Safe drinking water is vital for good overall health. Yet, the drinking water is not safe in many places worldwide. In fact drinking water is linked to infections in many countries, reported Science Daily on Feb. 28, 2014.
In Australia Brisbane's water supply has been found to contain disease carrying bugs which can be directly associated with infections in some patients, according to a new study by Queensland University of Technology. Dr Rachel Thomson, who obtained her PhD with QUT's Faculty of Health, has said certain species of nontuberculous mycobacteria have been observed in Brisbane's water distribution system. She said, "We know that certain species of nontuberculous mycobacteria can cause disease and infection in humans, especially in some at-risk groups, but not all exposure to mycobacteria is harmful."
Thomson has gone on to say this problem is not isolated to Brisbane. Water supplies in many countries are clearly at risk. This study has directly linked the strains of bugs found in Brisbane's water supply with the strains of bugs which are found in human infections, therefore indicating that the water may be the source of the infection. With mycobacterial infections patients usually present with a persistent cough with symptoms
which are similar to tuberculosis and include fatigue, night sweats and weight loss.
This study also investigated whether household water exposure through aerosols by activities such as showering could lead to infection. Dr Thomson said, "We found that nontuberculous mycobacteria could be aerosolized during showering to a respirable particle size and therefore potentially inhaled deep into the lungs." People are therefore at risk of infection from exposure to Brisbane's water and showers. The easiest way to kill water-borne mycobacteria is by boiling water. It is suggested by this study that additional water chlorination through the water treatment process may also help. And in order reduce aerosolized mycobacteria, bathing instead of showering is recommended.
Physicians for Social Responsibility reports there are many types of pollutants which can contaminate drinking water and cause illness and disease. It is possible for all water to be contaminated by a number of impurities, whether it comes from a lake, a river, an underground aquifer, a well, a public water utility, or even bottled water. Contaminants may include chemicals like pesticides, heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, human and animal waste, and even chemical by-products which are created during drinking water treatment. Exposure to these contaminants can cause a number of health problems, which range from nausea and stomach pain to developmental problems and even cancer. It is therefore vitally important to always try to make certain your water for drinking and cleaning is not contaminated.