It is not uncommon to hear about stories of water contamination.
Contamination of drinking water can pose many health risks. Just because you live or work in a new environment doesn’t mean your drinking water is totally safe.
It is wise to perform a drinking water test in your home and workplace. Employees can join together and request that their employers provide a clean water bill of health prior to trusting the water is clean and consumable.
Water contamination and its effect on your health can lead to serious illnesses.
What to Do if Your Drinking Water is Contaminated
Question for Dr. Leia: I work for a police department at a semi new 911 center in LA.
We were just told a few days ago that the water in our building is very contaminated and we do not have safe drinking water.
Well, we have all been drinking the water for quite sometime.
Does water all of sudden become contaminated in such a building, or could it have possibly been contaminated for the past couple years?
Many of us have been sick for about a year off and on, with a dragging cough and other misc symptoms. Officials stated it was some sort of bacteria, but have not said what exactly. Are they required to advise us exactly what it is contaminated with/type of bacteria?
How do we know if we are affected since we have all been sick, sore throats, coughing, stomach sickness, dizzy? When doctors tell us we have the flu, could this be the result of the contamination?
Reasons Your Water May be Contaminated
Dr. Leia’s Answer: I don’t know what the laws are regarding informing people about the purity of their drinking water. So you might want to check with your city or county’s environmental protection agency to find out this information.
There are many reasons why your water could be contaminated, especially in a new building.
Maybe there are leaks in the pipes which allowed contaminants to enter, or the drinking water source is contaminated with leakage from the sewer causing cross contamination, or any other possible explanation.
Whatever the situation, at least everyone is now aware of this situation and hopefully, in time, the cause will be discovered and rectified. In the meantime, there are several different actions you could take to protect yourself and your co-workers.
If it is indeed only a bacterial contamination, it will be important to identify the bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial water contamination is E. coli, which is a fecal bacteria. Bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms, coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, intestinal and gastric irritation, and fevers.
Tests for Bacteria, Heavy Metals, and Toxins
Ways to check yourself for bacterial contamination would be to collect a sputum, saliva, or nasal culture. You will need to visit your doctor to have these tests performed, and make sure to tell him/her of your symptoms and the situation with the drinking water at your workplace.
Other water contaminants can include heavy toxic metals, such as mercury, arsenic, copper, and lead, just to name a few of the more common toxic metals. This image is a sample of an actual test and shows the reference range and the test subjects results.
These metals can collect in your body in the tissues, cells, and organs if you are exposed to them over a long period of time, and can manifest in the hair because the hair represents the toxic load in your body tissues. Metals cannot be measured through a blood test, because the metals are only detectable in the blood for a short period of time during your exposure to these heavy metals.
Therefore, the best method of checking for toxic metals in the body is a Hair Mineral and Toxic Metal Analysis. You will need to visit your Naturopathic Doctor or a Holistic doctor to obtain one of these tests and to have it properly interpreted by your doctor.
A Hair Analysis is a non-invasive test which involves taking a snippet of hair from the nape of the neck and sending it to a special laboratory to be analyzed. You should make sure that you have not used a hair dye or permanent wave in the past six weeks because the dye and permanent will cause a false elevated level of metals on your hair.
Laboratories for Health Tests
Here is a link to the laboratory which I have used for over twenty years to test my patients’ hair levels: Doctor’s Data, Inc Testing
Also, here is a wonderful comprehensive site about water quality, testing and contamination from Cornell University: Drinking Water Testing and Contaminants
I am sure that you will find this site to be of interest to you, your co-workers, and your supervisors.
In addition to bacterial and heavy toxic metal contamination, there is also a possibility that the water can contain toxic chemicals, and you will find a list of certified laboratories from Cornell University’s site, home testing kits, and everything which you will need to make sure that your drinking water is safe and contaminant-free.
Good luck in your search for the contaminants, the cause, and clearing the toxins out of your body.
Dr. Leia Melead
Drinking Pure Water
There are steps you can take to make sure you are drinking healthy water. If you have concern, then read an article on commonly asked questions about water, purification and chlorine treatment.
Anther myth is that bottled water and mineral water are pure and free from toxins or contaminants. A recently reported study performed by scientists in Germany at Frankfurt University on mineral water which was packaged in plastic bottles has shown that the water is contaminated with chemicals that act like female hormones in the body. Study will continue to ascertain the health risks of ingesting these hormones over time.
Since bottled spring and distilled water is mostly bottled in plastic you may be interested in learning the facts about regulations and the safety of bottled water you buy in the grocery store and how to make the best decision on what type of water is best to drink.