How Contaminated Water Affects Our Children – The Appalling Truth

The quality of drinking water varies greatly throughout the globe and we’re familiar with the health consequences related to polluted water. But have you considered how contaminated water affects children?

In reality, kids actually drink more water than us adults (per pound of body weight). Also, because their bodies aren’t fully developed yet, the harmful compounds found in contaminated water have an even more pronounced effect on children.

What’s even more shocking though is that a child dies every 90 seconds (1 minute and a half) as a direct result of waterborne diseases. That’s according to Matt Damon and Gary White’s organization that focuses on improving water quality worldwide.

Now it’s time to take a closer look at the awful effects of polluted water on our kids.

How Contaminated Water Affects Our Children

Poor Water Quality And Associated Health Risks In Children

First and foremost, it’s worth mentioning that the pollutant type and the age of a particular child have to be considered. If a child drinks dirty water through the crucial stages of its development, then long-term health consequences might occur.

As for the link between dirty water and associated diseases, poor quality water can negatively affect the health of kids in many ways, as they might lead to:

  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Hormone disruption
  • Impaired development
  • Issues with the brain and the nervous system

We have to keep in mind that the effects of some chemicals on children haven’t been studied. This means that scientists don’t really know what kind of health problems might arise when kids drink polluted water when it comes to certain pollutants.

And what that means is consequences might be more severe than suggested. Nonetheless, infants and especially babies who are fed with powdered milk mixed with tap water are more vulnerable to the risks associated with impure water, because their diet consists almost entirely of tap water (with powdered baby milk).

Things To Watch Out For In Tap Water

Even though the water in your home is regulated by government organizations and tap water should supposedly be perfectly fine for drinking, there are certain things that you have to keep an eye out for if you have doubts about its quality.


This toxin can be found in many places, but the most common reason for water contaminated by lead is through old pipe systems. Alternatively, lead can find its way into water through paint or even the soil, so changing the pipes in your home might not get rid of the problem, although it should suffice in most cases.

There are strict rules when it comes to lead content in water, as federal regulations require immediate actions to be taken by water utilities in certain situations.

For instance, if lead levels rise above 15 ppb (parts-per-billion) in over 10% of the households whose water was examined, then the associated water utility has to take action in order to reduce the lead amount to normal range.

As for health implications in children, water with lead in it has the potential to lower the IQ, while also causing damage to the brain and the nervous system of the individual.


Flouride is a mineral and its synthetic form is added to our tap water on purpose, for its supposedly positive effect on teeth – that’s why many kinds of toothpaste include fluoride in their ingredient profile.

And while fluoride isn’t deadly, excessive consumption of it isn’t recommended. Infants might develop fluorosis if exposed to unnecessary amounts of (ingested) fluoride, which characterizes by the appearance of white spots on the baby’s teeth.

It’s hard to completely avoid fluoride since it’s added to tap water in developed countries. However, regulations and laws should guarantee that fluoride content found in drinking water is within acceptable limits.

Still, for concerned parents, an optimal alternative for their babies’ powdered formulas would probably be fluoride-free water.

Wrapping It Up

It’s absolutely shocking that so many little ones lose their lives due to poor sanitation and water quality every year. Millions of people die from waterborne diseases each year and unfortunately, a good number of those is children.

Thankfully though, hygiene, sanitation and the overall quality of water worldwide are all improving so it’s safe to say that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. With the help of awesome non-profit organizations, even poorer countries and regions are starting to gain access to decent drinking water.

We’d love to know what your thoughts are about contaminated water’s effects on children and what you believe we can do to counter that. Share your thoughts in the comment section below!