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EPA Primary MCL: 4 ppm*
Increased risk of cancer, creates byproducts when added to water such as haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes, which also increase the risk of cancer. Increased risk of asthma, as well as heart problems.
Chlorine is added to water in treatment plants as a disinfectant.
Public Health Recommendation: 0.02 ppb* (California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment)
California MCL: 10 ppb*
Skin burns, pneumonia, stomach cancer, childbirth complications
Naturally in the environment (in very low levels), erosion of chromium deposits, industrial processes, leakage of industrial wastes
EPA Secondary MCL: 2 ppm*
Skeletal flourosis, damage to the fetal brain, affects thyroid function
Fluoride is added to water in treatment plans to prevent tooth decay.
EPA MCL: N/A
A risk factor that could exacerbate eczema, increased risk of hypermagnesemia. May cause build up of scale at levels above 200 ppm*.
Dissolved metallic ions from sedimentary rocks, mainly magnesium and calcium. Other ions such as aluminum, barium, iron, manganese, strontium and zinc
Public Health Goal: 0.2 ppb* (California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment)
California MCL: 15 ppb*
Physical and mental development delays in children, fetal development effects, high blood pressure, kidney problems, human carcinogen
Corroded lead pipes in distribution system, lead fixtures in household plumbing, solder, lead paint used in homes built before 1978
EPA Secondary MCL: 6.5 - 8.5 pH
pH lower than 6.5 can leach toxic metals such as copper, lead and zinc from pipes and fixtures.
pH decreases as the amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in water increases. Higher levels of carbon dioxide dissolved in water results in higher levels of carbonic acid in water, which makes it more acidic. Dissolved minerals in groundwater from areas of bedrocks that contain limestone increases the pH of water.
EPA Secondary MCL: 500 ppm*
WHO Guideline: Less than 600 ppm* is considered good, becomes increasingly unpalatable above 1000 ppm*. Less than 300 ppm* is considered excellent.
High TDS could mean a higher level of mineral salts that make up TDS, that can cause a variety of health hazards. The most problematic are Nitrates, Sodium, Sulfates, Barium, Cadmium, Copper, and Fluoride. High TDS can also alter the taste, making water taste salty, bitter or metallic. It can also give out unpleasant odors.
Water is a universal solvent, and can dissolve a variety of minerals and ions. High TDS can be due to environmental features such as mineral springs, carbonate deposits, salt deposits or sea water intrusions. Other sources can include salt used for deicing, agricultural run off and chemicals added to water in water treatment plants.
*ppm = parts per million, ppb = parts per billion