Nagging Health Problems? Time to Test Household Water

Clean air and pure water are essentials for all humans. Pure water in particular is vital to prevent both acute and chronic health problems. In cities, municipal agencies are responsible for water quality and are required to both test water quality and report these results to supervising bodies. But in America, 43 million people don’t have the protection of a municipal agency to test their water.

That’s because they drink, cook and clean with well water. The Environmental Protection Agency does not set standards for well water nor do they require testing or reporting on the results. The water quality from each well is 100% the responsibility of the owner.

When a well structure becomes damaged or a pesticide or industrial chemical contaminates the water, it could stay in that condition until the homeowner realizes that there might be a problem. Sadly, many homeowners don’t realize that the quality of water in their private well could be contributing to health problems in the household.

If health problems crop up and especially if they persist in a home supplied by a private well, an accurate water test should be performed to rule out the water as the cause. A wide array of short-term and long-term health problems are associated with poor water quality. That’s why it’s vital to know what kind of water you are getting from your well.

Health Problems and Water Contaminants

In the list below, you’ll find health problems and the chemicals, metals or other substances they have been associated with in studies by doctors or researchers. In some cases, these associations were found only in animal tests. It may have been too dangerous or unethical to perform the same studies on humans. 

If you or someone you care about consumes well water and suffers from any of these health conditions, an accurate water test just might help you find the cause. 


  • Benzene (industrial chemical): harm to blood cells, leukemia, anemia, loss of white blood cells
  • Copper: anemia
  • Insecticides: childhood leukemia 
  • Nitrates: blue baby syndrome (methemoglobinemia)
  • Pesticides like chlordane: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia

Bone and Skeletal Damage

  • Cadmium: low-level exposure reduces bone density; rapidly growing bones are most affected, so children may suffer the most; increased risk of osteoporosis 
  • Copper: skeletal abnormalities


  • Benzene (industrial chemical): leukemia
  • Cadmium: cancers of breast, lung, prostate, pancreas and kidney
  • Chlordane (pesticide): non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, liver cancer
  • Dichloromethane (solvent): brain and liver cancer, multiple myeloma 
  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, manufacturing chemicals): liver, gallbladder, brain and possibly breast cancer 
  • Pesticides such as arsenic, ethylene oxide and lindane: kidney cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer 
  • PFAS (industrial chemicals nicknamed “forever chemicals”): breast, ovarian, skin, liver, endometrial, kidney and testes cancer

Intestinal Problems

  • Antimony: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Campylobacter (bacteria): bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting
  • Copper: headaches, vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea 
  • Cryptosporidium parvum (parasite): diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, upset stomach
  • E. coli (bacteria): watery or blood diarrhea, cramps, nausea, fever
  • Giardia lamblia (parasite): diarrhea, upset stomach, cramps
  • Leptospira (bacteria): severe headache, high fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea

Kidney Damage

  • Alachlor (pesticide): kidney damage in developing fetuses and adults
  • Cadmium: increased risk of kidney stones, kidney cancer, chronic kidney disease
  • Copper: increased risk of kidney cancer, kidney failure
  • E. coli: kidney failure that leads to death in rare cases
  • Ethylbenzene (component of petroleum): kidney damage
  • Leptospira (bacteria): generalized illness can progress to kidney damage

Liver Damage and Failure

  • Arsenic: fatty liver disease, enlarged liver, cirrhosis
  • Cadmium: liver inflammation, cirrhosis, liver cancer
  • Copper: liver damage 
  • Iron: fatty liver disease 
  • Lead: fatty liver disease
  • Leptospira (bacteria): liver failure and death
  • PFAS (industrial chemicals nicknamed “forever chemicals”): fat buildup in liver

Reproductive Harm

  • Benzene (industrial chemical): harm to child development, low birth weight
  • Bisphenol A: (used to make plastics): less successful in vitro fertilization 
  • Cadmium: higher rate of infertility
  • Carbofuran (insecticide): birth defects, lowered sperm counts
  • Chlorine (used in water disinfection): increased risk of stillbirth, smaller babies 
  • Dicamba (herbicide) decrease in fertility
  • Glyphosate (herbicide): decrease in fertility, 
  • Dioxin (industrial chemical): decrease in fertility
  • Mercury: decrease in fertility
  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, manufacturing chemicals): damage to fertility, increased risk of miscarriage
  • Pesticides: lower sperm counts

Testing Well Water to Ensure Quality

The list above is by no means complete. There are hundreds of different metals, toxic minerals, chemicals and microorganisms found in well water samples. This list will hopefully educate you on the necessity of testing your well water at least annually to ensure you and your family have a healthy, clean supply of water.
To choose a water test from ETR Labs, click here. Or to get help choosing the right water test, call us at (800) 344-9977.