Is Iron in Drinking Water Safe?

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Is Iron in Drinking Water Safe?

Iron is the most plentiful element on Earth, forming much of the Earth’s outer and inner core. Since iron is so abundant and occurs naturally in soil, it is very common to for iron to find it’s way into our groundwater or well water, and eventually to our homes, families, and pets. Iron can also be introduced to our water through iron pipes in older houses.

Iron is found in water in two forms; ferrous iron or ferric iron. Water containing ferrous iron is clear and colorless, but is when it is exposed to air that the water turns cloudy and reddish brown - this is ferric iron. Most of us notice iron in water by the harsh, metallic taste, but concentrations as little as 0.3milligrams per liter can cause water to turn that reddish brown color, and leave the telltale stains on our sinks, bathtubs, and faucets.

Is it safe to drink water with iron in it?

It’s highly unlikely that anyone could ingest an amount of iron through drinking water that would be truly toxic. While it’s true that large quantities of iron can damage blood vessels or damage the liver and kidneys, it is, for all practical purposes, impossible to intake that much iron through our drinking water.

On the other hand, iron is essential to our body’s function. Iron helps maintain our metabolism and is an essential part of hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen within red blood cells. For the plants around us, iron plays a role in the creation of chlorophyll, which keeps our plants green and is essential to their survival.

Should you remove iron from your water?

Even though you can’t really drink enough iron through your water for it to be unhealthy, there are many reasons to reduce or remove it from your water. Besides the disagreeable taste when it occurs in larger concentrations, iron in water combined with drinks like coffee and tea produces a darker color and taste that can be described as “inky”. In cooking, vegetables cooked in water containing too much iron can be given a darker, and less vibrant and attractive appearance. Left untreated, iron can encourage iron bacteria growth, which give water a terrible and destroy plumbing. For many though, it is the brownish, nearly impossible to remove water stains on their sinks, tubs, and toilets that gives the primary reason for wanting to remove iron. Luckily, even if we do remove this essential element from our water, we can still ingest all we need through food such as eggs, lean red meat, beans, peas, and other legumes.

How do you test your water for iron?

If you suspect your water is high in iron, but don’t see stains accumulating or notice it’s smell affecting your water, we recommend our PurTest Home Water Analysis Kit. Not only will this inexpensive kit test your water’s iron levels, but also 18 other contaminants including lead, bacteria, and chlorine.

How do you remove iron from your water?

Reverse osmosis systems were designed from the outset to remove minerals from water. For the homeowner, our most popular reverse osmosis system is the Pro Series Stage 5, which is easy to install, fits neatly under most sinks and deliver up to 50 gallons per day through the 5 stage filtration system.

Since iron has such an impact on the flavors and appearance or coffee, tea, and food, many coffee shops and restaurants will need a system capable of delivering a higher volume of water. The Evolution RO-1000 can deliver up to 1000 gallons a day, or 42 gallons per hour, on demand without a tank - saving precious space in tight kitchens and bars. We also stock an extensive range of other commercial reverse osmosis systems to fit nearly any industry. If you have questions about your application please give us a call at (888) 309-2837, over the past 18 years we’ve supplied cities, ethanol plants, breweries, and just about any other industry where water is used.


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