What Are the Dangers of Contaminated Water?

What Are the Dangers of Contaminated Water?

Drinking contaminated water may be harmful to the body. However, bovine colostrum supplementation may help strengthen immune function, thereby reducing the risk that an individual will suffer the gastrointestinal (GI) and stomach issues associated with consuming contaminated water.

What Is Contaminated Water? 

Contaminated water refers to any water that is polluted with harmful compounds. It may be polluted with any of the following types of contaminants including sewage:

  • Biological: Also known as microbiological contaminants or microbes, biological contaminants refer to harmful organisms in water. Common biological contaminants include bacteria, protozoa, parasites, viruses, and mold (fungi).
  • Chemical: These contaminants are elements or compounds that may be man-made or naturally occurring. Chemical contaminants include arsenic, bleach, nitrogen, and salts.
  • Physical: Physical contaminants impact the physical appearance and properties of water. They may include sediment or organic material that moves into a body of water due to soil erosion.
  • Radiological: Cesium, plutonium, uranium, and other radiological contaminants are chemical elements that include an unstable number of protons and neutrons.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established drinking water guidelines for more than 90 contaminants. According to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA must follow a specific process to identify and list unregulated contaminants. With this process, the EPA may create a national primary drinking water regulation (NPDWR).

Furthermore, the EPA is periodically required to publish a list of contaminants. The agency also uses a contaminant candidate list (CCL) to study different types of contaminants and collect contaminant research and data. That way, the EPA can determine whether to regulate certain types of contaminants.

The EPA uses three criteria to decide whether to regulate a contaminant:

  • Examining if the contaminant can have harmful effects on a person’s health
  • Evaluating whether the contaminant is known to occur in public water systems often enough and at levels high enough to raise public health concerns
  • Determining if regulating the contaminant could help reduce public health risks for all individuals who are served by public water systems

Public water systems are required to comply with all drinking water standards. Failure to comply with drinking water standards may put the health of individuals who rely on public water systems for safe drinking water in danger.

Water Contamination, Floods, and Hurricanes

There may be a direct link between hurricanes and water contamination. Typically, contamination of drinking water in flood-affected areas is a major environmental problem. Utility-owned facilities that remove contaminants from drinking water typically are unusable in floods. Also, even if these facilities were not overwhelmed by flooding, they would need power to run their pumps or an ability to get fuel for their generators – both of which may be virtually impossible in hurricanes and in the days, weeks, or months afterwards.

During a major hurricane, a community may be forced to rely on its neighbors to avoid water contamination. The Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN) program enables water utilities across a state to share resources during an emergency and figure out financial arrangements after the emergency. Thus, the WARN program enables flood-affected communities to avoid the dangers associated with water contamination.

To date, the WARN program has delivered meaningful results in a number of emergencies, including:

  • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita of 2005: In Florida, WARN member response included the implementation of systems to clean electrical components and lift stations, repair electrical motors and pumps, and fix water main leaks.
  • Southern California Fires of 2007: WARN member response included the deployment of systems that provided over 100 different resources, including operators, mechanics, electricians, water quality technicians, and bottled water for affected citizens.
  • Hurricanes Umberto and Ike of 2007 and 2008: Texas WARN member response included the use of systems to locate generators and coordinate support to utilities that lost power.

The WARN program represents a valuable opportunity for flood-affected communities. It has been proven to help these communities maintain clean, usable drinking water and speed up their response from hurricanes and other emergencies. Additionally, the program may lead more public water systems to take a proactive approach to reduce or eliminate the risk of water contamination in life-threatening situations.

What Are the Side Effects of Drinking Contaminated Water?

Although the WARN program and many other national initiatives and government agencies are being used to help minimize the danger of contaminated water, it is important for individuals to understand the impact of drinking contaminated water.

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The side effects of drinking contaminated water may vary from person to person. In certain instances, consuming contaminated water may have no physical impact on an individual. Comparatively, drinking contaminated water sometimes may result in severe illness or death.

Often, the side effects of drinking contaminated water become present immediately. These side effects may include:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Some of the side effects of drinking water may become noticeable over the course of several years. These side effects may include GI and stomach illnesses as well.

How Can Bovine Colostrum Help Reduce the Side Effects of Drinking Contaminated Water?

Bovine colostrum may prove to be an ideal choice to help individuals avoid the GI and stomach issues commonly associated with consuming contaminated water. It has been shown to provide immune support to help people fight off bacteria, protozoa, and other harmful microbes. Bovine colostrum exhibits antimicrobial and antiviral activity due in large part to its immune factors, which help stimulate and support the immune system.

Moreover, bovine colostrum is rich in immune factors that have been found to help reduce activity against poisons created by C. difficile, a bacteria that cause colon inflammation. Colostrum contains high concentrations of immunoglobulin G (IgG), which is known to help support the natural immune response. Bovine colostrum may potentially help support a healthy immune response by offsetting endotoxins derived from the pathogenic gut flora when they are overgrown due to antibiotic use.

Topical exposure to contaminated water can also be problematic. An open cut, scrape, insect bite, or other type of wound can provide an entry point for harmful microbes. Necrotizing fasciitis, the gruesome and often deadly skin infection, is commonly known as “flesh-eating bacteria”. Following Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, hospitals saw a spike in both gastrointestinal and skin infections. Necrotizing fasciitis is dangerous for anyone who becomes infected, and often fatal in patients who are elderly, have a compromised immune system, or who do not get immediate medical attention.

Thanks to bovine colostrum, an individual may be better equipped to overcome many of the GI and stomach side effects of consuming contaminated water or help heal after topical exposure. Incorporating this supplement into one’s daily diet helps provide immediate and long-term health benefits. However, bovine colostrum is not a substitute for prompt medical care; antibiotics are necessary to rid the body of specific, potentially life-threatening pathogens. Colostrum can be used to support your health and wellbeing, particularly when you are exposed to unclean or unsafe water and until you can get medical attention.

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