Maybe you suspect a contamination, maybe you’re not sure whether your baby is allowed to drink tap water, or maybe you just want to check your home well. There are many reasons for a water test. Mostly, health aspects are in the foreground. This is why you will find the most important parameters for water health at a glance here. If a substance is harmless to health, that does not mean that it cannot cause other problems. For example, a high iron content discolors the water. For many substances, of course, the statement “the amount makes the poison” also applies, specific health concerns should be clarified with a doctor in any case.
Humans consume around 5 milligrams of aluminum every day. The light metal is harmless in small quantities; in higher doses it can cause health problems. Research suggests that aluminum is responsible for neuronal damage or Alzheimer’s disease.
Ammonium in the water is a sign of uncleaned wastewater. The substance is formed when protein or urea react with bacteria. Ammonium can damage kidneys and forms the nerve toxin ammonia at a high pH value.
In old houses, cables are often still made of lead. If this dissolves in the water, it can lead to serious health problems. Lead is especially dangerous for children, it leads to developmental disorders, high blood pressure and stomach pain. The only remedy is usually new water pipes.
Calcium is an important element for the human body, it builds bones and teeth. In the water it ensures good taste but also unpleasant lime stains in the household. For health reasons, there is no benefit in removing calcium from drinking water to remove.
Chlorides are salts. They can either get into drinking water through sewage or through contact with salty rocks. People should consume around two to five grams of chloride a day, an overdose can result in high blood pressure.
Water does not react with chromium. However, chromium compounds can get into drinking water from industrial wastewater. Depending on the exact chemical composition, chromium can on the one hand be an important trace element, on the other hand it can be highly toxic.
Fluoride is found in most toothpastes and is healthy for your teeth. As a rule, it should only occur in small quantities in drinking water. A toxic effect of fluoride is well known, how serious this is, but is controversial: In some countries drinking water is even fortified with fluoride.
8. E. coli
Probably the best known germs that can occur in our water: E. coli bacteria. Infection with the intestinal pathogens usually manifests itself as nausea, vomiting or fever. E.coli bacteria enter drinking water through faecal contamination and can damage the intestines, bloodstream and kidneys.
Iron is very important in the human body: it binds oxygen in the blood and transports it from the lungs to other organs. An iron deficiency can be responsible for symptoms such as tiredness or headaches. Iron has no negative consequences in healthy people and is rarely overdosed.
Like E. coli bacteria, enterococci are a sign of fecal contamination. They spread particularly well when water stands for a long time. Enterococci can cause urinary tract infections or peritonitis in humans.
Humans consume around one to six grams of potassium every day. This is mainly deposited in muscles, red blood cells and in the brain. Potassium protects the heart and blood vessels. It is an essential element, especially for nerve functions. Potassium dissolved in water is not dangerous.
Copper usually comes into our drinking water from copper pipes. The element is essential for humans, but overdose may cause poisoning. This can quickly lead to gastrointestinal diseases, especially in children, as their metabolism is not yet working so well.
Legionella are bacteria. They multiply especially in long standing or warm water. Drinking legionella is harmless, but they become problematic when showering. If the bacteria are inhaled via water vapor, they enter the lungs and can cause severe pneumonia.
The light metal lithium is seen as a mood-enhancer: a study found that the suicide rate is lower in regions with a high lithium content in drinking water. The element is not essential for the body. It is not a problem when dissolved in water, the majority is immediately excreted by the body.
Magnesium is especially important for bones and muscles. Similar to calcium, it is also responsible for the transmission of stimuli, muscle function and the formation of proteins and DNA. Magnesium has no harmful effects on human health. However, a deficiency can lead to sluggishness and fatigue.
Manganese is also essential for humans. The body needs it primarily for enzymes; it is stored in the liver, kidneys and other organs. Both deficiency symptoms and overdoses are extremely rare. However, water with a high manganese content should not be used for baby food.
Sodium is essential for nerve function in the body. It is not dangerous in water, it is usually overdosed in the form of table salt. On average, we ingest thirty times the amount we need through our food every day. The consequences of this can be increased blood pressure, hardening of the arteries or a tendency towards inflammation.
Nitrates are nitrogen salts and find their way into our drinking water through fertilizers. Nitrogen is essential for humans as well as for animals and plants because it drives protein production. In adults, an overdose is very unlikely; in babies, even small amounts can lead to dangerous blue rash.
Nickel can get into drinking water via chrome-plated fittings, and it also occurs naturally in small quantities. Harmful health consequences are rare. However, some people are allergic to nickel, and in the worst case scenario, dermatitis can develop.
The mineral phosphorus is essential for the body; we usually take it in in the form of phosphates. These are salts that are found in foods such as milk or meat. Symptoms of deficiency are not known, an overdose is harmless. In children, however, this can cause hyperactivity.
The pH value of a liquid indicates whether it is an alkali or an acid. Drinking water has a pH of around 7.0 and is therefore neutral. Water with a value below 7.0 is acidic; values above that are found in basic liquids. Acidic water can be problematic in house installations: as it is more “aggressive”, it dissolves heavy metals more easily from pipes and fittings.
Sulphate is often referred to as a “digestive aid” because it promotes the flow of bile and thus digestion. Deficiency can lead to brittle nails, skin problems and indigestion. However, too much sulphate in the water is bad for pipes, as it wears them out and in the worst case, the pipe can even burst.
Radioactive and highly toxic: Uranium rightly does not have a good reputation. The heavy metal causes lasting damage to blood, bones and kidneys. It is particularly dangerous for babies and toddlers, as their bodies are particularly difficult to deal with. Uranium enters the water either through rocks containing uranium or fertilizers.
24. Water hardness
The total water hardness is made up of the two hardness components calcium and magnesium. Hard water is therefore healthy for the body and it also tastes good. Hard water is a problem in house installations. There it leads to stubborn limescale deposits and unsightly stains.
Zinc is an important trace element for the human body. It is needed for enzymes, DNA and the hormone insulin. Since the body can only absorb part of the zinc in food, zinc-containing water is considered very healthy. Overdosing is rare. It manifests itself in nausea, dizziness, fever and diarrhea.