Infectious agents can thrive in water even after it has been treated. They can also reproduce in downstream piping systems while the water is in transit to your home. The most concerning waterborne pathogens at the moment are Naegleria fowleria (it eats your brain), Legionella pneumophila (It kills you through your lungs), Helicobacter pylori (it causes stomach cancer and ulcers), and Adenovirus, which causes flu-like systems and gastrointestinal distress.
Something is Alive in the Water!
What might be living in yours? Learn more below:
Water is home to countless microorganisms:
The EPA currently regulates some types of bacterial growth in water; however, the tests for these bacteria are performed before the water works its way through city infrastructure to your home. The following bacteria are currently major cause for concern in household water: Cryptosporidium, Giardia Lamblia, Legionella, and Coliforms including E. Coli. These bacteria are currently associated with the development of gastrointestinal illness and pneumonia.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), water-transmitted viruses are a moderate and growing concern. Adenovirus, Astrovirus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E, Rotavirus, and Norovirus are just a few known water-transmissible viruses. Exposure to these viruses are associated with cold-like symptoms, bronchitis, pneumonia, and gastrointestinal illnesses. New research is also starting to connect some of these viruses with the development of cancer, meningitis, and other life-threatening illnesses.
Mold growth is a common household issue, but what you may not know is that it can also infest your household water–including your drinking water. Signs that your water has mold in it are as follows: smelling mold in running water, mold growing near watery surfaces, and buildup in your shower and on your faucets. Exposure to mold can cause coughing, wheezing, allergic reactions, headaches, inflammation, anxiety, and a variety of other health issues.
Slime Forming Bacteria and Blue-green Algae are also common household water issues. Water pipes are dark and warm places that can be great environments for these microorganisms to grow in–especially if your water comes from nutrient-dense sources like lakes, rivers, or agricultural runoff. Does your water smell like algae sometimes? You may have Slime Forming Bacteria or Microcystin in your water. Exposure to Microcystin in water is known to cause fever, headaches, vomiting, liver damage, and kidney damage.