Heavy metals are present in many drinking water supplies across the United States, often finding their way into the water from the pipes themselves. Even if your home has no lead pipes, for example, the odds are high that this metal has been used somewhere in the municipal water system, and that traces will therefore find their way into your tap water. Using a good water filter that can remove heavy metals in addition to other pollutants helps you maintain good health
Lead is far from the only heavy metal that might contaminate your water supply, too. Many other metals are used in modern industrial processes and in manufactured objects that can break down and release the chemicals they contain. Batteries, light bulbs, and paint may leak mercury into the ground water if they are improperly disposed of. Arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, nickel, copper, chromium, and many other substances are used frequently in manufacturing.
The effects of heavy metals and similar substances, if not removed by a good water filter, can be harmful to the health, especially over the long term. These problems are rather insidious because they are often very gradual, and the affected individual may never realize that they are being harmed by their water supply until they have developed very serious health problems. Though there are many other sources of heavy metals – dust, occupational exposure, food, and so on – water is one of the most direct because the substances are swallowed already in solution, ready to be absorbed into the body's tissues.
A partial list of possible health consequences includes:
- Arsenic can cause gastric and skin problems, as well as increasing cancer risk.
- Lead affects the nervous system as well as the kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
- Mercury causes chronic fatigue syndrome, many other ailments, and may even contribute to the eventual development of Parkinson's.
- Copper, though beneficial in small amounts, can cause liver and kidney damage in larger quantities, as well as such unpleasant symptoms as vomiting blood.
- Chromium is an allergen and can produce kidney and liver damage in high concentrations.
Clearly, using a water filter to clean heavy metals out of your drinking and cooking water supply is a prudent step for anyone interested in maintaining good health both currently and in the future. The media needed to accomplish this task are different from those used to filter out volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and so forth, which is why most filters include several different stages to remove varied contaminants.
Absorption is the usual method for dealing with heavy metals, since the dissolved particles are too small for simple capture by carbon block or ceramic block pores. Ion exchange resins and activated carbon granules can both be used to good effect for metal removal. Reverse osmosis filtration is also highly effective, as it is at cleaning out practicality every other contamination, too. You should ensure that any water filter you buy for your drinking water supply is able to take heavy metals out of the liquid, since this is one of the crucial functions of a good filtration system.