Trace Minerals: What You Need to Know

Water is one of the most important parts of our daily lives, but most of us don’t know much about what may be lurking inside. Do the elements we unknowingly drink and put on our bodies each day matter? Actually, they do. Trace minerals are found in virtually all water found on Earth, and are an essential part of what makes the water we use taste and feel good. For better or for worse, trace minerals also have an impact on our overall health. 

What Are Trace Minerals?

Trace minerals are tiny amounts of elements like calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine that are found naturally in the world around us. Trace elements span the range of the periodic table and even include arsenic and radionuclides (radioactive elements) like radium and radon. Human activities such as mining, urban runoff, industrial emissions, and nuclear reactions can also contribute to the presence of trace elements in the environment.


Present across the globe, these elements also make their way into the food we eat and the water we drink. While ingesting metals and other chemical substances may not sound like a good idea, these elements are not always harmful. Small amounts of certain elements, like copper and chromium, are necessary to keep our bodies functioning. Our cells are made up of a mixture of different elements, and consuming enough of them is essential to maintaining good health. 


Almost all water contains trace minerals of some kind. A study of American drinking water sources found that both tap water and bottled water available in the United States contained high trace levels of calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Water with particularly high concentrations of these is often referred to as “hard” water. While not usually dangerous, hard water can have a distinct, sometimes unpleasant taste and feel compared to softer, less mineral-rich water. 

What Minerals Are Common in Florida Tap Water?

Most tap water in Florida is classified as hard water, identified by the United States Geological Survey as having higher than usual concentrations of calcium carbonate. Due to much of the groundwater in Florida percolating through limestone deposits, traces of calcium and magnesium are common. 


Florida is also home to two heavy mineral mines. These mines extract minerals such as zircon, staurolite, and titanium minerals for use in pigments, ceramics, and other applications. These operations are certified with Environmental Resource Permits for their work in wetlands and surface waters, but may still contribute to trace minerals in the water supply.

Are Trace Minerals Safe for Humans?

For the most part, trace minerals are a normal part of all water. In fact, a joint study by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Human Nutrition Research Center, and Nutrient Data Laboratory found that trace minerals in US municipal drinking water significantly contribute to people’s total intake of important minerals. These minerals are significant enough to be reflected by US diet health and diet recommendations. 


Even though these minerals are often safe (or even somewhat healthy), they are not always desirable. Harder water can cause stomach pains for people from areas with softer water, as well as causing hair and skin to become dry and stiff, even under normal washing.


And occasionally, more harmful trace minerals may be present in water supplies. According to the US Geological Survey, concentrations of trace elements are more likely to be a problem in groundwater than in surface water — unless the area is impacted by mining. Most drinking water in the United States comes from groundwater, so it’s important to know which elements are present in the water you drink. 

Do Water Filters Remove Trace Minerals?

Tap water that comes directly from municipal sources is treated to some degree, depending on local laws. But this is generally limited to the basic safety requirements established by the US Department of Agriculture and area authorities. As such, municipal water can be free of many harmful chemical substances but still maintain most of its properties as either hard or soft water, as municipal water filtration processes don’t remove elements like calcium and magnesium. 


This doesn’t mean that trace minerals can’t be removed by water filtration. Privately-installed home water treatment systems can make a huge difference, with each water treatment method carrying its own capabilities and benefits. Charcoal filters, for example, can remove odors and tastes from water but have almost no impact on the presence of trace minerals. Distillation, — a process by which water is heated up, and then the steam is captured and cooled — removes most minerals along with contaminants during the evaporation process. 


While distillation is a costly and complex process, reverse osmosis filters can also remove the overwhelming majority of trace elements. As water is forced through the semi-permeable membranes in an RO system, minerals are captured as the clear water flows through. Many reverse osmosis systems contain multiple stages. With five, six, or even ten levels of filtration membranes, more contaminants and chemical substances are removed from the water. 

The Science of Water

At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. Whatever you’re looking for in a water filtration system, we can help you enjoy tap water in your home that’s clear of contaminants and safe to drink.


We even offer free water quality testing and consultations. When you need answers about the safety of your local water supply, our technicians can assess your situation for waterborne threats and recommend the perfect filtration system to suit your needs and budget.

If the groundwater in your area is carrying unpleasant trace minerals, you may feel like your tap water is a lost cause. But delicious in-home water is within your reach! Don’t settle for hard water that puts stress on your plumbing and tastes terrible. Get your water tested today to protect your household with pure, clean water that can be relied on. For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!