Biofouling: Can It Trigger Allergies From Drinking Water?

One of the most common physical occurrences in marine science is the accumulation of   microorganisms, algae, mussels, seaweed, plants and other water-related growth that is attached to the hull of ships or on the posts of a pier. Such undesirable growth decreases the performance of a ship and increases fuel consumption. This accumulation is called biofouling or microbiological fouling. Biofouling consists of biofilms, which under normal circumstances are harmless, but can be problematic when they produce build-up on pipes and wells, or completely clog water filtration systems.

Waterborne bacteria and other contaminants can trigger allergic reactions, but you can do something to thwart these harmful pollutants from infiltrating your drinking water supply. Water test kits are available to easily check for waterborne contaminants in your drinking water. If you are in an area where you experience more comprehensive problems with your drinking water, then you will probably need an expert to test your water and advise accordingly. Often water-related allergies associated with biofouling result from improperly maintained water filtration systems, cartridges, filters or membranes that are long overdue for replacement.

Cooling towers, water distribution networks and membranes are not immune to biofouling. If membrane filtration or reverse osmosis systems contain the presence of a huge amount of phosphate, this could reduce production of your system, decrease the life of the membrane for your water filter system and increase maintenance costs. In a cooling tower, the presence of biofouling can lead to an excessive amount of harmful bacteria growth and migration. Biocides are used to prevent biofouling in cooling towers, but could create an environmental concern.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established enforceable standards to apply to public water systems called National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR). According to the EPA, primary standards protect public health by limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water. The typical agents for microbiological fouling include iron, sulfur-reducing and slime producing organisms, although many others exist. Your drinking water will contain some type of sediment, rust, scale or other waterborne pollutants that could create an environment for biofouling in the walls and membrane of your filtration system. This could lead to water-related allergies or diseases if precautions and proper maintenance are not taken ahead of time.

Is Fluoride in Your Water Really Harmful?

Hazards of Fluoride in Water

The painstaking debate continues about whether or not fluoride in your drinking water is beneficial for your teeth and health. For years, we were not concerned about what was in the water we drank, unless we noticed something floating around in it. However, the particles you don’t see is the thing that sends a cross bone and skull warning sign flying in front of our water sources and receptacles.

We are inundated with reports about the effects of fluoride and its impact on tooth decay. Some dental researchers indicate that the benefits of fluoride are primarily topical and not systemic. While we are not attacking the dental industry, there are many reviews and studies that discuss the dangers of a high intake of fluoride which extends beyond cosmetic concern. When examining the possible health effects associated with fluoride in drinking water, the EPA noted that exposure to excessive consumption of fluoride over a lifetime may lead to the likelihood of increased bone fractures in adults, along with pain and tenderness. They go on to say that children 8 years old and younger who are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride increase their chances of developing pits in the tooth enamel, as well as a range of other cosmetic effects to their teeth.

Many contaminants found in our drinking water warrants significant concern for purification and safety. If your water comes from a household or private well, be sure to check with your health department or local water systems that use ground water, for information on harmful contaminants in your area. There is a variety of filtration systems designed to help remove or reduce numerous waterborne contaminants. When asked about how to remove fluoride from your drinking water, the EPA gave the following statement: “The following treatment method(s) have proven to be effective for removing fluoride to below 4.0 mg/L or 4.0 ppm: distillation or reverse osmosis.”

Reverse Osmosis Systems (RO) will typically use carbon filters, sediment filters and an RO membrane to reduce and remove waterborne contaminants. Reverse Osmosis (RO) removes more contaminants at a higher rate of efficiency than other forms of water filtration. We recommend that you use a reverse osmosis system like the Aqua-Pure APRO5500 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter, the Pentek RO-3500 Monitored Reverse Osmosis System or the Aqua Flo E75TFC-3SFBP RO System with Booster Pump for removing fluoride. The reverse osmosis system is normally located or installed under the sink.

So what do you think about fluoride in your drinking water? “To fluoride or not to fluoride? That is the question!” We would love to hear your comments about this ongoing discussion regarding the trials and tribulations of fluoride in our drinking water. We also invite you to vote in our poll that you will find in the upper right-hand corner on this blog. Do you own a reverse osmosis system? If so, we invite you to share your experience with us.