Water Contaminants Causing Water Pollution in Asia June 06 2024

Water is crucial for our health and well-being, making the quality of the water we drink incredibly important. Unfortunately, even treated tap water can contain various pollutants that may harm our health.

Understanding water contaminants is the first step in reducing their harmful effects on you and your family's health. Let's delve into the common drinking water pollutants and learn how to protect ourselves.

Common Drinking Water Contaminants

Chlorine and Chloramine

Chlorine and chloramine are disinfectants used to kill harmful microorganisms in water. However, they can react with organic matter, creating harmful byproducts like trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Long-term exposure to high levels of THMs in drinking water is linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, including bladder cancer, and reproductive issues.


Fluoride is added to drinking water for its dental health benefits. Yet, excessive fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis, highlighting the importance of balanced levels.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium can contaminate water through natural deposits or industrial activities. These metals pose serious health risks, particularly to children and pregnant women.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Originating from agricultural runoff or septic systems, nitrates and nitrites can contaminate drinking water. High levels of these pollutants are particularly harmful to infants and pregnant women.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Agricultural practices can lead to pesticide and herbicide residues in water sources. These chemicals can cause acute health issues like stomach upsets and chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and increased cancer risk.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs, which can enter water through industrial discharges and chemical spills, pose significant health risks. Common VOCs include atrazine, benzene, chloroform, and trichloroethylene (TCE).

Industrial Chemicals

Chemicals such as PFAS, PCBs, and dioxins from industrial processes can contaminate drinking water, posing health risks to humans and the environment.

Radioactive Substances

Naturally occurring radionuclides like radium and uranium can contaminate groundwater, presenting serious health hazards.

Emerging Contaminants

While common contaminants are well-known, emerging pollutants like pharmaceuticals and microplastics are becoming a growing concern.


Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can end up in water sources through human excretion and improper disposal. While the health risks are still being studied, their presence in drinking water is alarming.

Plastics and Microplastics

Microplastics, originating from plastic debris and synthetic fibers, are increasingly found in water sources. These tiny particles pose a potential risk to human health and the environment.

Is Treated Water Contaminant-Free?

Although drinking water undergoes treatment to meet safety standards, not all contaminants are removed, and water can become contaminated post-treatment.

How to Remove Harmful Drinking Water Contaminants

Using a high-quality water filter, such as the Berkey water filtration system, can help remove over 200 common drinking water contaminants, ensuring your water is safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common water contaminants?

Common contaminants include microorganisms, algal toxins, arsenic, lead, mercury, radium, and uranium.

What are common water pollutants?

Pollutants from human activities include inorganic chemicals (e.g., chromium, fluoride, heavy metals), organic chemicals (e.g., pesticides, VOCs), pharmaceuticals, residual disinfectants, and disinfection byproducts.

How common is water contamination and pollution?

Almost all natural water sources contain contaminants or pollutants, either naturally occurring or from human activities.

By staying informed and taking proactive steps, you can significantly reduce the risks posed by water contaminants, ensuring a healthier and safer water supply for you and your family.