluted Water for your Health?

Posted on February 27, 2019

Depending on how contaminated the water is, drinking untreated water will give you a stomach ache at the least. Unfortunately many people aren’t so lucky as to only suffer with stomach pains, as polluted water kills approximately 2 million people a year. It also makes another 1 billion people a year seriously ill. Untreated sewage is the number one cause of polluted water in the world, even though it is easily avoided through a proper filtration system.

What is water pollution?

litter and rubbish floating in the sea

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies with anything from plastics to chemicals, and is usually caused by human activities. Polluted water is caused by a number of factors, such as domestic and industrial waste. This is the sewage produced by domestic properties or industrial sites who do not have proper disposal systems for the contaminated water they produce. This flows back into the water supply untreated, causing massive problems in ponds, lakes, rivers, and the sea. Many industries believe they are not contributing to this problem enough to consider rectifying their disposal system, but the truth is many of them are.

The fossil fuel industry also plays a big part in contaminating the water, more obviously with big oil spills in the ocean, which are highly publicised but rarely changes legislation in the industry. Additionally, burnt fossil fuels release chemicals into the atmosphere which enter the water cycle and pollute almost all areas of the ecosystem – including ‘treated’ water supplies.

Effects of water pollution on your health

Polluted water poses a variety of health risks and it is unpredictable how your body will react. There are more minor symptoms which are caused from untreated water, including:

  • Abdominal pains and diarrhoea are the most common non-fatal effects of drinking polluted water.
  • Untreated water can pose a risk to babies and infants who drink formula milk – if your water is too high in nitrates it restricts the amount of oxygen in the brain and causes ‘blue baby’ syndrome. This condition is not usually fatal as the symptoms occur early on and often the only action needed is to change to a safer drinking water.
  • Infertility can occur after drinking polluted water for a long period of time.

There are more extreme effects of polluted water on your health and well-being, which can cause amputation and death. Sometimes, you don’t even need to drink the water to have an extreme result, for example –

  • Eating raw or undercooked seafood can cause serious illness or death, as the seafood may have ingested dangerous bacterium which can result in a variety of illnesses, most commonly parasitic infections. There have been many cases of people suffering from parasites such as tapeworm after eating raw or undercooked seafood.
  • Brian Parrott learnt this the hard way, when he swam in contaminated water at the beach with his family. Three days later he was fighting for his life, as the doctors amputated his leg due to the flesh-eating virus he contracted through a cut in his foot as he swam in the water – luckily he was able to survive.

Although more common in countries where people don’t have access to clean water, fatal disease can still occur across the globe. These are the most deadly diseases and infections you can contract from polluted and untreated water:

  • Cholera – An infectious disease which is contracted after you eat food or drink water contaminated with the bacterium. It causes excessive diarrhoea which leads to dehydration and even death.
  • Infectious Hepatitis – Usually presenting itself through symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, and nausea, but often does not present symptoms at all. The infection has caused over 11,000 deaths worldwide per year.
  • Typhoid – A bacterial infection which attacks all organs, causing high temperature and constipation. Although rare in the UK, it is still common in places such as Asia, Africa or South America.

It is clear that polluted water can have an effect on human health, whether it be mild or extreme. It is better to be safe than sorry, and establish a secure filtering system in place so you have easy access to drinking water. Additionally, ensuring you dispose of your water correctly, will reduce the risk of other people coming into contact with polluted water.

Contact Wildon UK today with any sewage queries or problems you may have, and our team with over 20 years’ experience in the industry will ensure you get a fast and quality service – we operate across the UK.

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