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TDS in Tap Water: Its Potential Health Risks and How to Reduce It

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Tds scale water

About Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

What do you know about TDS? TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids, and it is used to portray the different inorganic matters, organic salts, and other substances that are dissolved in water. These other substances include chloride, calcium, nitrate anions, sodium, hydrogen carbonate, sulfate, potassium cations, and potassium carbonate.

If there are present dissolved solids in water, the taste of the water is directly affected. Although people claim that water does not have a taste, this is not true at all. Professional water tasters say that water that does not have total dissolved solids is not good; the water tastes dull, bland, and flat, which is not what people are looking for in the water.

Water is a very vital part of living and a universal solvent. No living being can survive without drinking water. Moreover, water is part of almost everything that a human being does, such as cooking, taking a bath, brushing your teeth, washing dishes and clothes, and many more. Therefore, the water that humans use every day should be as healthy and safe as possible.

The drinking water that is bought by people to consume has a high concentration of Total Dissolved Solids when tested. There are so many things that can contaminate and ruin the water that people drink.It encouraged the government to make a strict legal policy to ensure that there are no harmful substances in the water. This regulation is ideal for improving water quality and making it safe for human consumption, but unfortunately, TDS or total dissolved solids are not included in this policy.

Only one guideline is made about the TDS content of any drinking water, but it is very unreliable. It is because it does not prevent companies from putting a dangerous amount of TDS in the water. The sole reason it is added to water is to achieve a flavorful and more attractive taste for consumers.

Furthermore, the more total dissolved solids content you have in your water at home, the more effects it could have in other areas of your home and not just your health. The pipes in your home would not be too happy with water that is highly concentrated with dissolved solids. It is because it can cause these pipes to corrode. After all, these substances can build up on pipes or fixtures as time passes, which causes a metallic taste to the water.

The real question here is what the effects of total dissolved solids are. Fortunately, this article is devoted to educating you about the effects of total dissolved solids (TDS) in water.

Effects of Drinking Water With TDS

Currently, there are still no specific health hazards that TDS causes to human beings. If you read research and studies all over the globe, they are not proving anything about the effects of the human body. But experts and scientists studying TDS over the years have found some relationships between illnesses and the TDS content of water.

Professionals have studied diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease, and arteriosclerotic heart disease and have traced an inverse relationship with TDS.

In a community in Australia, the number of patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction and other heart diseases rose to a significant number.

Later on, experts found out that the increasing death toll on these patients is correlated with the high traces of calcium, chloride, pH, fluoride, magnesium salts, total hardness, soluble solids, and alkalinity. But, even if there are cases mentioned above, there still needs to be a known study that strongly proves the claim of other studies.

According to the Water Quality Association, regardless of whether there are no health hazards observed in healthy individuals ingesting TDS at varying levels. It is because of the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, which controls the absorption and excretion of minerals.

Where Does TDS Come From?

Water is a very easy target for TDS because it absorbs contamination or pollution from natural and man-made contaminants. Therefore, any sources may be man-made or natural and can be a source of dissolved solids in water.

Below are the natural sources of TDS in the water that you drink:· Carbonate deposit· Mineral Spring· Sea Water Intrusion· Salt Deposit

Here are the man-made sources of TDS in the water that you drink:· Industrial wastewater· Agricultural and urban runoff· Chemicals used to treat water· Anti-skid materials· Sewage· Hardware that helps distribute water

Is There A Test To Determine TDS Content?

The water treatment process is essential to maintain the drinking water quality for consumers. If any unwanted chemicals or substances are present in the water, then the water should be treated and not consumed by people.

Testing In Tap Water Supply

The EPA or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is responsible for testing the water in the water supply for any traces of TDS and other harmful substances. There are two categories of EPA tests, one is the Primary, and the next is the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level Standards.

As for TDS, it is tested in the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level Standard Test. The standard TDS level is 500 milligrams per liter. As has been said above, this secondary test that includes testing for TDS is not created as a policy that should be strictly followed, but it only acts as a regulation. Therefore, there is no strong imposition of the standard of TDS content in the water.

Testing Private Water Supply

If you live in a home where the source of the water is private, then the water you drink every day is not tested according to EPA standards. It is because private supplies are not the responsibility of the government. Therefore, the homeowners are responsible for having their water supply or source tested and checked for harmful contaminants or TDS.

There are many other indicators of high TDS presence. Here are some examples of the on TDS indicators.

High TDS Indicators

1. Bitterness in taste2. Hardness3. Potassium Chloride4. White mineral build up in faucets5. Magnesium Carbonate Presence6. Scale Formation7. Sodium Chloride Presence8. Water spots on dishes

How is TDS Measured?

The answer to this question is an absolute yes. You need to test your water because the tests will determine if the water is safe to drink or if it’s potable. Water tests are vital to ensure that the water you are drinking is potable and free from the presence of any contaminants.

Total Dissolved Solids can affect the taste of the water that you are using. It can make your water bitter or sulfuric in taste depending on how much TDS is present in the water.

