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Do you feel safe drinking the water in your home? If you’re not drinking purified water that’s been put through an RO system, you probably shouldn’t.

We’ve written before about how specific contaminants like lead, mercury, and chromium-6 affect your health when consumed in your drinking water. We’ve also written about how these and other contaminants are present in Chicago’s drinking water supply. To bring it all together, here’s a breakdown of how unfiltered Chicago water may affect your total health. We’ve provided a brief explanation and list of health consequences for each contaminant.

Read on to understand the serious health risks of drinking unpurified water that contains these harmful contaminants.

No Purified Water? See What These Common Contaminants Do to Your Body



Infographic of a a list of the effects of different contaminants

Click for full size infographic

Lead is one of the most commonly found heavy metals in American drinking water. In recent years, the national spotlight on the crisis in Flint, MI has demonstrated the terrible effects of lead in drinking water supplies.

Many US drinking water supplies are at risk due to aging infrastructure. The ban on lead-based plumbing didn’t require systems to replace existing plumbing, so water mains throughout the country still contain lead. In Chicago, as much as 80% of properties get their water from water mains that contain lead. If you need a good reason to switch to purified water, this is as good a starting point as any.

Long-term health risks include:

  • Kidney and Liver Damage
  • Behavioral Problems
  • Slow Physical and Mental Development
  • Mental Retardation
  • Blindness
  • Death


Radium is a silvery-white radioactive metal that occurs naturally in the environment. However, human activities like burning coal and mining uranium can release more radium into the environment and the water supply. Deep wells are also naturally high in radium.

You can avoid these health effects with equipment that’ll convert your water into purified water. Otherwise, long-term consequences may include:

  • Anemia
  • Cataracts
  • Fractured Teeth
  • Cancer (especially bone cancer)
  • Death


Mercury is released into Lake Michigan by the many coal-fired power plants lining its shore. So much mercury is released that residents are cautioned against eating some species of fish from the lake. Yet the mercury-contaminated water that they swim in is fine for consumption? That doesn’t make much sense. Purified water is the safer way to go.

Long term risks of mercury consumption include:

  • Loss of Peripheral Vision
  • Feeling “Pins and Needles” in Hands, Feet and Mouth
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Impairment of Speech, Hearing and Walking
  • Muscle Weakness

Effects on Children

Like lead, mercury also poses a unique threats to children’s cognitive development. Mercury consumption threatens proficiency in:

  • Cognitive Thinking
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Language
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Visual Spatial Skills


Remember the movie Erin Brockovich? Chromium-6 is the contaminant that poisoned a whole town’s water supply in the film based on a true story. Since the release of the film, increased awareness has led to research which suggests hundreds of millions of Americans may be drinking water contaminated with the toxin.

In the movie, the scariest part was that the Pacific Gas and Electric Company actively hid the contamination from the residents. What might be hidden from us, too?

Consequences of drinking water with chromium-6 can include:

  • Reproductive Damage
  • Kidney and Liver Damage
  • Anemia
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer

Choose Purified Water Instead

As you can see, unfiltered water can damage your health in all sorts of ways. To avoid these dangerous contaminants, you should be drinking only purified water. Angel Water is the premier water treatment company in the area, providing all the equipment and services you need to get purified water in Barrington, IL and the greater Chicago area. So, give our professionals a call at (847) 382-7800 and get your water tested and purified today!

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