You may have seen an article or two on the internet about people making the switch from treated to untreated water. Treated water is just as it sounds— it’s water that’s been filtered or disinfected for multiple reasons. It could be filtered to fill an industrial water supply or to aid in irrigation efforts. Some people think drinking raw, untreated water is a healthier option, but it isn’t. In fact, untreated water poses a lot of healthy and safety risks.
Untreated water can be found in several places. You can find it in lakes, rivers, ponds, and even private wells. Since the water is exposed to the elements, a lot of things could influence what’s in it. The water could have runoff from a nearby facility, or an animal could have gotten into the water and infected it with a virus. Drinking untreated water can have harmful effects on your teeth and overall health. Here are eight specific effects it could have on you if you aren’t careful.
Drinking untreated water in high amounts could lead to the development of dental issues. Typically, there is fluoride found in all types of water. Water from a lake, river, private well, or public water system contains a base-level of this mineral. Fluoride is produced naturally and can also be produced synthetically for oral health items like toothpaste and mouthwash. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and sometimes fluoride is added to water supplies to help strengthen the public’s dental health by preventing tooth and enamel decay. However, too much fluoride could have the opposite effect and actually harm one’s oral health.
Too much fluoride can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis. This condition can be especially prevalent in children. Exposure to too much fluoride at one time can cause some discoloration of the teeth. You may notice white specks or streaks on your child’s teeth if they have dental fluorosis. Your child’s dentist or orthodontist may be able to diagnose it early on and help take preventative measures. While this condition may cause some slight discoloration, it doesn’t impact the overall health of teeth. Generally, it doesn’t cause teeth to decay or any form of gum disease.
If you suspect you or someone in your family may have dental fluorosis, contact your dentist and inquire about dental treatments. If it’s caught early on, it can be simple to treat. You should also check your water supply and monitor its fluoride levels, especially if you have an untreated water source. If there’s too much fluoride in your water supply, it could end up doing more harm than good.
Drinking untreated water can also lead to tooth discoloration. As stated above, too much fluoride in your water supply can lead to dental fluorosis and cause white spots or white streaks to show up on teeth. This especially affects children between the ages of six months and 16 years. There may also be other substances in untreated water that can cause discoloration. For example, if your water supply is high in iron, it could leave reddish-brown stains on your fixtures. If you continuously drink untreated water that has high iron in it, your teeth could become stained over time. It may not be noticeable at first, but as the years go on, it could become more prevalent.
If you suspect your or a loved one’s smile is getting discolored from your water supply, consult your local dentists and see if they have any recommendations on what your next steps should be. You could invest in teeth whitening services and products to help you in the short-term, but you may want to think of a long-term plan that can help prevent this. You could invest in a water filtration system to help purify your water supply, but it’s best to know how to put it in place and how much it will cost before taking any action.
Drinking untreated water that has too much fluoride in it can also lead to bone disease and skeletal issues. One of those issues is called skeletal fluorosis. Skeletal fluorosis is a disease that can be easy to misdiagnose as other bone diseases. Symptoms include stiff joints, recurring fractures, and an accumulation of bone tissue. If untreated, it could leave you feeling discomfort and pain.
If you suspect you’ve developed a bone disease such as skeletal fluorosis, reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. The faster you can get to the bottom of what is happening, the better. You should also look into what caused you to develop a bone disease in the first place. You could unknowingly be drinking untreated water, and this could have led to your diagnosis. If you rent the space you’re living in, contact your landlord about getting the water tested and ask them if it’s untreated water. If the water made you sick, you may be able to take legal action. If you think this is an appropriate course of action, contact a personal injury attorney to see if you have a case. If they’ve been negligent of the water issue, they could be legally responsible for reparations.
Exposure To Harmful Bacteria And Viruses
Drinking untreated water can expose you to harmful bacteria and viruses. Think about it: when you consume raw water, you’re ingesting water that hasn’t had any water treatment. That means it hasn’t been filtered, so pathogens, bacteria and viruses can be in the water while you’re drinking it.
If you aren’t careful, you could get sick from drinking untreated water. You could ingest harmful bacteria such as E.coli, or microbes that could cause serious illnesses like typhoid or cholera. If you’ve consumed untreated water, watch for symptoms such as diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, fever, and headaches. These could all be signs that you’ve ingested bacteria or viruses from the raw water. Also, be aware that parasites like tapeworms could also live in raw water. If you drink untreated water, you’re risking parasites entering your body and causing you to fall ill.
