Chemicals in Drinking Water

fluoride in water

Unlike underdeveloped countries, Australia is not a country that is considered to have any severe health issues regarding its tap water. However, certain levels of contaminants cannot be eradicated completely and traces of rust and iron, when controlled are negligible. Some chemicals however are controversial, with some research suggesting that it is harmful to health while others show it can even be beneficial. The two most controversial are fluoride and chlorine.

Let’s break it down:

Fluoride

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a salt mineral found in fresh water and sea water which if often added to drinking water.

Why is it added to drinking water?
Fluoride is considered a natural way of avoiding or slowing down teeth decay and cavities. Research has shown its role in supporting dental health, especially in children.

Why is it controversial?
Fluoride is however considered a neurotoxin which means in high doses it has a negative impact on the nervous system.
Exposure can lead to tooth discoloration, thyroid and bone problems.

There is also the debate that fluoride already occurs in water and as such people should have the choice of whether they want to consume more of it or not instead of being forced to consume it through tap water. Furthermore, fluctuating levels of chemicals in tap water due to seasonal variations such as drought could mean that fluoride may reach harmful levels, especially considering that different people need different levels of fluoride, children being the most vulnerable.
This controversy has reached the point where fluoride free toothpaste is available on the market.

The consensus:
As long as you don’t consume excessive amounts, research concludes that fluoride in water does assist in dental health. However, in some cases, such as fluoride in tap water, you may not be able to control the amount of fluoride you are consuming. This may especially be the case during a drought when the level of contaminants and water pollution reach harmful levels.

What should you do?
If fluoride levels in water is a cause of concern for you then filtered water dispensers ensure that fluoride levels remain under harmful levels. However, care needs to be taken in choosing filtered water dispensers so make sure you research the company you are thinking of purchasing a water dispenser from to ensure that you are not wasting your money on marketing gimmicks.

chemicals in drinking water

Chlorine

What is chlorine?
Chlorine is a disinfectant that is added to tap water.

Why is it added to drinking water?
Chlorine is used to kill off viruses, bacteria and protozoans that are present in water that cause disease.

Why is it controversial?
Due to its disinfectant nature there are health concerns regarding the exposure of chlorine on the human body. Negative effects on health include damage to the respiratory system and bladder cancer. Symptoms can include chest pains, difficulty breathing and eye irritation.

The consensus:
In minimal amounts, chlorine in water is not considered to be harmful to health. However, in some cases like with fluoride in tap water, you may not be able to control the amount of chlorine you are consuming.

What should you do?
If you have experienced adverse health effects due to drinking tap water and you think the cause could be chlorine, then filtered water dispensers are available for you to make sure you are getting the purest water available to you.

 

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