5 Harmful Effects of Too Much of Iron in Water

Introduction to Effects of Too Much of Iron in Water

Even if the water coming out of your tap looks clear it might not be so. It might be loaded with contaminants like ferrous iron.

Iron is one of the many minerals that is required for healthy living. Without an adequate quantity of it entering your body, you may experience anemia, fatigue, etc. So, drinking water containing iron may be beneficial to your health.

However, too much of it in water can have several adverse effects on your health. One way to prevent them is water testing. Testing your water for allowed levels of iron is necessary to avoid complications.

So, what are the effects of high levels of iron in water, and how does it harm? Let’s take a look.

Effects on Health

While a low level of iron in water isn’t considered harmful, they often carry certain bacteria with them that feed off the iron in drinking water. Ingesting water with these bacteria can be harmful.

If the iron levels are too high in drinking water, it can cause severe health issues like iron overload. Iron overload is characterized by a mutation in the gene that digests iron.

It can also lead to hemochromatosis, which can again damage your liver, heart, and even cause diabetes.

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Apart from this, excessive iron in drinking water is often linked to stomach problems, nausea, vomiting, and other issues.

Effects on Skin

Excessive amounts of iron or magnesium can damage healthy skin cells and this can lead to wrinkles.

Also, iron in water and soap is not a good combination. Iron doesn’t dissolve in soap and can cause problems while showering.

Soap scum residues will remain not only in your bathtub but your skin as well, which can, with time, lead to acne or eczema, or other skin problems.

Metallic Taste of Food and Drink

Water with iron in it is very unpleasant to drink and has a metallic taste to it. So, when you use this water to prepare beverages like tea or coffee, it will taste bad and create a dark concoction.

Similar effects are seen when cooking vegetables with water containing iron. The vegetables and other foods will blacken and taste bad.

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Iron water leaves residue and stains wherever it is used. Be it if you wash dishes with it, or wash clothes, water containing iron will always leave orange or dark stains on them. Iron water can also leave stains on bathtubs, shower, and toilet.


Water with high levels of iron, when flows through pipes, can cause iron residue to build up inside the walls of the pipes.

This can again cause clogs to form which typically results in clogged toilets and reduced water pressure in your home.

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Iron has bacteria attached to it and that can cause brown slime to build up inside the pipes. And when the residue is suddenly released, it causes a sudden rush of discolored water.

It’s because of these effects that it is recommended to get a water testing done to measure if the levels of iron in your home water are within the prescribed limits.

Iron, in small quantities, is not harmful in and of itself, but high levels of it in drinking water or water used for other purposes can have negative effects as discussed above.

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