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Is/can there be an unsafe level of iron in drinking water?

(-----) January 30, 2008

The water supplied to my home has iron levels so high that just running the water into the sink leaves an iron film on the bottom as it drains out.

The grit level is actual tangeble to the fingers.

The only thing I can find on the internet is that iron in drinking water is not a problem.

The source of the iron, according to the local government, is the old piping and is not a rpoblem.

I generally change the house 5-micron filters once a month, but accasionally have to do it every 2 weeks as the house water pressure drops to levels to low to cook & clean with.

When I chaged the filers last October the new filter plugged up in less that=n 1/2 hour & hade to be changed again.

I have to wash a load of dark clothes prior to white or all turns red.

Lester Fritz
- Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, USA

February 2, 2008

There is a level of iron where it becomes difficult to drink, thats 100%. At this level the temperature required to prevent the liquid freezing is very high, and dringking it at this temp would be unsafe, you would burn yourself.

So, please ensure that you never drink 100% iron.

Geoff Crowley
Crithwood Ltd.
Westfield, Scotland, UK
crithwood logo

February 5, 2008

An interesting connundrum. Firstly, who owns the iron pipe? - They will surely be responsible for its condition and no doubt you pay them for its use. Secondly, who supplies the water? If you are paying for potable water, it must be drinkable. However, I recall many years ago that California made the Pacific Ocean "potable water" under its Proposition 65 - no doubt if I am wrong on this point, it will be pointed out and I am willing to stand corrected. Anyway, in the UK, if something is sold as "potable water", it must be drinkable.

Back to facts. In the UK the East Cambridge Council put a limit on the amount of iron that can be in potable water; this is 0.200mg/litre (or 200micrograms/litre):

It is widely agreed that iron doesn't actually do you any harm, but it certainly tastes foul when in water. Presumably this 200 microgram limit is below the level that most people can taste it. Personally, in the absence of anything else, I would use this my guideline.

If the pipework is not yours and the water doesn't come from your own private borehole, you may want to consider litigation against the pipe owners and water suppliers, on the grounds of the water being unfit to drink. If anyone contests your claim, make them drink a sample of the water in public!

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

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