Tap water is poisonous
Environmental toxins in the water
Nitrate in groundwater
Nitrate is one of the substances that pollute the groundwater the most. Actually, this nitrogen compound is not harmful to human health. But nitrate is converted into nitrite in our body, among other things.
Nitrite destroys the red blood pigment in the body, which is especially dangerous for babies. In addition, the nitrosamines, which in turn arise from nitrite, are considered carcinogenic. So there are enough reasons to keep the groundwater as free of nitrates as possible.
Agriculture is the main source of nitrate. Nitrate gets into the groundwater in particular through factory farming and the associated liquid manure. The fertilizers in industrial agriculture also contribute to the fact that the soil - and thus the groundwater - is enriched with nitrate.
In order to control the pollution, the Federal Environment Agency regularly measures the nitrate levels at around 700 stations. If the limit of the drinking water ordinance of 50 milligrams per liter is exceeded permanently, springs will be shut down forever.
Limit value for uranium
Other substances such as iron and manganese get into the groundwater because they are washed out of underground rock layers. In order to make the water drinkable, these metals are removed using special filter processes.
This also applies to the poisonous uranium. The main problem is not the radioactivity of the heavy metal, but the fact that uranium can cause considerable damage to the human kidney. Like other substances, uranium is washed out of rock layers depending on the nature of the soil. It is also found in certain fertilizers.
Since November 1, 2011, a limit of ten micrograms per liter has been in effect for drinking water in the European Union (EU). Consumer advocates complain, however, that this value only protects adults, but not infants, from the toxic heavy metal.
In order not to exceed the prescribed value, the water suppliers proceed very differently. Some mix the water from different sources. Others work with special filters to remove the toxic heavy metal.
A cocktail with long-term effects?
Medicinal residues are another danger to our groundwater. Even if these are infinitely small quantities: the mix is crucial. We all consume a cocktail with the drinking water, about the effects of which nothing is yet known.
Experts have found that flu waves can be traced on the basis of water samples because the proportion of cough syrups and other cold medicines in drinking water is then significantly higher.
Even if the effects of the drugs on humans are not yet apparent, they can be clearly seen in some animals. For example, researchers are now observing more frequently that male fish are growing female reproductive organs. They suspect that the estrogens left over from the birth control pill are responsible.
There is still no solution to the problem: Because the residues of pharmaceuticals are very small and therefore undetectable, they are not filtered out in the sewage treatment plants. That is why researchers are working on environmentally friendly drugs that are completely broken down after a short time.
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