The Effects of Drinking Iron Contaminated Water

(Photo : The Effects of Drinking Iron Contaminated Water)

When it comes to contaminated water, we often hear about contaminants such as lead. It is easy to think that lead is the only contaminant out there, especially with the press that it has received, but in fact, this isn't the case. You can also have water that is contaminated by iron, but it seems that this is relatively unknown. So, what are the effects of drinking iron contaminated water, and what can you do if you live in an area where this is prevalent? Don't worry; we've got all the information you need here. 

Iron Is Required For Human Health

Before we dive head into iron being a contaminant, it is worth noting that iron is essential for human health, so we do need it in small doses, and one of the ways we can get it is through our water. That being said, too much of a good thing can be bad for you, so there are limits to how much iron we need. If you don't have enough iron in your system, you can suffer from anemia, which increases the fatigue you can feel.

Negative Effects Of Drinking Iron

Like with any side effects, the more you have, the worse the side effects. If you are ingesting just over the prescribed amount of iron for your body, you may find that your skin becomes dry and irritable. Not only does iron impact your skin quality, it can also reduce the quality of your hair. When you are using shampoo and conditioner, it can be difficult to get it out of your hair when there are high levels of iron, which can result in dull and limp hair as well as an itchy and inflamed scalp. This is because minerals such as iron can damage healthy skin cells, causing an increase in dry areas as well as wrinkles. If you drink well over the recommended amount of iron on a daily basis for a sustained period of time, you may find that your body goes into iron overload. This is where your body's process that deals with iron mutates due to how much is being put through it. We need to impress that iron overload is exceptionally rare and usually only occurs with sustained exposure to iron over many years. 

How Does Iron Get Into Your Water System?

Iron is a naturally occurring mineral, and depending on where you live; you may have higher concentrations of it than in other areas. Iron is imbued into the water when it passes through underground systems and is then pumped out. The issue lies when the water processing plant is outdated and still using outdated methods in an attempt to remove the iron. Outdated methods of removing iron can include raising the PH level of the water, but this has been shown not to have an impact on iron. Instead, it draws out other impurities such as bacteria; the iron, however, remains.


If you are getting your water from your own personal well, then there is a higher chance that there may be iron deposits in this at harmful levels. Sustained exposure to these levels can induce complications that we have previously mentioned. The problem with untreated well water is that the iron acts as a carrier for other bacteria. When you are drinking untreated well water, you are running the risk of not only increasing your iron intake, but also increasing the risk of having bacteria enter your system that can increase the chances of types of food poisoning. 

How Can You Reduce The Amount Of Iron In Your Water 

Whether you have a well system or your water comes from a water treatment plant, a whole house iron filter for well water, may well be a good investment for you. Whole house water filters are point-of-entry systems. If you have a well, this means that the water leaves the well, enters into the system, and then the water transitions into your home. Unlike under the sink filters or faucet filters, point of entry systems makes sure that your entire home has reduced iron in the water. Unlike dated water treatment plants, a new installation of a point of entry system uses an array of filters to capture the iron particles rather than increasing the PH of the water in an attempt to break down the iron deposits. Not only does this benefit your family's health and wellbeing, it also increases the longevity of your plumbing.

Does Iron Damage Plumbing?

The short answer is yes it does. If you are living in an area that has high iron deposits, then you may well find that you have to replace plumbing more regularly. This is because if the iron can oxidize in the water and corrode the pipes. It is this corrosion that can lead to pipes becoming split and you losing water. Prior to installing a point of entry water system, it is always worth checking whether or not you have damaged pipes first. This can easily be checked by a professional and can save you a lot of money in the long run. 

Wrap Up

Iron is a lesser-known contaminant when it comes to water, however, that doesn't mean that it is any less important. If you are concerned about the level of iron in your water, then it is always worth getting the levels tested. Once you have the results, you can then look to installing a point of entry water filtration system. These are particularly useful if your water source is a well, as there is a higher chance that this will have a higher iron content. Keep away from systems that increase the PH of the water, as this will not break down iron deposits. Rather go for a system that relies on multiple stages of filtration to keep your family happy, healthy, and always able to access clean, fresh drinking water.