What Contaminants are in My Drinking Water?

Tap water has multiple uses, besides just drinking. It’s used for cooking, showering, washing and more. Almost all Americans get their tap water from city water or private wells, yet it can contain over one thousand contaminants from soil runoff, factories and natural deposits. Most of these contaminants can go undetected by smell or taste. To help people become aware of what contaminants can live in their water, the list below, according to the EPA, that allows you to know what the contaminant is, where it comes from and the side effects that can occur.


Contaminants that Can Be Found in Tap Water
Where can the contaminant be found?
Side Effects from ingesting or encountering the contaminant
1,1,1-TrichloroethaneCan be found in household cleaning products (glues, paints, drinking water, etc).
Side effects include dizziness, vomiting, loss of conscious, low blood pressure and diarrhea.
It is used as a solvent for rubbers, fats, oils and waxes.
Possible side effects of are stinging and burning of the skin,
Found in dyes, plastics and water treatments
Increased risk of cancer, nervous system and skin irriation can occur.
Alpha particles (radioactive decay)
Erosion of natural deposits of certain minerals
Cannot penetrate into the internal body, but can cause severe damage to living tissue (skin, eyes, etc)
Found in metals, batteries, cable heating and other products.
Irritation to the lungs, skin and eyes. Can also suffer from heart problems, diarrhea and stomach ulcers.
Found in rocks, soil, water, plants and air.
Skin damage or problems with circulatory systems
Erosion of natural deposits (rocks and soil)
Increased risk of lung disease
Runoff from herbicide used on row crops
Cardiovascular system or reproductive problems, can cause cancer
Bleaches, fireworks, dyes and glass
Increase in blood pressure
Leaching from gas storage tanks and landfills (found in oil)
Increase risk of cancer, bone marrow failure and anemia
Volcanic eruptions, forest fires, smoke and coal tar
Increased risk of cancer
Can be found in factories and minerals
Reproductive issues and increased risk of cancer
Found in drinking water with lower pH levels
Increased risk of cancer
Found in batteries and factories
Kidney damage
Pesticides used on potatoes, corn and soybeans
Problems with blood, nervous system, or reproductive system or death
Carbon tetrachloride
Found in fire extinguishers and cleaning supplies
Liver problems; increased risk of cancer, damage in nervous system
When ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water
Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort, anemia
Residue of banned pesticides
Liver or nervous system problems; increased risk of cancer (i.e testicular or prostate cancer)
Water additive used to control microbes
Respiratory issues
Can be found by using bleach textiles, pulp, paper or in nature
Anemia; nervous system effects
Discharge from chemical and agricultural chemical factories (herbicides, rubbers and dyes)
Liver or kidney problems, muscle spasms
Corrosion of household plumbing systems
Diarrhea, vomiting or thyroid problems, growth issues
Found in plastics, rubbers or acrylic fibers
Delayed health effects such as asthma or bronchitis
Found in herbicides for a variety of crops
Minor kidney changes
Discharge from industrial chemical factories
Liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems (irritation of the eyes)
Found in herbicide used on soybeans and vegetables
Problems with reproduction
Forest fires, volcanic eruptions or manufacturing such as smelting, paper pulp and more
Reproductive difficulties; increased risk of cancer. Stay in body for long periods of time
Found in insecticide
Liver problems, dizziness, vomiting or convulsions
Found in plastics, resins, glues and glycerol
Increased cancer risk and stomach problems
Chemical found in paint, rubbers and varnishes
Liver and kidneys problems
Found in water from salts
At high levels can cause bone disease and oral side effects
Found in herbicides to kill weeds
Kidney problems and possibly reproductive difficulties
Haloacetic acids
Byproduct of disinfected drinking water
Increased risk of cancer, irritation of eyes and skin
Found when using insecticides (also found in water, food or breast milk)
Liver damage; increased risk of cancer. When consumed at high amounts can cause death
Seed treatment (especially wheat control)
Liver or kidney problems, skin discoloration, ulceration and increased risk of cancer
Household plumbing systems; erosion of natural deposits
Delays in physical or mental development, high blood pressure. Lead poisioning
Runoff/leaching from insecticide. Also found in lice and scabies medicines
Affects the nervous system (dizziness, headaches, stomaches, etc)
Mercury (inorganic)
Mercury (inorganic) Erosion of natural deposits; discharge factories; runoff from landfills and croplands, fish
Kidney damage and affects the central nervous system
Synthetic found in insecticide (soil, water or air)
Reproductive difficulties, liver, heart and kidney damage. Can possibly cause depression
Runoff from fertilizer use
Children six months or younger can get shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome.
Oxamyl (Vydate)
Found in insecticide
Slight nervous system effects
Discharge from wood preserving factories also found in pesticides and disinfectants
Liver, lung or blond or kidney problems; increased cancer risk
Occurs through herbicide runoff
Liver problems, eyes and skin irritation
Polychlorinated biphenyls
Runoff from landfills, compound from chlorine
Reproductive or nervous system difficulties; increased risk of cancer
Pontiac Fever
Found naturally in water and/or heating systems
Pneumonia and acute influenza
Radium 226/228
Erosion of natural deposits, occurs naturally
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from petroleum refineries or mines
Hair and fingernail loss and circulatory problems
Residue from herbicide
Can cause liver problems
Herbicide runoff
Problems with blood
Discharge from rubber and plastic factories, also found in coal tar
Liver, kidney, or circulatory system problems. Eye and skin irritations
Fluids from dry cleaning factories
Liver problems; increased risk of cancer. Can severely harm the central nervous system
Discharge from electronics, glass, and drug factories
Hair loss; kidney or liver problems
Discharge from oil factories
Nervous system, kidney, or liver problems
Runoff/leaching from insecticide used on cotton
Damage to kidney, liver, or thyroid problems. Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from metal decreasing sites and other factories (industrial solvent)
Liver problems; increased risk of cancer
Soil runoff, occurs from constructions, mining and agriculture
Nausea, diarrhea, and associated headaches.
Erosion of natural deposits (minerals and soil)
Increased risk of cancer, kidney toxicity, damage to lungs
Vinyl chloride
Discharge from plastic factories and PVC pipes
Increased risk of cancer
Discharge from oil and chemical factories
Nervous system damage


As you can see, there are many contaminants living in your tap water. To help protect yourself from these contaminants, refrigerator water filters can help. These filters help by removing up to 90% of impurities, leaving your water clean, healthy and great tasting. To find water filters, check out DiscountFilters.com, they have all types of filters for an affordable price.


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