Understanding the health effects of hard water

Hard water: to drink or not to drink? This question plagues numerous homeowners across the country. The debate about hard and soft water spans decades, with some people proclaiming that hard water has health benefits while others discuss its adverse effects.

When researching the health effects of hard water, look at the bigger picture before making your final judgment. As providers of St. George’s water softener services, our team at Iron Mountain Plumbing can provide information to help you decide.

Continue reading to learn more about how hard water can affect your health and household. If you want professional assistance, call our team at (435) 500-2576.

What Harmful effects of hard water Contain?

Not all minerals found in hard water have adverse health effects. For example, most hard water sources contain moderate to high levels of calcium, magnesium, and fluoride. These minerals can actually improve the quality of your teeth and bones.

However, hard water can also contain harmful contaminants that have adverse effects on your health. Some hard water sources may include:

      • Nitrite and nitrate: Many fertilizers contain these ingredients. Following a fertilizer application, these elements can run off into local water supplies. 

      • Radionuclides: These particles can occur both in nature and through man-made sources like nuclear power plants. As they decay, the particles release radioactivity into their surroundings. 

      • Microorganisms: These tiny life forms are everywhere! Even after municipal treatment, some can still contaminate your water. 

      • Agricultural chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used to control weeds and destructive animals often make their way into local water sources via runoff. 

      • Arsenic: Some water supplies contain low levels of arsenic. Although you need lots of this element to cause damage, it can still cause illness when ingested in large, continuous quantities. 

      • Lead: This element has no taste or smell, nor does it provide visual queues. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that even low levels can have negative effects on your health.  

    The most reliable way to determine your water’s mineral content is through a water analysis panel provided by your trusted local filtration services. 

    Skin Irritation

    Skin irritation is one of the most common negative health effects of hard water. As the water evaporates off of your skin, it leaves trace amounts of minerals in its wake. These minerals may clog your pores, causing acne breakouts and inflammation.

    They also disrupt your skin’s natural pH balance, which dries out the epidermis. As a result, you might struggle with itchy, flaky, tight skin. Hard water can exacerbate sensitive skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea as well. 

    Limp, Lifeless Hair 

    The minerals in hard water can stick to your hair’s coating. When this occurs, your hair becomes weighed down and dull in appearance. If you struggle to maintain shiny, voluminous hair right after a wash, you might have a problem with hard water.

    The minerals may also irritate your scalp and induce dryness and flakiness, which causes embarrassment and annoyance. Additionally, the minerals interact with soap products in such a way that they form an insoluble layer of scum across your scalp. Thus, your shampoo works less effectively, no matter which hair remedies you try. 

    Cardiovascular Disease

    Hard water may also harm your cardiovascular system. Some evidence suggests that hard water can increase your likelihood of developing high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and eventually developing cardiovascular disease. 

    Kidney Stones

    Since hard water often contains high levels of calcium, you can safely assume that your calcium intake increases when you drink more water. High levels of calcium can increase your risk of kidney stones. As your kidneys work to filter out the excess calcium, the extra mineral buildup forms stones.

    Eventually, your urinary tract must pass these stones. Kidney stones often cause intense pain that can last for days or weeks. Sometimes, doctors must use lasers to blast the stones into smaller pieces when a person cannot pass them. 

    Alzheimer’s Disease

    A hard water supply with higher levels of aluminum can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you already have a family medical history that involves Alzheimer’s, you can test your tap water to determine whether your supply presents a risk factor for you and your family. 


    Unfiltered tap water may contain contaminants linked to numerous varieties of cancers. With 2 types of carcinogens found in American drinking water supplies, installing a filter could improve your household’s long-term health by limiting your family’s exposure to these contaminants.   


    Remember how arsenic made the list of possible contaminants? Evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic through drinking water can increase your risk of diabetes. Arsenic may trigger higher blood-glucose levels, which can develop into type 2 diabetes over time.  

    Other Effects of Hard Water

    Hard water can have other adverse effects outside of your body as well. Discover other, less obvious ways it may impact your life below. 

    Plumbing Damage

    The minerals within hard water can build up inside pipes and other important plumbing fixtures. This often results in drainage issues, poor water flow, and appliances with shorter lifespans. 

    Water Taste and Smell

    Hard water may not taste or smell as pure and clean as softened water. The minerals suspended in the liquid can affect how you and other people perceive the water. Some areas have stronger-tasting water than others. 

    Stained Clothes and Dishes

    Since hard water has an insoluble reaction with soaps and detergents, it often clings to other materials. Your dishes may have developed a chalky film. Your clothes may appear stained, dull, and limp despite numerous washing cycles. 

    Avoid the Negative Health Effects of Hard Water with Industry-Leading Filtration Systems

    Ready to discover what pure, clean, soft water tastes like? You’ll never know a better, bubblier rinse! At Iron Mountain Plumbing, we designed our whole-home water filtration services to benefit every aspect of your lifestyle, from your health to your ablutions.

    Call us at (435) 500-2576 to learn more about filtration installation. Don’t forget to check out our special offers, too! 

    Author Bio:
    Daniel Tanner
    Owner / Managing Member. Iron Mountain Plumbing is located in Cedar City, Utah. This organization primarily operates in the Plumbing Contractors business / industry within the Construction – Special Trade Contractors sector.

    Related Articles

    Contact Form

    Have questions? Fill out the form below and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

    See Our Privacy Policy