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Metals

(Al) ALUMINUM (MCL=0.2 mg/l) is naturally present in drinking water and is added at water utilities. Most is removed, but a residue may sometimes be passed into treated water. Aluminum may discolor water.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(As) ARSENIC (MCL=0.05 mg/l) in drinking water can result from both natural process and industrial activities, including smelting operators, use of certain pesticides, and industrial waste disposal. Arsenic compounds have been shown to produce acute and chronic toxic effects, which include systemic and irreversible damage. EPA has classified it as a known human carcinogen.

Recommended Treatment: Reverse Osmosis, Distillation or Activated Alumina

(Ba) BARIUM (MCL=2 mg/l) is naturally occurring in many types of rocks. In stream water and most ground water, only traces of the element are present. Barium levels average about 0.05 mg/l in potable waters but may range as high as 0.9 mg/l in some natural waters. Barium levels more than 1 mg/l, indicates water is being polluted by industrial waste. Exposure has been associated with hypertension and toxicity in animals.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Cd) CADMIUM (MCL=0.005 mg/l) is found in very low levels in most rocks, as well as in coal, petroleum and often in combination with zinc. It is introduced into the environment from mining and smelting operations, fossil fuel use, fertilizer application, sewage sludge disposal or galvanized pipe corrosion. The cadmium level of drinking water in the United States is estimated to range between 0.0004 mg/l and 0.060 mg/l with an average of about 0.008 mg/l. Cadmium is highly toxic when taken by mouth or inhaled and has been implicated in some cases of food poisoning. 2 mg/l has been found lethal to certain fish. Exposure to cadmium in animals and humans may cause hypertension, anemia, and kidney effects.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Ca) CALCIUM exists in soil and rock. Drinking water contributes only a small amount of the required daily intake. Levels as great as 1800 mg/l of calcium in water are reported harmless. It contributes to the hardness of the water and the build-up on pipes or water heaters may inhibit their performance. Low levels can be helpful as it tends to form a protective coating on pipes.

Recommended Treatment: Water Softener

(Cr) CHROMIUM (MCL=0.1 mg/l) is a naturally occurring metal. Chromium levels in potable waters greater than 0.003 mg/l indicates presence of industrial waste. It is used in electroplating of metals. Chromium is a suspected carcinogen and exposure at high levels has been shown to result in chronic toxic effects such as dermatitis, ulceration of skin or liver, and kidney damage in animals and humans by ingestion.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Cu) COPPER (MCL=1.3 mg/l) is naturally occurring in many waters. Water can be a significant source of copper intake depending upon the geographic location, water character, water temperature, and the presence of copper pipes. The average copper level in potable waters is 0.03 mg/l and will range up to 0.6 mg/l in natural water from some areas. At levels above 1 mg/l, copper can stain laundry and plumbing fixtures. Copper can also cause a greenish/blue tint to blond hair. Copper is an essential element at lower levels but levels above 5 mg/l can cause gastrointestinal disturbances or other acute toxic effects.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, or "Soda Ash" Feed

(Fe) IRON (MCL=0.3) in drinking water is a common problem. It occurs naturally from rock or introduced by plumbing materials. When iron comes in contact with oxygen, it changes to a reddish compound that discolors bathroom fixtures and laundry. At this time, there are no known health effects from elevated iron in drinking water.

Recommended Treatment: Water Softener, Aeration and Filtration, Ozonation, or Distillation

(Pb) LEAD (MCL=0.015 mg/l) seldom is found in ground waters in more than trace quantities and averages about 0.010 mg/l. The main source of lead in drinking water is leaching from lead piping and lead solders. Lead enters primarily in areas having soft, acidic waters. Lead tends to accumulate in the bone structure when ingested levels exceed the natural elimination rate of about 0.3 mg/day. Accumulation of lead in the body may result in severe and permanent brain damage, convulsions and death. Children and fetuses are especially sensitive to lead poisoning. When elevated lead levels are found, consult a physician.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, or "Soda Ash" Feed

(Mg) MAGNESIUM (See Calcium) is commonly found in rocks such as granite, sandstone, limestone and dolomites.

Recommended Treatment: Water Softener

(Mn) MANGANESE (MCL=0.05 mg/l) naturally occurs in many waters but can also be introduced by industry. It can produce a brownish discoloration and have a very unpleasant odor and taste. It may produce black deposits and black filaments. Chlorine bleach should not be used in laundry washed in water with high iron or manganese content because it can cause stains to occurred at elevated levels much higher than levels found in most natural waters.

Recommended Treatment: Water Softener, Aeration and Filtration, Ozonation, or Distillation

(Hg) MERCURY (MCL=0.002mg/l) is one of the least abundant elements in the earthís crust. This metal is used in electrical equipment and some water pumps. It usually gets into water as a result of improper waste disposal. Prolonged mercury ingestion can cause loss of muscle control, kidney damage, personality changes, and permanent brain damage.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Ni) NICKEL (MCL=0.1 mg/l) is seldom found in natural waters. Nickel is often used in electroplating, stainless steel and alloy products. It generally gets into water from mining and refining operations. The absorption of dietary nickel from the gastrointestinal tract appears to be quite low, with majority of nickel passed through the body.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Se) Selenium (MCL=0.05 mg/l) is seldom found in natural waters in excess of 0.01 mg/l. Selenium in natural waters in concentrations greater than 0.5 mg/l are rare. The presence of selenium in natural waters can be due to seepage from soils or industrial waste. It is used in electronics, photocopy operations, chemicals, drugs, glass manufacturing, and as a fungicide and feed additive. Selenium is very toxic to man and animals. It exhibits properties similar to those of arsenic. Trace amounts of are essential to maintain normal body metabolism. It can cause dermatitis or effect the nervous system.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Ag) SILVER (MCL=0.1 mg/l) is a relatively rare metal originating from natural sources and from industrial waste. The silver concentration in U.S. drinking waters reportedly varies between 0 and 0.002 mg/l. The only adverse effect resulting from chronic exposure to low levels of silver in animals and humans is a blue-gray discoloration of the skin and internal organs.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis

(Na) SODIUM (MCL=250 mg/l) in water can come from geological sources, road salt or as a result of using a water softener. A level of 20 mg/l in drinking water is suggested by the EPA for the high risk population of hypertensive and heart patients. If your sodium intake is being monitored, consult a doctor for advice.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation, Reverse Osmosis, or Demineralization

( Zn) ZINC (MCL=5 mg/l) is considered an essential element in human and animal nutrition. It may come from industrial contamination or corrosion of plumbing. In concentrations over 5 mg/l, zinc produces an objectionable taste and may cause water to appear milky, or upon boiling, to seem to have a greasy surface scum. Cases of zinc poisoning have been reported from prolonged consumption of water at concentrations of 40 mg/l.

Recommended Treatment: Distillation or Reverse Osmosis


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