Every private well owner wants to believe that the water supplied to their household is clean, pure and healthy. But there are times when it’s important to use professional water testing to confirm the quality of household water. Perhaps the most important time of all is when a new baby is going to be brought into the house.
Before the baby’s arrival, an accurate water test can help ensure that your new family member will have the very best start in life. Even if the adults in the house have no signs of illness from drinking the water, babies can be more severely affected by water quality problems. That’s because they more easily pick up illnesses or infections from poor quality well water than adults.
Also, pound for pound, children drink more than twice as much water as adults so they are, in effect, going to consume a higher concentration of any contaminants in the water. Professional water testing should be done to rule out any of the following contaminants in the household water.
Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites
It is not uncommon to find coliform bacteria in a water source. While many types of coliform bacteria are harmless, their presence indicates some kind of contamination with microorganisms that can cause health problems, such as these:
- E. coli (bacteria)
- Cyclospora (parasite)
- Giardia duodenalis (parasite)
- Legionella (bacteria)
- Rotavirus (virus)
- Salmonella (bacteria)
The presence of bacteria, viruses and parasites can cause diarrhea, fever, nausea, stomach cramps and fatigue. Infections from these sources can potentially cause death.
Different fungi in well water can cause allergies or opportunistic infections, referring to infections affecting those who are immunocompromised. A baby with a weak immune system or who has needed to take a course of antibiotics may be more prone to fungal infections from exposure to contaminated water. Their exposure may come from drinking or bathing in fungi-contaminated water.
Fungi frequently found in well water:
Nitrites and Nitrates
Nitrites and nitrates can enter the water supply from fertilizers or from nearby animal waste deposits. This kind of infiltration becomes possible if a well cap does not make a tight seal. Nitrites and nitrates can also enter well water from the erosion of rocks or leaching from the soil.
If a baby’s formula is made with well water contaminated with nitrites and nitrates, it can create a dangerous health problem called methemoglobinemia. This blood disorder interferes with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. A baby with this disorder can actually turn bluish. Any baby manifesting this sign should see a doctor immediately and the well water must be checked for nitrates or nitrites.
Metals in Well Water
Metals can enter drinking water either from mineral deposits, industrial activities near the home or household plumbing. Metals can easily create dangerous levels of toxicity for a new baby.
Here are some of the problems that can be created for babies and young children as a result of metals in the water.
Arsenic: Skin pigmentation changes; gastrointestinal, pulmonary and cardiovascular problems.
Cadmium: Developmental disabilities, cognitive deficits; damage to DNA and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer later in life.
Lead: Learning and behavior problems; impaired growth; red blood cell, kidney and bone problems; speech problems, neurological development.
Manganese: Impaired learning and development; reduced IQ.
There are literally hundreds of different toxic chemicals that have been found in drinking water. Many of them have no taste and no odor. Some of them can accumulate in the human body which can have a more harmful effect after the contaminated water has been consumed for a period of time. The only way to detect these chemicals is to have the water tested by a professional and competent water testing company.
As one example, PFAS are chemicals that have been found in drinking water in all 50 states. These are called “forever chemicals” because they may require hundreds of years to break down fully, if they ever do. They are often used in firefighting or in the creation of non-stick cookware.
Consumption of these chemicals can cause delayed development, impair learning, alter the immune system and interfere with hormone levels.
Testing Your Well Water
Contact a professional well water testing company to get a water sampling kit and send it off right away. Once you have your results, you must determine the right kind of well repair, water treatment or filtration that will eliminate that particular threat.
Please also be aware that these toxins can also be dangerous during pregnancy, nursing and childhood!
If you are expecting a new baby in your home—or if someone is pregnant or could become so—ensure the health of the whole family by ordering water tests now. ETR Laboratories can help with fast, accurate testing as well as consulting on the right kind of water treatment or filtration needed. Call ETR Laboratories at (800) 344-9977 now to get started.