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Contaminants Found In Well Water

Wondering what microorganisms (germs) and chemicals can be found in your well water, and what they can do to your health?  Here is a list of some of them. 


           
Microorganisms Health Effects*
 * Healthy individuals may have mild or no symptoms from these infections.  They will usually recover without long-term health problems.  However, persons with weakened immune systems may have more severe or life-threatening illnesses.
Bacteria

Campylobacter

· Diarrhea
(sometimes bloody), cramping, abdominal pain, and fever

Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7

· Bloody or non-bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps; little or no fever

· Can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and kidney failure in young children or the elderly

Salmonella

· Diarrhea, typhoid fever, stomach cramps

· Infection can spread from intestines to blood and other body sites,causing serious illness

Shigella

· Watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, upset stomach

· Vomiting and stomach cramping may also occur

Viruses

Enterovirus

· Usually causes mild upper respiratory, “flu-like” symptoms with fever and muscle pains, or a rash

· Meningitis is less common, and illnesses that affect the heart and brain may occur, but are very rare

Hepatitis A

· Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), dark urine, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach ache

· Most infected adults will show symptoms while children often do not have symptoms (but could still pass the virus to others)

Norovirus (Norwalk)

· Upset stomach, cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea

· Headache and low-grade fever may also occur

Rotavirus

· Vomiting, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever

Protozoa
Cryptosporidium

· Diarrhea, loose or watery stool, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and fever


· Usually causes mild illness, but can be serious or fatal for people with weakened immune systems

Giardia

· Diarrhea, loose or watery stool, stomach cramps 

· Usually causes mild illness, but can be serious or fatal for people
with weakened immune systems

Chemicals   Health Effects**
 

** These health effects are caused by consuming large doses of chemicals. 

Atrazine

· Short-term: congestion of heart, lungs, and kidneys; low blood pressure; muscle spasms; weight loss; damage to adrenal glands

· Long-term: weight loss, cardiovascular damage, eye and muscle degeneration; cancer

Arsenic

· Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis, and blindness

· Can also cause skin damage, circulatory system problems, and increased risk of cancer 

Copper

· An essential nutrient at very low levels 

· High level exposure causes upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps 

· Long-term exposure at high levels can also cause liver and kidney problems

Lead

· Delayed physical and mental development in babies 

· Shortened attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children

· Slightly increased blood pressures in adults 

 

· Long-term exposure at high levels can include stroke, kidney disease and cancer

Mercury

· Kidney damage

Nitrate

· Methemoglobinemia – a blood disorder that causes shortness of breath and blueness of skin, and can lead to serious illness or death

· Methmoglobinemia mainly affects infants and pregnant women

· Long-term effects include increased urination and bleeding of the spleen

Radium

· Increases risk of cancer

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

· Drowsiness and decreased responsiveness

· Skin irritation

· Some cause cancer after long-term exposure



Revised Summer 2003

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/healthywater/factsheets/contaminants.htm






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5/30/2017 at 6:03:09 AM
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