8 Ways How Drinking Contaminated Water Affects Your Whole Body

contaminated water

Contaminated drinking water has been in the news for many years. With improvements in technology and infrastructure, it is a controversial issue that many communities still suffer from limited access to safe drinking water. But while this problem has been making headlines, the education surrounding the effects of drinking contaminated water is not as prevalent as it should be. You hear the term contaminated water, but think, contaminated with what, and how does this affect a person or a growing child? While it might be easy to say simply don’t drink the water, if you have no other access to water this is easier said than done. Here we will explore the effects of drinking contaminated water, and the physical effects that can occur in a person who has been exposed to certain contaminants in their water supply. 

Transmission of Diseases

The transmission of diseases is prevalent through contaminate drinking water. If water is not clean and free of contaminants, you can find whole populations suffering from illnesses and diseases that are directly related to water quality. From cholera to typhoid, these illnesses can rapidly infect populations that have no access to clean water. The cases can be mild to severe, depending on the level of contamination in the water. Without proper access to clean water or ways to treat contaminated water, these diseases can rapidly take hold. This affects a victim’s ability to live life to the fullest, resulting in multiple full-body symptoms, from vomiting to diarrhea, to dehydration and more. Communicable diseases spread through contaminated water can be incredibly rapid-acting and devastating to the human body.

Prevalence of Cancer

In the case of chemical contamination of water, the higher presence of cancer in populations has been linked to these areas. From leukemia to kidney cancer, you see these illnesses presented in cases such as the Camp Lejeune water contamination diseases, a heavily documented case of water contamination that took place at military base Camp Lejeune located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The eight “presumptive” diseases associated with this water contamination scandal are overwhelmingly cancerous. Including Adult leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, and multiple myelodysplastic conditions, you can see how contaminated water can affect multiple areas of the body and result in cancerous diseases.

Cellular Level Changes

One of the main reasons that cancer is so prevalent in these cases is that chemically contaminated water can create changes in the body at a cellular level. When cells mutate, it results in cancerous diseases that may otherwise not be manifested. Continued exposure to chemicals and contaminated water makes these molecular and cellular changes and mutations within the body, resulting in chronic sicknesses and terminal illnesses, such as cancer you see so prevalent in the Camp Lejeune victims. When you alter the cells within your body through repeated exposure to chemical compounds, there is no telling what damage can be done, with that damage often being severe.

Contamination of the Food Chain

Along with the contamination of drinking water comes contamination of the crops and food sources surrounding specific regions suffering from contaminated water. Drinking contaminated water directly introduces hazards to the body, however eating food that has been frowned upon with this water, or a game that has been ingesting this water is a secondary source of contamination. So while you may be able to treat the water you drink, or circumvent it by purchasing potable water, you can still ingest contaminants through your food sources while living in areas of high contamination


If your water is contaminated, you may also find your crops contaminated or dehydrated from a lack of appropriate water sources. Human bodies need water to live, crops need water to grow. If you are not giving the proper water to your crops or your body, dehydration and malnutrition can soon follow. Contaminated water can also affect any game you hunt or animals raised for food in affected areas, so the entire area can be left barren and uninhabitable once contamination well and truly takes place. Especially in the cases of chemical contamination, there is no telling when the flora and fauna will return to normal, so it is incredibly important to avoid any type of contamination before it begins.

water pollution

Gastrointestinal Illness

Gastrointestinal illness is one of the first symptoms many people will suffer from after exposure to contaminated water. Because your stomach is the first line of defense when it comes to eating and drinking food, it will often reject, or at least give signs of sickness, when you have ingested something that is not suitable for consumption. If you eat spoiled food, you may vomit, if you drink contaminated water, this may also happen. This is the stomach’s way of protecting the body from processing something that may be harmful, but unfortunately, this is not always enough to protect your body from the effects of contaminated water.

Skin Illnesses

Contaminated water can cause external irritation and illness in the same way that it can affect internal systems. Bathing with water that has been contaminated can lead to dry, irritated, and raw skin. In the case of chemical contaminations, you can seriously injure your skin when using water that contains harsh contaminants. From irritations to scarring, the risks of using contaminated water on your skin are just as great as ingesting contaminated water and should be avoided at all costs.


The worst-case scenario effect of contaminated water is death. Depending on the exact contaminant, death can be fast if the water is toxic to a high degree, or slow, leading to death by cancer or any number of the other effects listed above. While this is the worst-case scenario, it is not impossible and goes to show just how dramatic the effects of contaminated water can be.


Drinking contaminated water can affect your entire body, as well as your mental health and quality of life. From your head to your toes, the effects of contaminated water are severe. Ensuring that your drinking and bathing water is not contaminated by any type of chemical or disease will keep you healthy and happy for a longer period of time. Avoid contaminated drinking water at all costs to protect yourself and your family from these unpleasant effects.