Water Quality Resources

Know whats in your water


Water Quality Information

The following is a brief list of the different contaminants and additives found in municipal water supplies that may cause or contribute to problems in environmental illness sufferers:

Although most of the harmful substances often present in water sources are removed by the water companies, significant amounts of harmful substances remain in the water when they come out of your faucet.In a review of US federal and state records in 2004/2005 carried out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as many as 45 million Americans were found to be receiving water that fails basic health standards. Their review found that over 25 million people used water contaminated by bacteria, 5 million had lead levels above standard and inadequate water treatment was a problem for 20 million water customers. In another EWG study that focused on agricultural states it was found that 14 million people were consuming tap water routinely contaminated with five major herbicides. This situation is not unique to the United States but rather is common in western countries.

  • Chlorine (and by-products)
  • Fluoride
  • Pesticides
  • Fertilizers (such as nitrates)
  • Heavy metals
  • Petrochemicals
  • Dioxins
  • Radioactive Materials (e.g. radium)
  • Microorganisms (bacteria/fungi/parasites)

Information compiled from the Invironmental Illness Resource

Advice from experts

Useful informatior


EPA Drinking Water Contaminants

Microorganisms

Contaminant

MCLG1

(mg/L)2

MCL or TT1

(mg/L)2

Potential Health Effects from Long-Term Exposure Above the MCL (unless specified as short-term)

Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water

Cryptosporidium

zero

TT3

Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

Human and animal fecal waste

Giardia lamblia

zero

TT3

Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

Human and animal fecal waste

Heterotrophic plate count

n/a

TT3

HPC has no health effects; it is an analytic method used to measure the variety of bacteria that are common in water. The lower the concentration of bacteria in drinking water, the better maintained the water system is.

HPC measures a range of bacteria that are naturally present in the environment

Legionella

zero

TT3

Legionnaire's Disease, a type of pneumonia

Found naturally in water; multiplies in heating systems

Total Coliforms (including fecal coliform and E. Coli)

zero

5.0%4

Not a health threat in itself; it is used to indicate whether other potentially harmful bacteria may be present5

Coliforms are naturally present in the environment; as well as feces; fecal coliforms and E. coli only come from human and animal fecal waste.

Turbidity

n/a

TT3

Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness (e.g., whether disease-causing organisms are present). Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria. These organisms can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

Soil runoff

Water Quality Resources

Know whats in your water


Water Quality Information

The following is a brief list of the different contaminants and additives found in municipal water supplies that may cause or contribute to problems in environmental illness sufferers:

Although most of the harmful substances often present in water sources are removed by the water companies, significant amounts of harmful substances remain in the water when they come out of your faucet.In a review of US federal and state records in 2004/2005 carried out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as many as 45 million Americans were found to be receiving water that fails basic health standards. Their review found that over 25 million people used water contaminated by bacteria, 5 million had lead levels above standard and inadequate water treatment was a problem for 20 million water customers. In another EWG study that focused on agricultural states it was found that 14 million people were consuming tap water routinely contaminated with five major herbicides. This situation is not unique to the United States but rather is common in western countries.

  • Chlorine (and by-products)
  • Fluoride
  • Pesticides
  • Fertilizers (such as nitrates)
  • Heavy metals
  • Petrochemicals
  • Dioxins
  • Radioactive Materials (e.g. radium)
  • Microorganisms (bacteria/fungi/parasites)

Information compiled from the Invironmental Illness Resource

Advice from experts

Useful informatior


EPA Drinking Water Contaminants

Microorganisms

Contaminant

MCLG1

(mg/L)2

MCL or TT1

(mg/L)2

Potential Health Effects from Long-Term Exposure Above the MCL (unless specified as short-term)

Sources of Contaminant in Drinking Water

Cryptosporidium

zero

TT3

Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

Human and animal fecal waste

Giardia lamblia

zero

TT3

Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)

Human and animal fecal waste

Heterotrophic plate count

n/a

TT3

HPC has no health effects; it is an analytic method used to measure the variety of bacteria that are common in water. The lower the concentration of bacteria in drinking water, the better maintained the water system is.

HPC measures a range of bacteria that are naturally present in the environment

Legionella

zero

TT3

Legionnaire's Disease, a type of pneumonia

Found naturally in water; multiplies in heating systems

Total Coliforms (including fecal coliform and E. Coli)

zero

5.0%4

Not a health threat in itself; it is used to indicate whether other potentially harmful bacteria may be present5

Coliforms are naturally present in the environment; as well as feces; fecal coliforms and E. coli only come from human and animal fecal waste.

Turbidity

n/a

TT3

Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. It is used to indicate water quality and filtration effectiveness (e.g., whether disease-causing organisms are present). Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria. These organisms can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

Soil runoff