What pollutants are in China’s tap water?

Posted on July 31, 2018
by PureLiving

Tap water in China is heavily polluted, and these pollutants can cause a variety of health issues. While most urban residents in China know not to drink water straight from the tap, many don’t take the same level of caution when using water for other purposes.




In China’s tap water are many pollutants and contaminants. These commonly include general sediment and rust, bacteria and viruses, chlorine and chlorine byproducts like Trihalomethanes, nitrates, and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, aluminum, and chromium.




Studies have shown that people absorb more toxic byproducts of chlorine through skin absorption or inhalation than through drinking, meaning you might be as much at risk by showering in unfiltered tap water as drinking it.

Water also picks up secondary contamination in the pipes, particularly metals and rust. For example, 20% of the water pipes in Shanghai were installed before 1968; the poor quality of these pipes is one of the primary contributors to unsafe water.




What are the health risks?

Untreated water can cause a series of serious health problems; a key pollutant is lead, which can leach into the water from poor quality pipes. Even small amounts of lead are extremely hazardous to human health, causing kidney failure, elevated blood pressure, anemia, and cancer.

Due to high levels of bacteria in water caused by improper dumping of sewage and contamination, even treated water in China has additional health concerns as water treatment works use high levels of chlorine to tackle the problem. However, too much chlorine in water can react with other matter, causing byproducts linked with cancer. Chlorine itself can also cause increases in asthma and skin irritations, as well as bronchitis and premature ageing.




Some of the most serious threats to health of these pollutants are to children. The most serious threat from lead is to children under six and unborn fetuses, where it has been linked with stunted growth and brain developmental problems. Nitrates also have serious repercussions for children and can even be fatal to infants under six months old.


How can you treat the water?

It is hard to get official, reliable information about the true state of your water. It is also important to remember that even if your water is clean when it leaves the treatment plant, if the pipes carrying the water to you are of poor quality, it almost certainly has acquired more pollutants on its way to you. In addition, a series of scandals about the quality of bottled water shows it is hard to guarantee the quality of the bottled water you buy.

Boiling water for drinking can kill bacteria and reduce chlorine but may concentrate the heavy metals. It also is not convenient to boil all the water you use.

An efficient and effective water filtration system is one way to guarantee the water is filtered as it arrives at your home or office and can offer significant savings in terms of money and hassle.

There are many different water purification technologies available, depending on the type of contaminant you want to remove, your desired water use, and your budget.


What does PureLiving do to help?

PureLiving has a range of water testing packages designed to assess a wide range of common pollutants. All our testing and on-site home and office inspections are conducted by bilingual Indoor Environmental Consultants, and our test instruments are top-of-the-line calibrated equipment. We will provide full analysis in easy-to-understand format in English or Chinese, plus a personal debrief to discuss options.




We have various types of water filtration products available, including whole house filters, water softening systems, ozone purifiers, laundry or dishwasher filters, shower and bath filters and drinking water filters. Whether you are looking for standalone products or recommendations after testing, PureLiving will help you with sourcing the correct system to make sure your water is clean and safe to use.