Posted by Sherijan Ivan Dela Cruz on Feb 19th 2019

Micro Monster—What are They and What Can They Do To You

Micro Monster What are They and What Can They Do To You

In April of 2014, a city-wide advisory about public health and wellness has been released in Flint, Michigan after the city’s health department has tested the waters of Flint River and was proven to contain astronomical levels of lead. Flint River's headwaters come from Lake Huron, which by itself is not a populated body of water. The ultra-high amounts of lead weren't because of an industrial spill, but because of badly corroded pipes under the city’s concrete floor and the choice to use acidic water without proper treatment. Following this contamination, reported cases of Legionnaire’s disease and lead poisoning both started to rise in the city of Flint and the surrounding suburbs. After the incident, the city government decided to use other sources of water instead of the Flint River. It will take some time, however, before authorities can assess the full extent of the damage caused by the city’s lead-infested pipes.

                The contamination of the Flint River is just among the hundreds of documented incidents that made water, one of our vital resources, an instrument for disaster. Because of its molecular structure, water is an effective carrier of chemical compounds, even the harmful ones. These micro monsters—called contaminants—wreak havoc once inside the human body, destroying living cells, damaging tissues, and upsetting entire organ systems to the point of organ failure. Using their microscopic size to their advantage, contaminants—naturally-occurring elements or synthetic chemical compounds—persist in bodies of water that are prone to careless human activities. Nonetheless, we all require water to function properly and therefore, educating ourselves of the hazards of water contamination must be a priority. To learn more about water contaminants and their harmful effects, refer to the list below:


  • Barium – Gastrointestinal problems, muscular weakness, hypertension
  • Chromium – allergic dermatitis
  • Cyanide – neurological problems, tremors, difficulty in breathing, thyroid damage
  • Fluoride – brittle bones in adults, dental problems in children
  • Mercury – neurotoxic properties, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, mental retardation in infants
  • Nickel – increased risk of certain cancers, lung embolism, respiratory failure, asthma and chronic bronchitis
  • Arsenic – can cause skin cancer, skin lesions, cardiac and respiratory diseases, and neurotoxic properties
  • Copper – damage to liver or kidney, may upset digestive tract
  • Lead – Legionnaire’s disease (pneumonia of severe stage), damage to kidneys and immune system
  • Selenium – can cause alopecia, fingernail losses, numbness in fingers or toes


  • Dalapon – diarrhea, eye damage, cardiovascular problems, can cause irritation to the respiratory tract
  • Triazine herbicides – intrauterine growth retardation, premature birth, low birth weight


  • Bromate – carcinogenic
  • Chlorine – respiratory problems, asthma and shortness of breath, powerful irritant, carcinogenic
  • Trihalomethanes – cardiac arrhythmias, liver and kidney problems, can cause shrinking of the male genitalia
  • Haloacetic acids – sore throat, diarrhea, skin irritant, liver and kidney failure


  • Nitrate – “Blue Baby Syndrome,” congenital malformations, lymphoma, carcinogenic, anti-thyroid effects
  • BPA – can cause neurological problems, prostate problems, harmful effects to mammary glands
  • Radon – carcinogenic
  • Sodium – hypertension, vitamin A deficiency, harmful changes in the lungs and heart, methemoglobinemia
  • Coliforms – dysentery, diarrhea
  • Cryptosporidium Giardia – diarrhea, cramps, malaise, weight loss, chills, headaches

These micro monsters can cause irreversible damage to our health. Adequate knowledge about the quality of water we are consuming is proven vital to avoid such life-threatening situations like what happened in the city of Flint.