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Can Unfiltered Tap Water Have Negative Effects on Your Immune System?

9379813470_169ddf2ccf_mThere are many different types of contaminants that show up in New Hampshire’s tap water, and different contaminants interact with our bodies in different ways. For example, some contaminants can be damaging to our immune systems, and exposure to these contaminants can impair our bodies’ ability to fight off illnesses and diseases. Today we’re going to talk about how unfiltered tap water can affect your immune system, the types of people whose immune systems are especially at risk of damage and what you can do to prevent your water from affecting your immune system!

How can unfiltered water affect your immune system?

Exposure to any of the following tap water contaminants can put your immune system at risk:

  • Perfluorinated compounds (PFC’s). PFC’s are manmade chemicals that are used as ingredients in products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. Industrial plants often dump these chemicals into bodies of water that sometimes connect with public water supplies. The presence of PFC’s in tap water are known to decrease immune cell populations in the people who drink it.
  • Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium is a parasite that is responsible for a large majority of waterborne illnesses in the United States. The thing that makes cryptosporidium particularly dangerous is that it is resistant to chlorine, which is one of the most commonly used disinfectants by water treatment plants. Exposure to cryptosporidium can cause severe intestinal problems in anybody, but it can be life threatening for people who have weakened immune systems.
  • Chlorine. As we mentioned above, chlorine is commonly used by water treatment plants as a disinfectant. When chlorine interacts with organic matter in water, it produces chemical compounds known as trihalomethanes (THM’s). These compounds damage your immune system when you breathe them in via water vapors in the shower.

If you have a weakened immune system, be extra careful about unfiltered tap water

There are some groups of people who already have weakened immune systems, and they should be especially cautious about using unfiltered tap water at home. These people include:

  • People who suffer from HIV
  • People who have been diagnosed with hematological malignancies
  • People who have had an organ transplant
  • People with other congenital or acquired immune system dysfunctions

If you or anyone in your family is included in any of those groups, have your water tested by McBride’s to find out if it contains any of the contaminants we listed above.

How can you prevent unfiltered water from affecting your immune system?

The best way to prevent immune system damage from unfiltered tap water is to install a whole house water filtration system. A whole house system will not only provide filtered drinking water at every tap, but it will also remove contaminants from water vapor in the shower. In order to address the contaminants above, we recommend installing either an activated carbon filter or a reverse osmosis system.
If you have any questions about unfiltered water’s effects on your immune system, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact McBride’s Water Advantage, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Epsom, NH. We provide service all over New Hampshire, including towns like Alton, Hooksett and Barrington, NH.
photo credit: jarbo via photopin (license)