Acid precipitation may lead to loss of essential elements and increase the concentrations of potentially toxic elements in drinking water. In this study 46 private wells from acid regions(pH < 6.5) were compared with 43 private wells from alkaline areas in southern Sweden. The concentrations of about 30 elementswere analysed especially by inductively coupled plasma opticalemission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). The concentrations of essentialelements such as calcium, chromium, selenium and potassium weresignificantly lower in acid than in alkaline well water. On theother hand, the levels of potentially toxic metals such as cadmium and lead were significantly higher in acid well water. High copper concentrations, observed at pH around 6 in contrast to earlier findings, is to be considered as an acidification problem, as should the high fluoride values. The highest concentrations of a number of metals and ions, for example calcium, chromium, titanium and sulphate, appeared at pH 7.0–8.0, where the peak in concentrations occur due to leachingof metals from soil particles in acid soils and precipitation ofcarbonates and sulphates in more alkaline soils. The low levelsof especially calcium and magnesium ions, and some micronutrientsin the acid water, in combination with high concentrations of acid ions and toxic microelements, may cause nutritional imbalances. This should be regarded as risk factors with relationto effects on human health.
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Rosborg, I., Nihlgård, B. & Gerhardsson, L. Inorganic Constituents of Well Water in One Acid and One Alkaline Area of South Sweden. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 142, 261–277 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022078925064