Toxins In The Water; Spotlight on 13 Really Nasty Substances

Water contamination isn’t something that happens only by way of chemical spills and large-scale dumping. The increased rate of contaminants in water we see today is being highlighted in many reports on toxins in the water.

This is showing up in all manner of contaminated water disease (CWD) observed in livestock drinking water that isn’t safe, right through to the last time you heard about someone drinking tap water overseas.

Toxins in the Water and CWD

CWD refers to a variety of illnesses that can be caused by drinking water that has been contaminated with harmful substances such as:

  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • parasites, and
  • chemicals.

These illnesses can range in severity from mild stomach upset to serious and life-threatening conditions, such as cholera, typhoid fever, and hepatitis A.

Research has shown that contaminated water can also contain harmful chemicals that can cause long-term health effects such as cancer. 1

You may well wonder if there are going to be forever chemicals in water. Unfortunately, it seems that way.

Microplastics – How Safe Is Your Drinking Water?

Have you ever heard of microplastics? Microplastics are extremely small pieces of plastic that can be inhaled or ingested, and they have been found in various environmental samples including air, rainwater, and soil.

Studies have shown that microplastics can be present in rainwater, and they may be able to travel long distances through the atmosphere before being deposited back onto the Earth’s surface. 2

The presence of microplastics in rainwater is a concern because it suggests that these tiny plastic particles are widespread in the environment and may be affecting the health of ecosystems and wildlife.

Not only that, the effects on the human body are still unclear as to how potentially devastating these can be to our health. There is still much that is unknown about the potential health effects of microplastics. 3

It is understood that there is a risk of inhaling or ingesting microplastics, which could lead to health problems. But, as with many things, the talking heads are saying that more research is needed to understand the full extent of the risks.

Some studies have suggested that microplastics may have the potential to cause a variety of health problems, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and genotoxicity. 4 5

As much as you will hear that ‘further research is needed to understand the full extent of the problem and to determine the best ways to address it’ being touted as the party line, you can take steps to get them out of your drinking water.

How To Remove Microplastics From Drinking Water

It depends on the type of water filter you are using. Some water filters are designed to remove microplastics from drinking water, while others are not. In general, water filters that use physical filtration, such as sediment filters and micron filters, may be able to remove some microplastics from drinking water.

These types of filters work by trapping particles, including microplastics, as the water passes through the filter.

toxins in the water - Robot

However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of a water filter in removing microplastics may depend on many factors, including the size of the microplastics, the specifications of the filtering equipment or system being used, and the overall water quality to begin with.

Other methods can be used to remove microplastics from drinking water, including treatment with chemicals such as coagulants and flocculants, which can help bind the microplastics together and make them easier to filter out. 6

However, these methods are not always effective and may have other negative impacts on the water quality.

Overall, it is important to be aware of the potential presence of microplastics in drinking water and to choose a water filter that is appropriate for removing these contaminants if they are a concern.

It is also a good idea to regularly maintain and replace your water filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that it is functioning properly.

Why Drinkable Water Is Critical

Life needs oxygen and water to survive. Air and water quality affect our environmental and human well-being. In poor conditions where the air quality is low or water is dirty or toxic, not only is health impacted, but the economy is also significantly affected.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the country you lived in made clean rivers with drinkable water an economic metric? I have yet to find an example of this anywhere.

Toxins in the water certainly have a significant impact on economic growth. So why is this not regarded as an economic metric?

The chain reaction of which air quality is a key component is also worth considering. As the quality of air and water diminishes, so does the general health of the population, along with livestock and agricultural yields.

Water also needs oxygen to survive. In science, we know that water is made up of one part Hydrogen and two parts Oxygen (H2O). When the combination of pollution from sewage, bacteria, chemicals, and plastics removes the oxygen from the water, the water becomes poisonous.

And we’re not even discussing pollutants at unsafe levels here.

Most people know that you can kill most harmful bacteria and microorganisms by boiling. But this does nothing to remove the toxins in the water and microplastics.

What I find scary is the number of people who are not even aware of the chemicals and toxins in the water that is piped into their homes.

We are told that chlorine and fluoride are added to the water to kill the harmful bacteria, but then we do not think of them as chemicals or toxins in the water as we are drinking them. According to the Washington State Department of Health, there is a correlation between the chlorination of drinking water and a reduction in the death rates for Typhoid Fever from the early 1900s to the 1960s. 7

I’m pretty sure that we have technology which is much less harmful today that could ensure drinking water is clean rather than still using technology from over 100 years ago.

In our waters here in Melbourne, Australia many different chemicals come out of our taps. The accumulative effect of all these toxins is not good for us. 8

That’s not to say that all that has been done is bad. I’m simply saying that we can be better. Consider the journey Melbourne has taken as provided by Melbourne Water.

I’m not so sure I’ll get mine ‘straight from the tap’ without it first going through my water filter. But that’s just me.

What are Some of the Toxins in the Water?

Let’s consider the most common water contaminants found to date. These typically include: 9

  1. Ammonia
  2. Fluoride
  3. Chlorine
  4. Arsenic
  5. Heavy metals (led and mercury)
  6. PCB’s
  7. Pesticides and Herbicides
  8. Perchlorate
  9. Dioxins
  10. Nitrates
  11. MtBE
  12. PFOA – Perfluorooctanoic acid (Teflon), and
  13. Microplastics

Did you know that some of the chemicals in water have been found to increase neurotoxicity in humans? 10

Toxins in the Water – From a Small Town to the Silver Screen

You may know of the story about Erin Brockovich, a former legal clerk who made a name for herself by fighting for the rights of Hinkley, Californian citizens for clean water. This became a blockbuster drama/romance movie in 2000 starring Julia Roberts.

