Residues of antibiotics and other drugs have been detected in wastewater treatment facilities and in the untreated water resource in many European countries.
Water disinfection with chlorine and ozone eliminates dangerous germs. Numerous checks are carried out on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, accidental and seasonal contamination can occur.
Water from private wells or springs in nature may contain bacteria.
The most common infection is E.coli. It manifests itself with symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, colic and mild fever.
Lead and heavy metals
Water, passing through lead pipes, will dissolve very small quantities of this metal, which will remain in the water in ionic form. Factors contributing to the increase in lead content are: low pH (in the case of fresh water), temperature, stagnation time, length of the pipes.
Even when absorbed in small amounts, lead can be harmful, especially to fetuses, babies and young children (lead poisoning).
Nitrates are mainly of agricultural origin and are constantly increasing.
The harmful effect is related to the conversion of nitrate to nitrite in the body, which interferes with the blood’s ability to transport oxygen.
Pesticides (or phytosanitary products) have the common objective of “protecting” plants against harmful organisms and destroying undesirable plants.
Pesticides, insecticides and herbicides are the other major sources of water pollution.
Pesticides enter our bodies through the oral, respiratory or dermal routes. The link between environmental degradation and poor health is clearly demonstrated.
Scale in water pipes is the result of the precipitation of calcium and magnesium dissolved in water, in the form of carbonate or, more rarely, sulphate.
Scale can provide an ideal place for the growth of bacteria such as Legionella bacteria.
Since 1911, chlorine has been used to disinfect drinking water worldwide. It destroys bacteria and viruses that are harmful to human health.
Under the Vigipirate plan, the dose of chlorine in the network has tripled to 0.3 mg per litre, with a residual at the tap of 0.1 mg per litre.
Chlorine can be absorbed by inhalation or ingestion.
It irritates the skin, eyes and respiratory system. These effects are not likely to develop at the chlorine concentration normally found.