Secondly, water that has any contaminants or the presence of TDS should not be consumed by people because it could have some serious health hazards and concerns to human being’s health.

Moreover, the presence of contaminants and TDS can affect the water filters, and it can also ruin different utensils that you wash with the contaminated water.

How To Reduce TDS Levels In Water

The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) test measures the total amount of inorganic and organic substances in a liquid. It is typically measured in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L).

You can test the water quality and TDS contamination at home using a handheld device called TDS meter. It indicates the total amount of dissolved substances, including ionized solids like salt and minerals.

Ionized minerals boost water conductivity, so the TDS meter calculates water conductivity levels to estimate the amount of total dissolved substances. You can get a basic TDS meter for $10 to measure dissolved content parts per million. However, higher-priced TDS meters come with advanced features for increased accuracy levels.

Using a TDS meter to test water quality

  1. Ensure the TDS meter is calibrated correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Collect a sample of the water to be tested in a clean container.
  3. Turn on the TDS meter and place the electrode into the water sample, ensuring that it is fully submerged.
  4. Stir the water gently to ensure the electrode is in contact with all the water in the sample.
  1. Wait for the reading on the TDS meter to stabilize, which usually takes about 10-30 seconds.
  1. Record the TDS reading displayed on the meter.
  1. Rinse the electrode with distilled or deionized water after each use to prevent contamination and ensure accuracy.

The normal TDS level ranges in water are typically 50-500 ppm for freshwater sources and tap water and may vary for bottled water depending on the specific product. When a TDS meter indicates a measurement of 100 ppm, the tested water contains a concentration of 100 parts per million of total dissolved solids. This means that for every million particles in the water sample, 100 of them are dissolved ions, and the remaining 999,900 particles are water molecules.

Dissolved particles can include a variety of organic and inorganic substances, such as salts, minerals, metals, and organic compounds. These dissolved solids can come from various sources, such as natural minerals in the ground or artificial pollutants.

In general, lower TDS levels in drinking water are considered better for health and taste, as high levels of dissolved solids can affect the taste and clarity of the water. However, TDS levels can vary depending on the source and treatment of the water quality, as well as the specific application.

Overall, using a TDS meter is a simple and effective way to measure the total dissolved solids concentration in water and can provide valuable information about pure water quality and potential contaminants.

Is It Necessary To Measure TDS Levels In Water

The answer to this question is an absolute yes. You need to test your water because the tests will determine if it is safe to drink or potable. Water tests are vital to ensure that the water you are drinking is potable and free from the presence of any other contaminants.

Total Dissolved Solids present can affect the water quality that you are using. It can make your water bitter or sulfuric in taste, depending on how much TDS is present in the water.

Secondly, water containing any contaminants or the presence of total dissolved solids TDS should not be consumed by people because it could have serious health hazards and concerns to human beings’ health.

Moreover, the presence of contaminants and total dissolved solids can affect the water filters and ruin different utensils you wash with the contaminated water.

Difference Between TDS and Hardness in Water

Total dissolved solids TDS and water hardness are two measurements providing water quality information.

TDS refers to the total amount of external substances dissolved in water. On the other hand, water hardness refers specifically to the concentration of dissolved substances, calcium, and magnesium ions in water.

These ions can form mineral deposits and affect the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. Water hardness is typically measured in grains per gallon (mpg), parts per million (ppm), or milligrams per liter (mg/L) and can be measured using a hardness test kit.

While total dissolved solids TDS can include some of the same substances that contribute to water hardness, water hardness is a specific type of TDS measurement that only consists of the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. Therefore, a high TDS reading does not necessarily indicate high water hardness and vice versa.

High water hardness can generally lead to mineral buildup in hot water pipes and appliances, which makes it difficult to lather soaps and detergents. High TDS levels, on the other hand, can affect the taste and clarity of water and indicate the presence of potential contaminants.

How To Reduce TDS Levels In Water

According to the World Health Organization, there have been no studies proving that the presence of TDS and other harmful substances in the water is not safe for everyone. But it is necessary to know how to reduce the presence of TDS in our water in different ways, including the use of water filters.


Distillation is a process that needs water filters or water purifiers. It is the easiest way to make sure that the TDS content in water is reduced. The setup of the distillation process needs some special equipment found in a chemical laboratory.

In distillation, you must boil the water so that the steam rises to the colder surface and transforms into liquid form. In this process, the salty taste content in the water will stay at the bottom because it is not able to vaporize or steam, leaving you with cleaner water afterwards.

Reverse Osmosis

A Reverse Osmosis unit forces the water into a fine membrane that removes the smallest particles in the water. It is the most effective way to purify your water in the best way possible. This type of water filtering method is the best solution to keep your water potable and safe.The world today is full of different substances that can harm and other contaminate the water, so the best thing we have left to do is educate ourselves and learn new ways to help filter the water we consume daily.

Water tests can be quite expensive in the long run. This is why it’s better to invest in something with a long-term goal in mind. A whole house water filter can not only filter out TDS but also a number of other water contaminants. See more here

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