Today's inquiry came to use from 'Margette' who asked, " We used your iron test to test our tap water and it read pretty high by the color chart. Our house is old and in an older part of town we're told by neighbors the pipes underground are also really old and made of iron. Is the high iron bad for us?"
Thank you, Margette, for the iron in water question. The United States EPA does not consider dissolved iron in drinking water a hazard to anyone's health at any concentration. It does include iron in its Secondary Drinking Water Standards which deal with aesthetic matters such as the color, taste or odor of the water.
We recently read a few articles written by chemists water professionals who decided to look a bit further into the effects of dissolved iron concentrations in drinking water. They developed an interesting hypothesis that although dissolved iron does not directly cause health problems, it may indirectly play a part in allowing other, negative things to happen to the human body.
But, for now (at least), word on the street says that higher iron concentrations in drinking water pose no direct threat to human health... though they CAN ruin your favorite shirt/blouse with stains, make your plumbing fixtures look gross with ugly stains, and/or clog up your pipes, water heaters, water filters, etc.