The Importance of Iron in Our Body - Risk and Safety for Health

The Importance of Iron in Our Body - Risk and Safety for Health

Iron is one of the essential nutrients needed by the body. Iron helps produce hemoglobin, an important component of the red blood cell, which contains oxygen transported throughout the whole body.

By doing so, iron helps in warding off anemia and fatigue because of the increased production of hemoglobin, thus increasing the blood count. When consumed in higher doses, though, that is more than the body’s therapeutic level, iron overload occurs.

Medically known as Hemochromatosis, significant signs and symptoms that occur are weight loss, joint pain, and fatigue. The same signs and symptoms occur when iron in the body is lower than the therapeutic level and is commonly known as Iron Deficiency Anemia or IDA. When left untreated, hemochromatosis can lead to heart diseases, diabetes, and liver disorders. Only blood tests can reveal hemochromatosis.

The Different Types of Iron in Drinking Water and Where It Can Be Found

Iron can be found in food and can be synthetically produced as a supplement for those who have iron-deficiency anemia that needed to produce more red blood cells. Since synthetic iron is used as an essential health supplement, certain irons are present in water too.

Iron can make water turn from clear to brown or red, and when consumed, has a metallic taste. Iron also is one of the causes of turbidity and sediments found in water caused by rusted water pipes.

Iron reduction is a success when proper iron identification starts, wherein iron is differentiated from water and all other substances found in drinking water. Iron reduction processes are designed to reduce iron found in water and identify typical symptoms associated with iron.

Little do we know, there are different kinds of iron found in the environment, and those are:

  • Iron bacteria – are live microorganisms that require food and oxygen to survive and grow. Though not harmful to man and animals, the presence and growth of iron bacteria in the water supplies is mainly the reason for clogged water pipes, foul odor, and a metallic taste in the drinking water.
  • Sequestrated iron – mostly found in municipal water supplies wherein sequestering agent is added to water to keep iron in the ferrous state ( the condition of iron while it dissolved in water and makes the water clear) that hinders iron from undergoing ferric state ( the condition where iron is dissolved and water turns to red)
  • Heme iron – is usually formed with organic compounds that are present in water.

What is Iron Reduction and How is Iron Removed from Drinking Water

With a little background of the different types of iron in drinking water, sequestrated iron is the only iron that is almost safe to be consumed. Though iron bacteria can be treated through the chlorination process; however, chlorine is still a chemical and can be toxic.

The Importance of Iron in Our Body - Risk and Safety for Health

Since heme iron is a compound formed with organics in water, it doesn’t react with iron-reducing treatment. Thus, it needs to be treated with other technologies by mainly using chemical reagents. Like chlorine, the chemicals used in treating heme iron are also toxic, especially when the pure chemical is used.

Iron reduction is usually the process to removed iron from drinking water. For iron reduction to be successful, the type of iron in drinking water should be identified first and differentiated from other substances found in water. There are two types of technologies used in iron reduction: Ion Exchange and Oxidization.

With ion exchange, ferrous iron (a cation) can be easily removed through a process where ion charges interchanged between an aqueous solution and a solid. With the oxidation process, oxygen is introduced to the water supply. It turns the clear water into red water thus by simply converting the irons' ferrous state to a solid ferric state.

Once converted to a solid particle, iron is then filtrated and removed from the water supply. Nowadays, with advancing technology, an automatic back-washing filter is generally used to filter out the converted iron particles. Ensure that the filter is back washed regularly, thus preventing foul-smelling filters beds that can cause health problems.

How safe is drinking water?

The Importance of Iron in Our Body - Risk and Safety for Health

Iron, though oxidized and underwent ion exchange in water supplies, can still be found in drinking water, especially at home.

After all the water is being treated back at the public water system, it still isn’t potable when foul-smelling and brownish water is coming out of the water pipes due to a clogged water line caused by iron bacteria.

It could only mean that iron is still present in drinking water, causing turbidity, metallic taste, and sometimes sediments.

With the use of Berkey, you can now be at ease that you and your family are drinking clean water. 

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