Parasites occur in nature by attaching themselves to 'hosts'. Simply put: a tape worm is a parasite that attaches itself to the body. Suffice it to say, parasites are not good. In fact, the body and other living organisms do their utmost to repel them through the immune system.
We won't get into all aspects of parasites here except to say that if your Immune System has been compromised, you can find yourself facing slight discomfort all the way to death.
An example would be eColi where most people in Walkerton, survived with varying levels of discomfort – very major discomfort in some cases. Sadly, some did not survive, however these cases were in the minority.
Let's sum this up with the thought that you do not want to ingest drinking water that has parasites in it.
Problem is, parasites are invisible. That cold glass of clear water could in fact be filled with contaminants that can kill you. You want to ensure you have purified that glass of water, not simply 'treated' it.
Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia and other waterborne parasites have occasionally passed through municipal treatment systems and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms.
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Effects of Water Pollution