Health Effects Of Iron In Drinking Water
Water in its purest forms does not have any taste. However, it is naturally a solvent and therefore absorbs most minerals. Iron, on the other hand is present in abundance in the earth and is also soluble in water. Drinking water with high content of iron gives an unappealing metallic aftertaste. Iron is not considered a health hazard. In fact it is an important element for the human body. Some amount of iron in drinking water may help to ward off anemia and exhaustion.
An easily noticeable characteristic of iron is that when dissolved in drinking water in high quantities, it gives a metallic taste to it. The water can even get decolorized and give a brownish appearance with some sedimentation. Water high in iron leaves an orange or red rust stain in the bathtub, sink or shower. Ceramic dishes if washed in a dishwasher get discolored. It enters water heaters and washing machines staining the clothes.
Drinking water with iron is nontoxic to ingest. However, the EPA cautions that iron sediments have trace impurities and may also harbor harmful bacteria. This type of bacteria forms a brownish slime in the water pipes and is called the iron bacteria. Iron may be a problem in wells with un-chlorinated water.
Iron is a vital element for health as one of its major roles is to form protein hemoglobin that carries oxygen to each and every body cell. Iron in present in most body enzymes and is used in cellular metabolism. Iron deficiency, exhaustion and anemia may occur due to low iron content in the body making one susceptible to other infections. Drinking water with high iron content is beneficial as it adds minor quantities of iron in one’s diet. Make sure you do not depend just on drinking water to meet your daily iron requirements, as it will not be adequate enough.
Few sections of the society, like children, women, non-Caucasians and the elderly, have higher chances of getting iron deficiency as compared to men. However, iron deficiency can be present in anyone and at all age groups.
A simple blood test indicates iron overload. Consuming large quantities of iron may result in iron overload, a condition that is generally the consequence of gene mutation. If untreated, iron overload leads to hemochromatosis - a disease that damages all body organs. It can result in liver problems, diabetes and liver problems. The initial symptoms may include loss of weight, joint pain and fatigue.
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