Woman testing water

    Published: September 8, 2014

    Top Waterborne Diseases and What You Can Do to Avoid Them

    Woman testing water While waterborne diseases are a more serious problem in developing countries, they still are a threat in the United States. They are caused by water contamination, which involve a variety of pathogenic microorganisms that can harm human health.

    In the United States, approximately 23 waterborne disease outbreaks occur annually, with 4,600-9,300 people affected each year. Fortunately, most of these cases are not fatal, although the EPA reports that six people on average die annually in the US due to waterborne diseases.

    As aging US infrastructure breaks down and leads to water contamination, these outbreaks are the source of more and more water boil alerts. Most recently, a severe water contamination problem in Toledo, Ohio led the local government to warn residents to not consume city water for several days, even after boiling. Those without a UV water disinfection systems were left fighting for scarce bottled water supplies at the grocery store.

    Common Waterborne Diseases

    Some of the most common microorganisms that contribute to waterborne diseases in the US include:

    • Bacteria: These include cholera and typhoid fever, which were serious problems in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the US. Effectively eliminated as a threat after the implementation of chlorine disinfection of public water supplies.
    • Protozoa: Common waterborne contaminants include giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and amebiasis
    • Viruses: Include viral gastroenteritis

    In the 21st century, the most common types of waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States involve the protozoa giardia and cryptosporidiosis. These types tend to thrive because they can survive in cold water and require a very low dose to infect humans. They also are quite resistant to traditional chemical disinfection techniques favored by local water suppliers.

    What We Can Do To Avoid Waterborne Diseases

    #1 Be Aware of Your Water Quality, Especially If You Have a Weak Immune System

    A waterborne disease outbreak can be very serious for people in the community who have weak immune systems. A severe reaction to a waterborne disease also can happen in older people, or people with chronic diseases that have weakened immune systems. If you or your family suffers from a weak immune system, consider a Pelican Water filtration system with a Pelican UV Max system for complete peace of mind.

    #2 Boil Water, or Consider a Home Water Filtration System

    If a waterborne contaminant is in the public water supply, it is very important to boil the water for at least one minute before drinking it. However, boiling water is inconvenient to say the least, and is not always effective to kill all contaminants, as in the Toledo, Ohio case.

    A superior water filtration solution for highly contaminated water is a Pelican Pro 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis (RO) System*. Reverse osmosis removes most waterborne contaminants at the cellular level, filtering out the contaminants with a highly advanced, semi-permeable membrane. This Pelican system boasts the latest in membrane and design technology, and will remove the most common waterborne contaminants, as well as most lead, fluoride and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).

    #3 Do Not Assume That Bottled Water Is Better than Tap Water

    Remember: Tap water has to meet EPA standards, and bottled water does not. It still can be contaminated! Bottled water also has an expiration date, and can be very expensive when compared to filtered water.

    A water filtration option that is better than bottled water is the Pelican Countertop or Undercounter Filter System*. These new, convenient water filtration systems are affordable and fit perfectly either on the counter or under the sink. Both systems remove 98% of chlorine from water, giving it a cleaner, purer taste. Also, these systems remove more than 99.99% of cysts, cryptosporidium and giardia from water, which are the most common types of waterborne contaminants in the United States today.

    Although waterborne contamination is still with us today, with proper caution and the use of high quality water filtration products, we all can enjoy cleaner, purer water in our homes.

    *Note that if your water is not safe even after boiling, it still is important to have your filtered water tested to ensure that it is safe for human consumption.