Hög koncentration järn i dricksvatten – en potentiell hälsorisk / Elevated concentration of iron in drinking water – a potential health risk
Iron is an important nutrient, and is included in e.g. haemoglobin. It is excreted in very small amounts. High intake, mainly from Fe in medicines or supplements, may cause bloody diarrhoea, and later acidosis, liver- and kidney damage and heart failure. Fe from drinking water is infrequently discussed. 1. Cows and calves on a farm in southern Sweden suffered from bloody diarrhoea, loss of appetite and weight, apathy, paralysis and finally death. The well water had high iron concentration, 1.3 mg/L. Autopsy of four calves showed inflammation of parts of the gastric tract. When the farmer changed well the problem cancelled out. 2. A stud owner reported problems with diarrhoea and weight loss on horses. People and cattle also had suffered from severe diarrhea and additional health problems. The water Fe concentrations were 1.0–5.5 mg/L. Hair of four horses and the son all had elevated Fe levels. 3. A man had constant constipation and pains in joints and head. His hair had extremely high iron concentration, as well as his drinking water, 3.5 mg/L. 4. Two other men had constant diarrhoea. Their drinking waters were high in Fe, 5.1 mg/L.
It can be concluded that high iron levels in drinking water, >1 mg/L, can be a health risk.