Possible Exposure To Diseases
Certain infectious viruses could spread through raw water and develop into diseases. For example, the norovirus can spread through water and cause vomiting and diarrhea. This virus can spread easily and make multiple people sick. Without a filtration system in place, this virus can make its way into your body and make you sick before you know it.
Another disease that can be spread through water is Hepatitis A. If someone who carries the virus contaminates a water supply, and you drink that water, you’re now at risk for contracting the virus. If you’ve recently consumed untreated water and feel sick, contact your doctor immediately and get tested. They may advise you to take certain injectables and closely monitor your condition so they can determine what’s going on.
Possible Consumption Of Dangerous Chemicals
If you aren’t careful, drinking untreated water could lead you to ingest dangerous chemicals that can harm your overall health. These chemicals could get into the water supply in a number of ways. They could come from fertilizer, pesticides, and even waste that corporations produce.
These chemicals and materials can affect you in different ways. You could be exposed to nitrates, which are found in fertilizers and animal waste. Nitrates are tasteless, odorless, and cannot be seen with the naked eye. If you drink untreated water that’s especially high in nitrates, it can affect how your body carries blood and oxygen. This can especially be dangerous for infants. You could also be exposed to dangerous elements like radium. Elements like this can seep through the groundwater and make their way into water supplies.
If you live in an area that has a lot of manufacturing facilities, avoid drinking unfiltered water from areas close to the facilities. There may be chemicals from the facilities that have made their way into the surrounding environment. If you do drink raw water that’s around a manufacturing facility, closely monitor your health. If you start experiencing headaches, a sore irritated throat, and/or dizziness, contact your doctor immediately. You may have ingested something you weren’t supposed to, and now you have to get treated as soon as possible.
Exposure To Unsafe Metals
Raw water can also contain several metals, including iron, copper, and lead. Too much exposure to these metals can damage your kidneys, liver, heart, and other important organs. The prolonged ingestion of lead is especially dangerous. It can cause gastrointestinal issues, mood disorders, and developmental delays in children.
Before you consider drinking untreated water, ask yourself if the risk of being exposed to these metals is worth it. Sometimes these metals can get into the water supply through a plumbing system, which means you may have little to no control over preventing them from getting into the water supply. If you live in a place that has older plumbing, you may want to get the pipes checked. If you don’t own the place you live in, contact the owner and see if they can get the plumbing pipes checked out soon. If you live in a place where there’s a serious health risk, your landlord is responsible for providing a solution. At the end of the day, your health matters the most. If you suspect something may be wrong, speak up about it.
Ingesting Human Or Animal Waste
One of the biggest risks of drinking unfiltered water is the risk of ingesting human or animal waste. Animal waste can be used as fertilizer, which means there’s a chance the waste can seep into the ground and make its way into the water supply. There’s also a chance this can happen in a large agricultural area that may not have proper sanitation procedures in place. If you’re in an area like this, think about the risks associated with drinking raw water that may contain animal waste. These risks include developing diarrhea, ingesting harmful pathogens and bacteria, and infection.
There is also a risk of ingesting human waste if you drink raw water. This situation may come up in areas of the world where there are no sanitation systems in place or indoor plumbing available. Ingesting human waste through water can lead to infection, and it can also spread diseases such as cholera and typhoid. This situation can happen anywhere where water isn’t treated before being discharged back into groundwater.
Consider your surroundings when thinking about consuming unfiltered water. Does it look like you’re in an area where there are proper sanitation systems in place to properly dispose of animal and human waste? If not, you shouldn’t risk it. Ingesting animal and/or human waste can take its toll on your health if you’re not careful.
If you think your water supply is untreated and you want to get it treated, there are a few options for you. If you own your own home, you can call a specialist and get your water tested. If you find it’s unsafe, you can invest in a water filtration system that will help make your water cleaner and safer to consume. If you rent your living space and you have concerns about your water, contact your landlord right away. They can handle getting the water tested and getting the filtration system set up.
Some people may see drinking untreated water as a healthy and natural option, but it could actually make you sick. There’s a reason water filtration systems are around. They are set up to filter out any harmful substances that could be in your water supply, including metals, chemicals, and bacteria. Filtering these substances out can help you live a healthier life and have a cleaner water system.
Water is an essential part of your daily life, which is why it’s important to drink water that won’t make you ill. Drinking untreated water can have lasting negative effects on your physical and oral health, so you want to make sure the water you’re drinking is safe and treated. If you find yourself unsure if your treated water is truly safe, contact a professional to help you find answers. Your health is not something to gamble with, which is why you may not want to take any risks with untreated water.