Water, the essence of life itself, is indispensable to all living creatures, from the smallest microorganisms to us, humans. However, there exists a paradoxical truth: what gives life can also take it away. This paradox manifests when water is contaminated and infiltrated by foreign elements like chemicals and microorganisms.
When these intruders pollute water, its quality rapidly deteriorates, turning it into a toxic hazard. Interacting with this contaminated water can result in contracting numerous diseases, some of which leave lasting impacts on the body. Therefore, for your safety and understanding, it is essential to recognize these dangers and take proactive steps to avoid them. Here’s what you need to know.
A Look Back in Time
Contaminated water can wreak havoc on your body. Initially, you may experience short-term problems like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, but the longer you continue drinking contaminated water, the more your health can deteriorate. In extreme cases, there is also a chance that the chemicals present in your water can later develop into cancer. This was the case that occurred at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987.
Camp Lejeune is a marine base camp in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Marine Corps personnel and their families were heavily exposed to contaminated water that significantly impacted their health during this period. Since this significant mishap endangered lives and hospitalized numerous patients with minimal chance of recovery, there was widespread investigation, leading to multiple lawsuits.
To date, cases resulting from this incident haven’t concluded, so if you’re a victim or have a loved one who was present at Camp Lejeune, law firms like Sokolove Law are willing to help you resolve this personal injury claim. Most lawsuits like these end in a settlement, meaning your claim may compensate you for your suffering. In other words, if you’re a veteran and a victim of the Camp Lejeune incident, there are legal procedures in place that can help you.
Long-Term Consequences Of Water Contamination
Ingesting contaminated water can cause many health-related problems; the following can provide you a better glimpse of what those are:
When water passes through old pipes, there’s a high chance that it can get contaminated with lead. Similarly, the chemicals used in mass-production plants are rich in lead, so once they get dumped into water bodies, they can contaminate the entire stream. Lead is incredibly harmful to your health. It is particularly detrimental for children since their bodies cannot handle extreme levels of metal. Consuming lead-rich water can cause health conditions like anemia, high blood pressure, fertility issues, miscarriages, and preterm birth.
Arsenic is another heavy metal that can contaminate water. If you drink water laced with arsenic, you can contract Arsenicosis. This is another chronic condition when small doses of arsenic enter your body. After a certain point, your body may have too much arsenic flowing through it. Once you hit the tipping point, you may start having bladder, kidney, lungs, and skin complications.
Prolonged exposure can lead to cancer. But that’s not all arsenic can do. The more this metal accumulates in your body, you may also develop other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and neurotoxicity.
This metal is also dangerous for pregnant women, as it can impact fetal development and cause difficulties after delivery. Children are also extremely vulnerable to arsenic since high levels can stunt their development.
Liver And Kidney Damage
Chemical pollutants such as Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and chlorinated solvents can heavily damage your liver and kidney. If the water you’re consuming is rich in these chemicals, there’s a high chance you may come down with liver inflammation and kidney failure.
You may also develop kidney stones from prolonged exposure. Unless you immediately change your water, gradually, these chemicals may trickle into your nervous system. The toxins can damage your DNA, destroying your brain cells, resulting in neurobehavioral issues and cognitive dysfunction.
MTBE and chlorinated solvents are carcinogenic. This means if you drink water laced with chemical pollutants, you increase the likelihood of developing cancer. Carcinogens can alter the DNA and cause your cells to divide uncontrollably, forming tumors.
On the other hand, if you drink water contaminated with nitrate, you may introduce N-nitroso compounds (NOC) in your body, which are potential carcinogens. Once this cancer spreads, it can cause tumors in your esophagus, bladder, brain, and kidney. Over time, your health can decline; the more you delay getting help, the worse your symptoms may get.
Cancer is an expensive and painful disease to treat. Apart from the cost of treatment, you may come down with chronic pain, experience unpleasant side effects, and undergo a massive shift in your lifestyle.
Hepatitis is a very contagious disease that primarily hurts the liver. If you drink water contaminated with the hepatitis A virus (HAV) or come into close contact with an infected individual, you may come down with hepatitis A. Similarly, if you use this water to prepare food or wash your hands, you can still catch the disease.
Generally, areas with poor sanitation and hygiene are at risk of an outbreak. When you come down with Hepatitis A, you will experience unusual symptoms like abdominal pain, depression, nausea, and fatigue.
As your illness escalates, you may notice a tremendous loss in your weight, jaundice, fever, and a decline in appetite. While some cases of Hepatitis A subside within a few weeks, others can worsen with time and last several months.
Trachoma is a type of eye infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis. This disease spreads quickly in areas that lack access to clean water. Once the water is contaminated with the bacteria, it is inevitable that you will get infected. Trachoma also spreads through direct personal contact. So, if you’re infected but touch someone’s hand share towels or clothes, you can cause the bacteria to spread out.
The primary target of this bacteria is your eye. Once it reaches there, it can cause intense scarring in your eyelids. This, in turn, can cause your eyelashes to scratch your cornea. Consequently, you may be in immense pain and, in extreme cases, end up with a damaged cornea, resulting in irreversible blindness.
Water is a source of life. Yet once it is contaminated, it can no longer sustain you. Water can get polluted with numerous pathogens. Depending on the contaminant, you can end up with different types of infections. These include kidney damage, cancer, and hepatitis A. So, if you believe you have been exposed to contaminated water, get yourself the help you need today.