pouring water into glass

Here in the UK most of the water we can drink has already been filtered and purified before it hits out taps. However, other places in the world are less fortunate to have this service. Another source of water many people assume is healthy to drink are streams and lakes, while some may be you need to know about dangers of unpurified water and the effects it can have on your body.

Why is unpurified water dangerous?

There is a wide range of health concerns you should be aware of when drinking dirty or contaminated water. Unfortunately, many of the health hazards that may be caused to your body may not present themselves straight away. Some will affect you more depending on a matter of physical attributes such as age, health and physical condition.

Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Stomach or intestinal cramping
  • Stomach or intestinal pains
  • Gastrointestinal Problems

Even when symptoms do not appear within a couple of days of drinking the water your health could be at significant risk. For example, if water has been exposed to radium or radon gas, your body can take months even years to produce symptoms, some of the symptoms linked to these contaminants are heart disease and even cancer.

water in hands

How is water contaminated

Groundwater can become contaminated in a number of ways. In some cases chemicals are already there, however, may be presented in a more dangerous level. Alternatively, it can also be affected by sewage, fertilisers from neighbouring farms and fuel making its way through the soil.

There are a whole host of contaminants which can contaminate your water including:

  • Fecal Matter
  • Chemicals
  • E. coli Bacteria
  • Coliform Bacteria
  • Lead
  • Fluoride
  • Arsenic
  • Radium
  • Radon
  • Nitrates
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Microbial Pathogens
  • Parasites
  • Viruses

Bacterial Diseases

Bacterial diseases are often the most common health hazards a human can face, however just because they are the most common they can still be rather difficult to treat. Like most diseases or virus, bacterial diseases can in more serious cases become fatal. They continue to affect a wide range of people around the world and even here in the UK. E.Coli, for example, is a larger strain of bacterial infection which contains a few different types of bacteria. A few are relatively harmless however others within this group can attack your immune system much more. It can be a significant risk to those who are young and elderly, so if you believe top have E.coli make sure to seek medical advice as soon as possible.


Some of the most common symptoms you may face with a bacterial disease is stomach upset, diarrhoea and a strong fever. If treated correctly symptoms will subside within a week, however, during this time you will be losing a huge amount of liquids, and some people can suffer from dehydration as a result of it.


Many chemicals put in water is actually placed there to help purify the water which allows us to drink it and remain healthy. However, there are some that will seep into the water flow that can be more harmful to our bodies.


Flouride is used by thousands of people every day to help clean out their mouths and keep their teeth healthy and white. However, a heavy flow of fluoride going through the human body can damage a range of body parts. It can harm your thyroid gland and pineal gland.


For those who love to swim many of you will already know the uses of chlorine, however, many people will use it in swimming pools to disinfect, it can also be found in a range of domestic cleaning products. In some places, chlorine is also used to help purify drinking water. However, it has not been confirmed as entirely safe.

Chlorine reacts with the water including what is in your gut and in some cases will produce hydrochloric acid which is, in fact, a poisonous liquid. Regular exposure to high volumes of chlorine can cause respiratory issues and damage cells within your body.


Despite being a poisonous chemical, Arsenic is used within many industrial processes, if not disposed of in the correct way it can contaminate the environment. If wells are not manned well, or it has been exposed to Arsenic, it can often affect the natural water source.

Arsenic poisoning can be fairly serious; you can expect to experience diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting and in more serious cases death. Long-term symptoms can also be life-threatening Arsenic poisoning has been a link to a number of cancers such as skin, bladder and lung cancer.

glasses of clean water

Water supplies

Here in the UK, we are fairly fortunate when it comes to drinking water, while some of us throughout the country may experience harder water we have things that can be put into place to help reduce the limescale and other chemicals from affective us such as water conditioners which can be fitted by plumbers Milton Keynes.

In other countries around the world, they are less fortunate to have drinking water. Around 2.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water, as levels of contamination are so high. Below are a few of the worst places for drinking water:

  • Mexico – almost three-quarters of Mexico’s population drink water out of bottles, the country is the world’s leader when it comes to drinking packaged water as the water is so unsafe to drink.
  • Congo – a very small percentage of the population have access to drinking water, 21% of people have access which is double what it was five years ago.
  • Nigeria – it is one of the fastest growing countries when it comes to water quality. However, there is still around 15% of the population who are drinking contaminated water.

Risks of drinking unpurified water

There are so many risks to drinking unpurified water, unfortunately not everyone has access to safe drinking water. If you are going to visit any countries where the water may not be safe we recommend taking a trip to the doctors as there are a few jabs you can have before going which will help your immune system. If you feel your plumbing system may be leaking and exposed to contaminate get in touch with your local plumber.

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