Everyone knows water is a necessity for human survival. Humans can go up to three weeks without food, but after 3 or 4 days without water, most people will likely go into shock and become vegetative. Quality water is important for everyone, but particularly children. Compared to adults, children drink more water per pound of body weight. This means their growing bodies are more likely to be affected by harmful contaminants since their organs and tissues are still developing.
There are quite a few ways water quality impacts children. We’re here to share why quality water is so important for children.
Contaminated water is said to be foul-smelling or unpalatable. Low-quality water can smell like rotten eggs or have a sulfur smell or taste to it, which might suggest the presence of hydrogen sulfide. Not only can this harm children’s health, but children will not want to drink water that smells or tastes bad. After all, who would want to drink water that smells like rotten eggs or tastes like dirt?
In the US, we are very fortunate to have access to water, as 2.1 billion people all over the world do not have access to safe water within their homes. However, water in homes is not always as clean as you think it is. Several homes in the US have hard water present in their home, especially older homes.
Hard water is water that is high in mineral content. Hard water is formed when water makes its way through deposits of limestone, chalk, or gypsum, which are mostly made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates.
The high mineral content in hard water is most commonly what causes water to taste and smell funny. If you have experienced this with the water in your home, it is a good idea to have a free water test done.
Maintaining Good Hygiene
Low-quality water impacts more than your drinking water. Hard water, for instance, impacts hygiene since we use water to wash our hands and bath in.
It’s no surprise that children pick up more germs and bacteria than adults. Children are typically exposed to more bacteria and viruses that they have never seen before when they go to daycare or school. Children also spend more time outside and interacting with other children, which means that it is so important for them to maintain good hygiene.
If you use hard water to wash, you might find that it is harder to get soap to lather up as you wash. Since kids are much more susceptible to getting sick, you will want to ensure that children are washing their hands properly so they can wash off any germs or bacteria that might harm their health.
To Prevent Health Complications
In the US, it is very unlikely that water in your home will lead to fatal medical conditions such as typhoid fever and hepatitis A, which are caused by contaminated water most commonly in third-world countries. However, drinking water that is not one hundred percent clean could lead to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease down the road. Low-quality water can also impact reproductive outcomes such as neurodevelopment. For this reason, it is important that children are provided with clean water on a regular basis.
Less Exposure to Contaminants
Some drinking water contaminants are more harmful when exposure occurs during critical windows in a child’s development. Here are five contaminants to watch out for:
Lead is a common contaminant in households in the US, particularly in old homes.
Old, corroded lead pipes and plumbing are common sources of lead in drinking water. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that is harmful during pregnancy and early childhood. As a matter of fact, The Food and Drug Administration limits lead in bottled water to protect children’s’ brains and prevent the loss of IQ points.
Research shows that nearly 20,000 US water utilities have reported that some residents show lead levels significantly exceeding the average levels. It is important to keep in mind that tests in your area might not reflect the specific lead levels in your home. If you are pregnant or have children in your home, it is best to have the water in your home tested.
According to the federal government, ten parts per million of nitrate in the water is allowed, but the Environmental Working Group recommends that nitrate levels should not exceed five parts per million because of the evidence that has been linked to problems nitrate causes during pregnancy. Nitrate can also block the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, which can be harmful to bottle-fed infants.
Atrazine is a herbicide that is linked to hormone disruption that is also present in the water of nearly 30 million Americans. Atrazine is most commonly found in agricultural areas, and researchers have reported a statistically significant association between the presence of atrazine in drinking water and preterm birth.
Manganese is a natural element commonly found in food and water. There are quite a few studies out there that show lower IQ scores, and lower verbal and behavioral performance scores in children who live in areas with higher concentrations of manganese in water.
Another contaminant commonly found in water is fluoride. You might be thinking it is no big deal because dentists commonly use fluoride, but too much fluoride can be harmful, especially to children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that if infant formula is mixed with water that has fluoride in it, their teeth might be affected by dental fluorosis, which causes white spots on the teeth.
Science of Water: Helping you identify contaminated water in your home
Often times, families assume because we live in the US, we have access to clean water. While this is partially true, you can never be too sure until you find out for yourself! At The Science of Water, we are happy to offer you a free water test!
If you are pregnant or have children in your home, keep your family safe by ensuring you have access to clean, safe water. Contact The Science of Water to learn more about how you can provide your family with water that is safe!