The Harmful Health Effects of Iron

The Harmful Health Effects of Iron

The Harmful Health Effects of Iron in Drinking Water & How to Remove Them

Water Testing
Water Test Kit

Clear looking water does not mean it does not contain unhealthy contaminants! National Water Service always tests for Iron (Ferric and Ferrous) at every service and free water quality testing appointments. You may be surprised with how much iron is in your well water and how it may affect you. If your water has a reddish or brown coloration and/or a metallic taste, it is a sign you have high levels of iron in your well water. High levels of Iron can cause many harmful health effects. Luckily Iron can easily be filtered from your water with proper equipment. 

You must be sure to test your water from a drinking source to get the most accurate water test result. If your well tests passes for iron, you still may fail from the tap if you have any iron pipes in your house. This happens when the water goes through pipes that are exposed to oxygen. In return the pipes begin to rust and leeches iron particles into the water.

The Health Risks 

(High levels of iron can pose health risks. Filtering your water is highly advisable)

Bacteria Growth

Water Testing bacteria

A tiny piece of iron makes a great home to grow and thrive for bacteria. Small particles of iron can host bacteria, which can be dangerous to humans depending on which bacteria is being festered. Once bacteria enters into your body, the bacteria can spread and make you sick. 

Iron In Pipes

When high levels of iron flow through pipes, it can build up and clog your pipes, toilets, sinks and lead to low water pressure. You may even encounter an accumulation of a reddish/ brown slime in your pipes and an unexpected rush of discolored water through the faucets.

Internal Organ Damage

Low levels of iron may be beneficial to your health, but high iron content leads to an overload (the human body stores iron in the organs). This can cause diabetes, hemochromatosis, stomach problems, nausea, iron poisoning and vomiting. It can also damage the liver, pancreas, heart and even organ failure.

Common symptoms of iron poisoning include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Joint Pain
  • Abdominal Pain

Skin Conditions

Iron exposed skin may result in acne, eczema and increase other pre-existing skin conditions. Iron clogged pores may result in acne. A high level presence of minerals such as iron or magnesium can damage skin cells that may lead to infection and wrinkles. 

If you find yourself or a loved one struggling with skin conditions, iron may be the cause. Medications may help, but ultimately you need to remove the iron from your water to really maximize the benefits of the medication and remove one cause. 

Beverages and Food

Iron in water may have a metallic taste that can be unpleasant. Iron contaminated water used to make any beverages such as tea or coffee, their taste will get affected. Also, water with high iron content will blacken fruits, vegetables and other foods cooked in it and spoil the flavor.


Iron Staining
Iron Staining in a bathtub

Iron tends to leave a reddish/orange/brown stain and residue on bathroom fixtures including bathtubs, showers, and faucets. If you wash dishes with iron contaminated water, you may find dark red stains on cutlery, utensils and plates. In addition, it also causes the color of your clothes to fade and reduces their quality.

How to Remove Iron From Your Drinking Water!

You Don’t Have to Accept the Health Risks!

Iron in tap water is a common problem in the DMV area. However, while the risk is real, you don’t have to accept it. 

The recommended or healthy level of iron in water is less than 0.3 mg/L. The best water treatment for iron removal is to install an IBSB(Iron breaker sulfur Breaker) water filter in your home. It helps to remove iron, sulfur, manganese and more from water, making it healthy enough to drink and preventing harmful health effects. 

For lower levels of iron a water softener and sediment filter may provide some iron filtration as well. After Installation, you and your family can enjoy safe, filtered water straight from the tap.

Also Read: IBSB Page & Staining

At National Water Service, we strive to provide our customers with the best water quality products for their specific water wants & needs. As such, we are constantly trying to expand not only our knowledge base but the products we offer. The Mid-Atlantic regions water is not only rich in iron, but radon, nitrates, turbidity, arsenic and more, which can not only adversely effect your home and appliances, but your health as well. We continue to proudly offer only the best non-proprietary water treatment, purification and filtration products in the industry.

For more information please contact one of our representatives by calling 301-854-1333. You can also contact us through our contact form.

On City Water? EWG provides an online city water contaminant database.

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