Hard Water and Health – Things You Need to Know

Live exist on Earth due to an essential element i.e. Water. It is important for daily errands like sanitation, cooking, hygiene, and many other things. Safe drinking water is everyone’s necessitated but are we getting pure water, this is a big quandary.

Studies show that 17 % of the world population uses water from remote sources, 32 % protected sources and the remaining ones are subjected to well water. Water is not only consumed in its natural form but also used in beverages and food industry. As water usage is increasing, gradually the scarcity has risen. Due to this water harvesting, recycling and desalinated water are the accounted sources.

Many people live in regions where hard water is the only major source for water utilization. This hard water causes household troubles like damaging appliances, white cast on utensils, appliances, and pipes and lays negative effects on hair and skin. Most importantly they are health hazards. Many diseases across the globe are flourishing due to hard water usage. Diseases like cardiovascular problems, eczema, diabetes, reproductive failure, renal dysfunction and many more are due to concentrated water (hard).

Hard Water:

Hard water is when minerals like calcium and magnesium ions are present in water in the concentrated form. There are other minerals too like iron, manganese, aluminum, strontium, and zinc but the commonest of all is limestone. This limestone is the root cause of limescale buildup. Rainwater is pure which seeps through the soil and stones and then stored as groundwater. This hardness is due to the deposition of minerals through various channels.

Potential Health Hazards:

The World Health Organization states that hard water has no adverse effects known till date. Hence does not necessarily have health hazards. In fact, it may be beneficial regarding calcium and magnesium intake. Adverse effects are due to the other elements found in hard water.

However, the study shows that other minerals of hard water can worsen health issues such as:

  • Cancer:

Taiwanese scientists found that hard water laid a negative statistical association of various types of cancer morbidity/mortality with respect to calcium and magnesium. Certain types of cancer like gastric, pancreatic, colon and renal proven lowered mortality rates. Another study illustrates the positive effect of magnesium on lowering esophageal and ovarian cancer.

  • Cardiovascular Disease:

An inverse relationship between cardiovascular disease and hard water was reported. However, there was a contradiction as few studies stated risk factors like hypertension and elevated serum lipids.

  • Alzheimer Disease:

Aluminum can cause Alzheimer disease litigious. In a few cases, it causes renal failure and brain pathology. However, there is no significant evidence to prove the same.

  • Cerebrovascular Mortality:

Few reports show the positive impact of magnesium on lowering stroke risk. It is seen that low blood pressure was marked with intake of magnesium. Limiting magnesium levels helps in lowering death rates. It is also beneficial to drink hard water containing magnesium as it fulfills Mg deficiency.

  • Childhood Atopic Dermatitis:

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a skin disease i.e. inflammatory, noncontagious and pruritic skin disorder. Exposure of hard water worsens eczema problem. A diagnosed by doctors it prevailed that more concentrated was the water, eczema tend to increase and vice versa.

  • Kidney Stones:

Hard water and urinary calcium, magnesium, and nitrate levels were observed during the studies. Hard water increased the kidney stones risk in comparison to soft water. Hence if someone is having this problem drinking soft water is preferred.

  • Reproductive Health:

Male Reproductive failure, Fertility problems, and stillbirth were noticed in few regions of India due to hard water containing a high amount of calcium, magnesium, and fluoride. However, in females, magnesium showed prevention from preterm labor and preeclampsia.


Studies showed a mix of reviews. A positive correlation was seen between hard water minerals and prevention. Increase calcium and magnesium helped in eradicating deficiency accompanying health benefits. Still, if we go through skin issues and other problems it was on the negative side. Hence, getting water hardness checked is the best decision for further initiation.