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Agricultural and Industrial Pollution

Water exists all over the world, but not all water worldwide is of the same high quality. Water dissolves substances from the environments in which it flows or pools—the same process that gives mineral waters their unique taste. Unfortunately, some of these potential water constituents are hazardous pollutants—lead, mercury, cyanide, nitrates, pesticides, and other substances introduced to the water system by the actions of humans.

It can be difficult to gauge exposure levels to these toxic substances. Because they can travel through the water system, it can also be a challenge to identify their origins. But it is beyond doubt that agricultural and industrial water contamination is a major public health hazard linked to many immediate and long-term physical ailments.

The major sources of human-made water pollution include mining, industry, livestock and farming and agricultural chemicals.

Water can be purified of many contaminants if treatment facilities are available, but supplies must be monitored so that contaminants can be properly identified in the first place. Unfortunately, both water monitoring and treatment can be prohibitively expensive for some communities.

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