3 Major Water Issues Currently Plaguing Bergen County and Surrounding NJ Counties
Passaic Bergen Water has been servicing Bergen County and its surrounding area for over 60 years. After performing thousands of free in-home water tests it is very clear that there are 3 major water issues that can affect your home and most importantly your health.
Lead is all around us; in fact, everyone has at least some trace amount of the heavy metal in their body. While small amounts are completely harmless, exposure to larger quantities can cause serious illness, known collectively as lead poisoning.
Symptoms of lead poisoning may include one or more of the following:
- Aching joints
- Fatigue/low energy
- Aching muscles
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
Is Lead Water Really a Problem?
We’ve known about the dangers of lead-tainted water for decades now. As a result, some people assume it’s no longer a problem. But statistics show that 14-20% of all lead exposure in the United States occurs through drinking water.
One of the largest instances of lead-tainted water exposure in recent years occurred in Flint, Michigan. In 2014, the city switched its tap water source from the Detroit Water and Sewage system to the Flint River. It was later determined that officials failed to install the necessary corrosion inhibitors. Combined with aging pipes, this led to one of the nation’s worst cases of lead poisoning in recent years, exposing 6,000 to 12,000 children to high levels of heavy metal neurotoxin.
Of course, the Flint River incident is just one of many instances in which public drinking water systems have been contaminated with lead.
How Lead Enters Drinking Water
Lead can enter drinking water in many ways, the most common of which is lead plumbing components. Homes constructed before 1986, for instance, may feature lead pipes, fixtures, fittings and other plumbing components. When these components begin to age, they’ll release lead which ends up in the water.
Warning Signs of Lead in Water
So, how do you know if your family’s tap water is tainted with lead? Unfortunately, you cannot see, taste or smell lead in drinking water. This is why exposure often goes unnoticed for years, resulting in severe poisoning that subsequently leads to neurological and other health problems.
How to get peace of mind
The only sure-fire way to know if your tap water is tainted with lead is by testing it. A simple, FREE in-home water test can reveal whether or not there’s lead present, and if so, how much lead is present in your water. To schedule a free test please fill out the form below or call us at 800-955-8476.
For anyone who has had a fish aquarium, when they add water to their tank they know to use products that will de-chlorinate tap water. If chlorine in water is bad for fish, is it also bad for humans? What is the good, the bad and the ugly about chlorinated drinking water?
Chlorination is the most common method used to remove pathogens from drinking water. The good news is that if you drink chlorinated water you won’t be consuming organisms like viruses, bacteria and parasites. In fact, there are federal laws that demand that public water be treated to destroy pathogens and chlorine is the preferred chemical treatment method. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established an acceptable guideline of 4 parts per million ratio of chlorine levels in drinking water. However, is that benefit worth drinking chlorinated water? Is chlorine, at any level, safe for human consumption and regular exposure through bathing and other personal hygiene practices?
Research published by the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality with regard to the side effects of drinking chlorinated water:
- Cancer risk is 93% higher for drinkers of chlorinated water as compared to those who do not drink chlorine treated water.
- Americans are routinely consuming water that tests 300-600 times higher than safe standards established by the EPA
- Hot showers can create chlorine fumes that are concentrated exponentially to dangerous levels and then inhaled, irritating sensitive tissues. This takes chlorine gas directly into the blood stream where contaminants must be filtered by the kidneys.
- Chlorinated water also has a very drying effect upon the skin.
Chlorine is a highly toxic chemical. In addition to it being a bad actor all on its own, it is often partnered with other products to purify drinking water. Mixed together a water purification chemical cocktail can create Trihalomethanes (THMs). These are chlorine by-products that, when consumed, stimulate the production of free radicals in the human body. Free radicals are, of course, radical. They wreak biological havoc destroying good cells and are, in essence, carcinogenic. Chlorine itself is designed to destroy living organisms. Its mission doesn’t recognize an aquatic boundary. When consumed or applied to the skin it simply does what it does best. It continues to destroy the cells and living tissue of the body.
Water can move across cell membranes because of osmosis. Simply stated osmosis is the movement of water from a less concentrated solution to a more concentrated solution through a partially permeable membrane. Water molecules because of pressure and temperature can be pressed to move through the semi-permeable membrane leaving behind the other unwanted particles (or molecules).
In terms of drinking water the process of reverse osmosis insures that all impurities and other molecules other than H2O are separated providing you with the purest water possible.
3. Hard Water
Residential hard water presents numerous problems in a typical household, ranging from water-spotted dishes to clogged pipes. Importantly, hard water also has a direct impact on those living with it. When evaluating the impact of water quality on the home, it is important to consider hard water and skin issues.
Hard water may adversely affect the skin in a wide variety of ways:
Hard water leaves many telltale signs like soap scum on bathroom fixtures and clogged shower heads. Just as the calcium and magnesium in hard water can clog shower heads while creating soap scum, so too can it clog the pores in your skin. When this occurs, your body’s natural oils cannot emerge through those pores like they normally do. This can lead to the development of blemishes and pimples.
Itchy, Red Skin
Clogged pores reduce the amount of those natural oils on the surface of your skin, potentially resulting in dryness and itchiness. The minerals found in hard water also strip the skin of the moisture otherwise preserved by these lubricating oils.
Trapped Skin Cells
The soapy residue left by hard water traps dead skin cells and dirt that would otherwise be washed away. A transition from hard to soft water often results in a noticeable “slippery” feeling to the skin. Now that those lubricating oils are not stripped away, they remain to do their job, moisturizing and soothing the skin.
Aggravate Pre-existing Conditions
Eczema sufferers, already dealing with patches of irritated, dry skin, are particularly affected by hard water. It is also associated with rosacea. Soft water will not cure any chronic skin disorder or disease. However, it may lessen uncomfortable and unattractive symptoms.
Premature Skin Aging
Calcium and magnesium are minerals linked to the development of free radicals that can damage otherwise healthy skin cells. Free radicals have also been linked to the breakdown of collagen, a protein that otherwise gives skin a healthy, firm look. This can lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. Hard water interferes with the normal interaction between soap and water. The resulting soap scum remains on the skin.
Hard Water = Less Efficient
Because of the problems associated with getting a good lather, etc., those with hard water may use more soaps, and related products. Therefore, there are potential cost-savings associated with the use of soft water. For example, soft water allows some individuals to reduce or eliminate certain personal products like body wash and lotion.
A hard water study cited by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided evidence of an increased risk of eczema in school-age children. Those that conducted the research looked at the prevalence of eczema among 4,141 primary-school students. The study found a direct correlation between water hardness in the home and cases of eczema. More than one-in-six, or 17.3 percent of students exposed to the highest of four hard water levels had eczema at some point during the previous year. More than one-in-four had the skin condition at some point in their lives. Since the eczema rate for those living with the lowest level of hard water was just 12.0 percent, exposure to the highest hard water levels increased the likelihood of eczema by almost 50 percent.
The Soft Water Solution
Simply put, when compared to hard water, soft water cleans better. It cleans clothing better, and it cleans dishes better. Interestingly, it also cleans your skin better. When it’s time to lather up, soft water is up to the task. It is gentler on skin, and it allows more better cleansing..
Passaic Bergen Water Softening serves most of northern New Jersey through its three locations. We are proud to offer the innovative, reliable water softeners manufactured by Watercare, including the CareSoft Elite RC®. We’d welcome the opportunity to address your water quality issues. For a complimentary consultation, please contact us today!