Dangers of Iron Contaminants in Your Tap Water: Protect Your Family with Effective Water Filtration

Danger! An estimated 30 million Americans drink water with high levels of iron.

Iron, a common element constituting 5 percent of the Earth's crust, can pose challenges in drinking water.

Rainwater infiltrates the soil, dissolving iron, which then seeps into aquifers, becoming a source of groundwater for wells. This article delves into the various aspects of iron contamination, its forms, associated health problems, and effective water filtration solutions.

Iron in Water forms

Iron in water exists primarily as soluble ferrous iron or insoluble ferric iron.

Ferrous Iron

  • Soluble iron that turns into visible, staining ferric form when exposed to atmospheric conditions.
  • Common in deep wells with less sunlight exposure.

Ferric Iron

  • Insoluble and occurs naturally when iron oxidizes.
  • Appear reddish or orange, causing clogs in pipes, showerheads, and fixtures.

Bacterial Iron

  • Forms when bacteria bond with iron, leaving a slimy red residue.
  • Found in well water due to lack of maintenance, broken pipelines, or poor sanitation.

Effects on Taste and Food

Effects on Taste and Food

Dissolved ferrous iron imparts a metallic taste to water, affecting beverages and darkening vegetables during cooking. Understanding these effects is crucial for maintaining water quality and enhancing culinary experiences.

Tains and Deposits

Even low iron concentrations (0.3 mg/L) can lead to persistent reddish-brown stains on fixtures and laundry. Awareness of these staining effects is essential for maintaining a clean and aesthetically pleasing environment.


  • In remote areas: 50–90 ng/m³.
  • Urban sites: Approximately 1.3 µg/m³.
  • Proximity to iron- and steel-producing plants: Levels may reach up to 12 µg/m³.


  • Median iron concentration in rivers: 0.7 mg/litre.
  • Anaerobic groundwater: Typically 0.5–10 mg/litre, occasionally up to 50 mg/litre.
  • Drinking-water: Usually below 0.3 mg/litre, but higher in areas using iron salts in water treatment.

If the water in your home or office has a reddish-brown tint and metallic taste, it likely has a high iron content.


  • Iron content in various foods: Liver, kidney, fish, and green vegetables contain 20–150 mg/kg.
  • Red meats and egg yolks contain 10–20 mg/kg.
  • Rice and many vegetables and fruits have a low iron content (1–10 mg/kg).

Human Exposure and Kinetics

  • The daily iron intake from food: 10–14 mg.
  • Drinking water (0.3 mg/litre) contributes 0.6 mg to daily intake.
  • Iron intake from the air in urban areas: 25 µg/day.

Health Effects of Iron in Drinking Water

Crucial for transporting oxygen into the blood, most tap water in the U.S. contributes approximately 5 percent of the dietary iron requirement.

Impact on Skin

Impact on Skin

  • Excessive minerals, including iron, can harm skin cells, leading to infections and wrinkles.
  • Such water may not rinse off soap residue, causing clogged pores and oil buildup, resulting in skin problems like eczema or acne.

Health Effects

  • High iron content can lead to overload, causing diabetes, hemochromatosis, stomach problems, nausea, and potential damage to the liver, pancreas, and heart.
  • There is an additional health risk associated with iron in water because it contains bacteria.

Effects on Food and Beverages

  • Iron imparts an unpleasant metallic taste to water, affecting the taste of beverages.
  • Cooking with high-iron water can darken fruits, vegetables, and other foods, altering their flavor.

Damage to Pipes

  • High iron content leads to buildup in pipes, causing clogs and reducing water pressure.

Reddish-brown slime in pipes can result in unexpected rushes of discolored water through faucets

How to Remove Iron from Drinking Water:

How to Remove Iron from Drinking Water:

To address iron presence in drinking water, a comprehensive approach is essential.

  1. With City water find out at Life Water Report, you can get a free water quality analysis report. click here
  2. With well water have your well tested to understand the specific iron types and their concentrations.
  3. When exploring water filtration systems, tailor your choice to your water's unique composition. Different methods prove effective depending on iron content.
  4. Water softeners remove ferrous iron from hard water. However, in cases of elevated iron content, it's advisable to complement water softeners with specialized iron filters to enhance overall efficiency.
  5. Consider shock chlorination as an intensive treatment to disinfect well water. This process eliminates bacteria that bind with iron, laying the groundwork for subsequent filtration. By following these steps, you can implement a tailored and effective strategy for removing iron from your drinking water.
  6. However, it is best to use a water filtration system since it is more cost-effective and safer such as Reverse osmosis systems: These systems can effectively remove a wide range of contaminants, including iron.

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In summary, understanding iron levels in drinking water is important for assessing health risks.

Upgrade to the future of hydration and purity with Pitcher of Life's advanced products, offering unparalleled filtration to safeguard your health and well-being. Trust us for the best water filtration solutions that are beyond the ordinary, providing you with water free from heavy metals, iron, and contaminants.

Connect with us on social media for the latest updates and news. For inquiries, contact us at info@pitcheroflife.com or call 808-425-0474 Hawaiian time zone

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  • Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B. B., & Beeregowda, K. N. (2014). Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary toxicology7(2), 60–72. https://doi.org/10.2478/intox-2014-0009
  • Huang, B., Li, Z., Chen, Z., Chen, G., Zhang, C., Huang, J., Nie, X., Xiong, W., & Zeng, G. (2015). Study and health risk assessment of the occurrence of iron and manganese in groundwater at the terminal of the Xiangjiang River. Environmental science and pollution research international22(24), 19912–19921. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5230-z
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