Damaging Effects Of Wastewater on Our Life – What You Need To Know?

From the industrial period, humans have sent a considerable number of chemicals into the environment. Although some help to kill pests and weeds, most of the chemicals are waste from agricultural and industrial processes. Even worse, factories or plants ignore the handling of chemical waste that often leads to a serious result to the water supply. And when streams, rivers, and oceans were poisoned, not only aquatic life suffer but also humans.


If you want to know clearly about damaging effects of wastewater on our life, let’s find out everything in this post below.


Toxic chemicals in the wastewater


Phenol is known as an inexpensive organic material that is usually used in manufacturing plastic, rubber or pharmaceutical products. Due to a low-cost price, it’s produced in huge quantities, mostly as an intermediate in the production of other chemicals like caprolactam or used as synthetic fibers, nylon, bisphenol A, etc.

The maximum number of phenol in a liter of seawater is 5 mg, according to the Australian National Regulations. However, if the content of phenol excesses this number, it becomes poisonous to fishes, birds, and any animals. Moreover, it reduces fertility and life expectancy.

How does it affect human? Unlike other toxins such as heavy metal, phenol doesn’t gather in our body. But, it can break down quickly. Especially, phenol in manufacturing rubber products and tires is able to increase cardiovascular diseases than normal. If you catch some symptoms such as cyanosis, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, reduced body temperature, muscle weakness, and coma, your body is infected by phenol via either skin or digestive absorption.


Similar to phenol, cyanide is a chemical substance used in producing iron, steel or other chemicals and treating sewage. Besides, cyanide and cyanide compounds are one of the parts of pesticides, electroplates, plastics, and mining. Unlike phenol, just a small amount of cyanide creates a damaging effect on fishes and aquatic animals because they are extremely sensitive to this chemical.

If the free cyanide in water ranges from 5-7.2 mg per liter of water, it can lessen inhibit preproduction and swimming performance in fish. In case cyanide excesses 20 mg per liter of water, it can kill many kinds of fishes. And if it is over 200 mg, it becomes toxic to all species.

So, when we’re eating these food products, we’re easily exposed to low concentrations of cyanide. The more we eat, the more cyanide causes serious health effects. Some initial symptoms are dizziness, headache, rapid breathing, vomiting, weak pulse, drowsiness, nausea, and red face. Or some worst conditions can happen such as slow heart rate, convulsions, coma, dilated pupils, and even death.

Ferric hydroxide

Ferric hydroxide takes oxygen from the seawater, oxidizes ferric iron and then hydrolyze it into iron oxide slurry. This chemical substance is able to absorb some toxic substances contained in wastewater. After that, it brings toxin to remote places and settle into the seabed, causing damaging secondary effects.

Aside from three above chemicals, scientists find other metals in wastewater such as copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, and nickel. While some are necessary for our bodies, some might be dangerous if we consume a larger portion.

Common diseases caused by wastewater

Not only does wastewater contain toxic chemicals to our environment and body but also hold a significant number of viruses, bacteria, and parasites that are dangerous to humans.



A bacterium called “vibrio cholerae” is the main cause of a small intestinal disease, known as cholera. You easily acquire these bacteria when drinking or eating contaminated food, even vegetables that have been irrigated with poisoned water. Some usual symptoms that you might catch include vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and abdominal cramps.


Diarrhea is one of the most widespread diseases caused by wastewater. It leads to frequent passage of water and loose stools, causing dehydration and even death to infants and young children. To prevent this disease, you shouldn’t drink or eat anything from unsafe sources. And remember to boil the drinking water or use chemically treated water.


When you get symptoms ranging from mild to extreme diarrhea with blood and mucus, you might catch amoebiasis, which is caused by amoeba in contaminated water.

Typhoid fever

Every year, around 12 million people are caught typhoid fever that is caused when absorbing contaminated water and food into their body. Some common symptoms are the loss of appetite, nausea, fever, constipation, vomiting, and headache.

Intestinal Worms

Parasitic intestinal worms such as whipworms, roundworms or hookworms are often transferred through contaminated food and soil with human feces. According to a recent study, over 10% of people, especially children, have these worms inside their body that might cause growth retardation, anemia, and malnutrition.


Schistosomiasis (also called bilharzia) is caused by worms that are expanded by freshwater snails living in contaminated water. When we wash, swim or wade through these areas, the snails can penetrate our skin to cause infection and damage our intestines, liver, lungs, and bladder.


Due to lacking wastewater treatment, extreme amounts of the phosphorus and nitrogen can invade water sources and create algae bloom. This process is harmful to fish because it avails a lot of oxygen in the water. Furthermore, it comes with an objectionable and strong smell that can influence the taste of water. What’s more, excessive nitrogen in water is injurious to humans since it causes blue baby syndrome or methemoglobinemia or miscarriages.

Hope that this post has helped you understand more about damaging effects of wastewater on our life. And if you have any query related to this topic, don’t mind asking us anything. We’re always there to support you.