8 Toxins in Water That Pregnant Moms Should Be Aware Of
We can stay without food for a few days, but a few days without water? No. Not even one day. Water- Jal / Amrut / Jeevan is literally life. A tasteless, colorless liquid, abundantly available on earth, and without which we will die.
The human body consists of 60% of water. Do you know what is the other name of the amniotic sac of pregnant moms? The bag of waters. Undoubtedly, the water content in the body of a pregnant mom is huge. Moreover, the greatest natural resource on earth also affects your metabolic functions to a huge extent.
A negligible proportion of the second most populated country in the world has access to clean drinking water. Safe drinking water is accessible to less than 50% of the Indian population. Chemical contamination of water primarily by arsenic and fluoride is found in almost 1.96 million homes. And, around 12.2% of the urban population and 22.5% of the rural population fall victim to water-borne diseases in India. Typhoid, Malaria, Cholera, Giardiasis, Amoebic Dysentery, Amoebiasis, Shigellosis, Hepatitis A are some of the common water-borne diseases that make the Indian population suffer.
You might be wondering why we are suddenly blabbering about the importance of water in our life. There can be certain cruel chemicals hidden in the water that can invite detrimental consequences for you and your little one if you are pregnant. Leaky storage tanks; industrial effluents; overuse of pesticides, chemical fertilizers; improper waste disposal methods; deforestation, poor sanitation, unhygienic conditions, and a lot of other factors give birth to unwanted chemicals that find their way into the water that flows in through the tap.
Let’s have a look at the harmful toxins that contaminate your water, and what are the threats to you and your growing baby.
What Contaminates Your Water?
Here is a list of the chemicals that contaminate unfiltered water deeming it harmful and dangerous for you and your little munchkin. Read on.
Arsenic is used hugely in industrial works. It is a strong, poisonous cancer-causing chemical that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Long-term exposure to Arsenic may also lead to skin, lung, or bladder cancer. It can easily cross the placenta and cause low birth weight and impaired fetal growth. It even amplifies fetal and infant mortality.
Chlorine is the most commonly used water disinfectant. It is also used for cleaning products and swimming pools. When consumed via tap water, chlorine if not filtered out of the water, can destroy the natural microflora all over the body and affects immunity. Also, chlorine is highly reactive and can bond with water to give birth to hydrochloric acid. Chlorine vapors and chloroform gas are other troublesome forms of chlorine. It leads to respiratory problems, cancer, memory loss, and damaged cells. Moreover, it also multiplies your chances of preterm birth and low birth weight of the baby.
Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor. A report by the National Research Council of the Research Academies says, “Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor in the broad sense of altering normal endocrine function". It can damage neurological tissues, calcify the pineal gland, cause skeletal weakness, and even seizures. It also crosses the placenta easily and gets accumulated in the brain areas involved in learning and memory. Several countries have even banned water fluoridation because of its toxicity.
Lead is a heavy metal that can turn out to be toxic to almost every organ of yours. Old, corroded pipes release lead into the water. It can inflict prostate cancer and issues in reproduction. Lead also leads to learning disabilities, brain damage, and autism. Apart from this, lead causes premature birth if ingested by pregnant moms.
Mercury is another heavy metal that thermal power plants and other industries release into the air. And, the earth receives the harmful chemical via rain or snow. Mercury may invite issues like memory loss, blindness, nerve damage, brain damage, headaches, impairment of motor functions, tremors, weakness, and skin rashes upon ingestion. It may also cause brain damage and vision and hearing problems in fetuses.
6. Pesticides and Herbicides
Farmers strangely prefer chemical insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers over organic fertilizers. They use chemical-infused products hugely in their crops. Pesticides used in excess soak into the soil or run off into rivers and lakes when it rains. It can induce a variety of cancers, liver disorders, and other problems if ingested. These may increase your chances of a miscarriage and inflict birth defects. They are also capable of easily contaminating your breast milk which in turn will harm your little one.
7. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
These chemicals are employed for several industrial purposes like electronics, paints, machinery, oils, fluorescent lights, etc. Studies conducted on animals have found that PCBs can lead to cancers and can harm the endocrine and nervous systems. They may even affect the neurodevelopment of children. MtBE is a gasoline additive. They can easily contaminate huge portions of groundwater making them undrinkable. Studies on animals have indicated signs of kidney damage and poor fetal development.
Ban of RO Water Filters in India
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification method that uses pressure to push molecules through a semipermeable membrane in order to remove pollutants from water. Following the direction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), issued a year-end notification banning RO purifiers, where the total dissolved solids (TDS) in water are below 500 milligrams per litre. The decision was made after reading a report by an expert committee that stated that if TDS is less than 500 mg/l, a RO system will not only be ineffective but will also remove crucial minerals and wastewater. The National Green Tribunal's order directing the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to instruct all RO manufacturers to prohibit the sale of water purifiers in areas where the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water is less than 500 milligrams per litre has been stayed by the Supreme Court.
Safe Drinking Water Tips
Pregnant moms should be vigilant about the water they are drinking at the earliest and you must immediately take action. Here, we have come up with a few tips that might help you practice safe drinking water habits.
- Invest in a water filter that will eliminate harmful toxins, microbes, and impurities. Always drink filtered water and stay safe.
- You can also boil water for 15 minutes before drinking it. Cool it, sieve it, and then drink it. But boiling water is safe if the water is contaminated with bacteria but not if it contains contaminants like lead, arsenic, and nitrate.
- While traveling, always carry your own water bottle. In case you need to rely on a packaged water bottle, make sure the seal is well in its place.
- Another point worth noting is that not all bottled water available in the market is safe. Look for NSF certification on its label before buying it. It implies that the bottler follows and abides by all the regulatory and industry-best practices and comes in compliance with the regulatory standard of quality.
- Be careful about the water in the water purification tablets. They use chemicals like iodine or chlorine dioxide, and chlorine which you know is a toxin.
We advise you to solely rely on filtered water. Ensure that everything you consume during this period is natal-safe, starting with water. Take care Mom, because your health comes first.