The case involved Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) who were found to be guilty of polluting the water making it unsafe to consume. One of the chemicals identified as having leached into the water is Chromium-6, which is a cancer-causing chemical. 11

In 1996, Erin Brockovich took on California’s Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and won.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as Teflon, is quickly becoming the largest water contaminant. Perfluorooctanoic acid has many uses from coats for non-stick pans to fire-retardant foams for suppressing fires.

toxins in the water - Erin Brockovich

The challenge with PFOA’s is that they are artificial chemicals that don’t break down. Exposure to excessive amounts of this chemical has been linked to several chronic health conditions. 12

These chemicals are leeching into the waterways and are a major health concern. With more than 80 thousand chemicals available on the market, there is no telling what they are doing to our health and environment.

It’s OK, It’s got Fluoride Added

Water authorities have been adding fluoride to our water for almost a century now.

In 1945, Michigan, the United States started adding calcium fluoride to tap water. 13

In Australia, water fluoridation began in the 1950s, and the chemical was popularised on television as helping to improve dental health. 14

Oh, wow! Don’t you just love what the thumbnail for the above YouTube video was automatically selected as?!

Why? Fluoride has been attributed to improving oral health. The intention was to reduce tooth decay.

However, there is some controversy that Fluorinate and Fluoride have adverse health effects. There have been reports that too much Fluoride damages teeth (dental fluorosis), bones and joints (skeletal fluorosis), and neurological development. 15

In 2012, Fluoride was documented as a neurotoxin. 16

So, Fluoride now falls into the same category as other chemicals, including lead, arsenic, toluene, and methylmercury.

In March 2014, Dr. Phillippe Granjean and Philip J. Landrigan published an article that looked closely at the connections between fluoride and its neurotoxin potential in the world’s most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. 17

The International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), has contributed the following health concerns to added fluoride: 18

  • Cardiac failure
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Lower fertility rates
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Various forms of cognitive impairment
  • Osteoarthritis, and
  • Myocardial damage to name a few.


Drinking water that is contaminated with toxins can be harmful to your health. Toxins in the water can come from a variety of sources, including agricultural and industrial runoff, sewage, and natural deposits in the environment.

When you drink water that is contaminated with toxins, these substances can enter your body and cause a variety of negative health effects. Some toxins can cause immediate symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, while others can have long-term effects on your health, including an increased risk of cancer and other serious diseases.

To protect your health from toxins in the water, it is important to make sure that the drinking water you consume is safe and clean.


  1. “Arsenic” – World Health Organization, 7 December 2022 [WHO] [Archive] ↩︎
  2. “Microplastics washout from the atmosphere during a monsoon rain event” – S. Abbasi, 22 September 2021 [ScienceDirect] [Archive] ↩︎
  3. “Human health concerns regarding microplastics in the aquatic environment – From marine to food systems” – Z. Yuan, R. Nag, E. Cummins, 9 December 2021 [ScienceDirect] [Archive] ↩︎
  4. “A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health” – C. Campanale, C. Massarelli, I. Savino, V. Locaputo, V. F. Uricchio, 13 February 2020 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  5. “Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of polyethylene microplastics on human peripheral blood lymphocytes” – H. Çobanoğlu, M. Belivermiş, E. Sıkdokur, Ö. Kılıç, A. Çayır, 30 January 2021 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  6. “The removal of microplastics from water by coagulation: A comprehensive review” – W. Tang, H. Li, L. Fei, B. Wei, T. Zhou, H. Zhang, 6 June 2022 [ScienceDirect] [Archive] ↩︎
  7. “Chlorination of Drinking Water” – Washington State Department of Health Staff, Last Checked 6 January 2023 [Washington State Department of Health] [Archive] ↩︎
  8. “Melbourne’s water supply” – Yarra Valley water Staff, Last Checked 6 January 2023 [Yarra Valley Water] [Archive] ↩︎
  9. “Water quality testing” – Melbourne Water Staff, 7 December 2022 [Melbourne Water] [Archive] ↩︎
  10. “Drinking Water and Health: Volume 6, Chapter 4: Neurotoxic Effects” – National Research Council (US), Safe Drinking Water Committee, R. D. Thomas, 1986 [National Library of Medicine] [Archive] ↩︎
  11. “Utility to Pay $333 Million to Settle Suit” – F. Clifford, 3 July 1996 [Los Angeles Times] [Archive] ↩︎
  12. “Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) Factsheet” – National Biomonitoring Program Staff, 7 April 2017 [CDC] [Archive] ↩︎
  13. “The Story of Fluoridation” – National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Staff, July 2018 [NIH] [Archive] ↩︎
  14. “Introduction of fluoride” – National Museum Australia Staff, 27 September 2022 [National Museum Australia] [Archive] ↩︎
  15. “Developmental fluoride neurotoxicity: an updated review” – P. Grandjean, 19 December 2019 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  16. “Impact of fluoride on neurological development in children” – School of Public Health Staff, 27 July 2012 [Harvard T H Chan] [Archive] ↩︎
  17. “Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity” – P. Grandjean, P. J. Landrigan, 1 March 2014 [The Lancet – Neurology] [Archive] ↩︎
  18. “Fluoride Exposure and Human Health Risks” – J. Kall, G. Cole, 28 September 2017 [IAOMT] [Archive] ↩︎

Last Updated on 4 months by D&C Editorial Team

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About the Author

Luke has a background in bodybuilding and martial arts. His fitness focus drove his interest in health. After learning about what a plant based diet can offer he began to transition from a carnivorous diet to one that comprised of more plants and wholefoods. A devotee of clean drinking water, and clean eating, Luke is on a life long path to fulfillment and understanding.

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