Learn how certain drinking water contaminants can affect your immune system and ability to battle viral infections.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and its variants have spotlighted our immune systems. While a robust immune system will not prevent you from contracting COVID-19, it may help lessen the severity of the illness and help you fight off other viruses, such as the flu. However, contaminated drinking water may impair your immune system, making it difficult to stave off disease. It can make a case of COVID-19 more severe and lead to other complications.
If you are already immunocompromised from HIV or AIDS, organ transplant, or chemotherapy, contaminated drinking water is hazardous. For instance, the parasite cryptosporidium, most commonly spread through water, can cause cryptosporidiosis, a long-lasting and sometimes fatal illness.
Water Contaminants That May Be in Your Water
First, let us look at some of the most common drinking water contaminants that can affect your immune system:
The microscopic one-celled parasite can cause diarrhea, cramps, and dehydration. Cryptosporidium is present worldwide and can be found in well water or municipal water supplies contaminated by sewage. Crypto has a high tolerance to chlorine and can live in drinking water or swimming pools for long periods.
Not all home filters reduce crypto. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the best way to reduce cryptosporidium from your water is a point-of-use filter labeled:
- Reverse osmosis
- The absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller, or
- Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 for cyst removal.
Exposure to heavy elements, including lead (Pb) and Copper (Cu), can lead to immune suppression, making people vulnerable to disease. Both may get into your tap water from corroded lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures.
Heating or boiling your water will not reduce copper or lead. You can flush the system for 1-2 minutes before drinking or cooking with the water, but that is only a temporary fix. Each time the faucet has not been used or water has been in the pipes for several hours, you will have to run the water for a minute or two until it is freezing.
According to the CDC, an effective way to reduce both lead and copper is via a reverse osmosis system at the point of use. Arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), and Chromium (Cr) have also been identified as materials that are harmful to your health and immune system.
- Arsenic can get into groundwater naturally through rock erosion. Or it can get into the water supply through industrial or agricultural waste.
- Cadmium gets into the water via the deterioration of galvanized plumbing. Or it may come from industrial waste or fertilizer contamination.
- Chromium occurs naturally in rocks, plants, and soil. However, industrial processes can create chromium and seep into groundwater via leakage or improper disposal.
Like lead and copper, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium can not be reduced by boiling the water. Boiling can cause the metal to accumulate. One of the best ways to reduce heavy metals from your tap water is via a reverse osmosis system at the point of use.
Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) are known as “forever chemicals” because it can take thousands of years to break them down, and they remain in the human body for long periods, causing ongoing health problems.
PFA compounds are used widely in cookware and cosmetics, among many other products, and PFAS have been detected nationwide in water in over 2,230 sites in 49 states. They have also been found in the furthest reaches of the planet in polar bears and pilot whales, and the CDC says PFAs have been found in nearly all the people they have tested.
These chemicals’ manufacture, use, and disposal have affected the soil, atmosphere, and surface water, leading to many health concerns, including immune dysfunction. PFAs also can not be reduced by boiling water. Instead, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis are the best ways to reduce PFAs from drinking water.
Polluted Water and COVID-19
Due to the importance of the immune system in fighting coronavirus infection, the effects of parasites, metals, and PFAs in drinking water and on people’s immune systems must be top of mind.
PFAs, for instance, suppress our immune system’s ability to produce the antibodies critically important for fighting COVID-19 and infections. And studies have shown there is a connection between heavy metal exposure and the severity of the viral disease. If you are concerned about your family’s health, first, get your water tested. Aqualite offers free residential water testing for both municipal water and well water. It is quick and costs nothing.
Our technician will work with you to solve the problem if contaminants are detected. If, for instance, parasites, heavy metals, or PFAs are found, you may want a Puronics under-sink Reverse Osmosis system that will provide clean water to your faucet on-demand. These systems have multiple filtration systems, including:
- A mechanical 5-micron graded density filter protects the system from dirt, rust, and sediment as small as 2/10,000 of an inch.
- Ultra-filtration (UF). An ultra-fine filter acts as a barrier to parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium.
- Activated Carbon Absorption ensures maximum dechlorination.
- Reverse Osmosis with FilmTec® TFC membranes reduces dissolved solids, including sodium, selenium, arsenic, lead, copper, cadmium, and hexavalent.
Aqualite’s mission is to bring safe, clean, healthy water to every household, including yours. Contact us today!