Pollution of the water supply causes poisoning and progressive deterioration of health. Pollution is due to chronic low-dose exposure leading to bioaccumulation of water-soluble toxins in the amphibian environment. Cell function is disrupted when you reach the concentration threshold. Exposure to minute amounts of water pollutants may risk increased incidence of slow-growing diseases usually associated with aging or low growth. Many of these disorders affect the central nervous system (CNS), which is especially vulnerable to damage during development and then to accelerating neurodegenerative changes during aging.
The adverse effects of environmental pollutants in drinking water are dependent upon the stage of development of organisms. For example, exposure to contaminants in the uterus may alter mitochondrial function and inadequate energy production. Such disturbance of regular cell activity can disrupt the development of the central nervous system. In addition, early exposure to pollutants can lead to abnormalities of gene expression. Later in an individual’s life, when aging processes work in conjunction with these early genetic changes, susceptibility to illness may be increased. Exposure later in life can exacerbate age-related impairment of central nervous system functioning. For instance, there has been an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation in the elderly.
Neurotoxic potential contaminating metals
Lead leakage from industrial waste into drinking water is an old problem, but it is exacerbated, especially in low-lying areas. Neurotoxicity at deficient levels of lead may apply to large populations. Exposure to low doses of chemical lead has been linked to altered fetal and neonatal brain development and Alzheimer’s disease.
The prevalence of aluminum in drinking water varies a great deal. The mineral is often added to water as a coagulator for organic matter, and residual levels that inadvertently dissolve are considered harmless. However, increasing epidemiological and laboratory studies data indicate that aluminum concentrations in some drinking water can be harmful. Chronic exposure to these levels can lead to nerve inflammation and oxidative stress. Exposure to aluminum can aggravate neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, and this is reinforced by results showing an increase in Al in post-mortem brain tissue. In addition, Al was found in the cerebral arteries of Alzheimer’s patients, suggesting that metal can interfere with aspects of the blood-brain barrier.
Low levels of copper salts in the water previously considered safe may also be associated with adverse neurologic effects. Unlike lead and aluminum, copper is a trace element that plays a biological role as a cofactor in several enzymes. However, since the free forms of copper are toxic, several mechanisms are in place to maintain the metal-bound to the proteins. Two genetic disorders that interfere with copper homeostasis (Menkes and Wilson’s disease) show the neurotoxic potential of copper,
as copper in drinking water was found to be more toxic than the corresponding mineral concentrations in food.
There are still many variations in the quality of the water supply in different companies, partly because of different standards. One way to mitigate the adverse impacts of pollutants in drinking water is to establish green chemistry practices. For example, designing more biodegradable medicines and improving wastewater treatment can help. Also, enhancing planning and technology, such as wastewater source separation, ensures that “grey water” from showers or washing machines is collected separately from “black water” from toilets. This technology will decrease pollution.