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    Default FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    I have thrown this discussion in another forum in the past but I’d like new, fresh inputs.

    We’re all surrounded with chemicals, some inoffensive, some harmful and there isn’t much we can do about it. We all heard of the anode rod and its role in keeping the water heater from rusting away. The sacrificial rod (as it is also called), will corrode away and disintegrate in the contact of water to keep the less reactive metal such as steel, intact. These rods are mostly made of magnesium or aluminium and may contain other chemical components such as zinc. The time it takes to disintegrate will vary greatly depending on the quality of water, its temperature and the quality of the tank itself. While some rods may take a few years to be eaten away, others will totally disappear within 6 months.

    I’m throwing this question out there; has anybody ever wonder if the presence of these chemical compounds that will obviously be found in hot water can be a hazard to the human health?

    Now, just imagine the rod disintegrating away from the electrolytic process and the by-product residue that accumulates at the bottom of the tank being stirred up every time new water comes in. Most of us won’t drink warm tap water but some do and will also use hot tap water as a “starter” for cooking. Not everybody has a water filtration system and I don’t think that boiling water will get rid of metals either.

    How about when someone bathes every day in water that contains elements of aluminium, magnesium and zinc. In my opinion, prolonged exposures to these chemicals could lead to serious health effects through skin absorption. A ¾ inch rod that is a few feet long represents quite a bit of metal and bathing in its residue every day would seem unhealthy to me.

    Over exposure to aluminium can lead to serious health effects such as; damage to the central nervous system, dementia, loss of memory, listlessness and severe trembling. High levels of zinc can damage the pancreas and disturb the protein metabolism and cause arteriosclerosis. It can also be a danger to unborn and newborn children. Signs of excess magnesium can be similar to magnesium deficiency and include mental status changes, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

    I’m no scientist and I sure don’t want to be alarmist but I think this should be studied seriously. Any thought?

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    Last edited by Stephen Lagueux; 02-15-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Lagueux View Post
    I have thrown this discussion in another forum in the past but I’d like new, fresh inputs.

    We’re all surrounded with chemicals, some inoffensive, some harmful and there isn’t much we can do about it. We all heard of the anode rod and its role in keeping the water heater from rusting away. The sacrificial rod (as it is also called), will corrode away and disintegrate in the contact of water to keep the less reactive metal such as steel, intact. These rods are mostly made of magnesium or aluminium and may contain other chemical components such as zinc. The time it takes to disintegrate will vary greatly depending on the quality of water, its temperature and the quality of the tank itself. While some rods may take a few years to be eaten away, others will totally disappear within 6 months.


    I’m throwing this question out there; has anybody ever wonder if the presence of these chemical compounds that will obviously be found in hot water can be a hazard to the human health?

    Now, just imagine the rod disintegrating away from the electrolytic process and the by-product residue that accumulates at the bottom of the tank being stirred up every time new water comes in. Most of us won’t drink warm tap water but some do and will also use hot tap water as a “starter” for cooking. Not everybody has a water filtration system and I don’t think that boiling water will get rid of metals either.

    How about when someone bathes every day in water that contains elements of aluminium, magnesium and zinc. In my opinion, prolonged exposures to these chemicals could lead to serious health effects through skin absorption. A ¾ inch rod that is a few feet long represents quite a bit of metal and bathing in its residue every day would seem unhealthy to me.

    Over exposure to aluminium can lead to serious health effects such as; damage to the central nervous system, dementia, loss of memory, listlessness and severe trembling. High levels of zinc can damage the pancreas and disturb the protein metabolism and cause arteriosclerosis. It can also be a danger to unborn and newborn children. Signs of excess magnesium can be similar to magnesium deficiency and include mental status changes, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

    I’m no scientist and I sure don’t want to be alarmist but I think this should be studied seriously. Any thought?
    Bacon, beer and bratwurst are bad for ya as well!

    Every pot and pan you cook in is doing the same basic thing, albeit not as dramatically. I guess if this is a major concern a person could use a tankless WH which would eliminate the anode rod, but you would still have metal leaching out of the unit over time.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Take the rod out. Thats what I did with my heaters as I have sulphite reducing bacteria in the well. The Alu. rod seem to make the sulphur odour worse.

    Well water can contain magnesium if there is iron in the well water.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    The users manual suggests attaching a hose to the tank bib and drain the crud in the bottom...not certain but I think this is an annual or bi annual user maintenance....that should reduce some of what your thinking.....

    In my last home, I had the anode replaced, then the tank spung a leak...just before the warranty expired...timing is everything....


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Throw away your antiperspirant...


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    ok...I wonder what they all told the first guy who said there might be cancerous invisible gas seeping in from the ground???


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    I think the risks from these items must be at least one tenth of that of drinking a 20 ounce cola. Oh, I just remembered that these are now illegal in New York's nanny state.


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Guess all the aluminum pots and pans should be thrown out too.


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Good point Stephen...however, the aluminum and drinking water has been discussed for decades...in the Army we turned in all aluminum cookware and were told to stop using the water after boiling our rations, as they came in an aluminum foil bag...that was over thirty yrs ago....not much has been heard since...Have you new info to add?


    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Lagueux View Post
    ok...I wonder what they all told the first guy who said there might be cancerous invisible gas seeping in from the ground???



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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Take the rod out. Thats what I did with my heaters as I have sulphite reducing bacteria in the well. The Alu. rod seem to make the sulphur odour worse.

    Well water can contain magnesium if there is iron in the well water.
    How long did or have the tanks lasted without the rod?

    Mike Lamb
    Inspection Connection, Inc.
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Five years and counting Mike.


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    If the risk of aluminum poisoning was excessive from a source like this, then aluminum foil would be killing us all since most of us heat food with it. Of course, ground source water is loaded with minerals and metals. At my home, my well water is so hard, we can ball it up and throw it like a snowball. I flush my water heater twice a year. It looks like milk coming out.

    As far as risk of aluminum poisoning from a decomposing anode, the concentration of ionized aluminum atoms for the volume of water is so low, that it simply doesn't rise to a risk level.

    There is always someone somewhere who sees risk in everything. I have a friend who is convinced that the government is spreading toxins and anthrax in jet contrails. Check it out, there is at least one website devoted to this.

    And yet, somehow North Americans are living longer, better, and healthier than ever.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  14. #14

    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Good morning, Stephen:

    Question:
    ...has anybody ever wonder if the presence of these chemical compounds that will obviously be found in hot water can be a hazard to the human health?
    Answer: Yes. In fact, the question has been posed for centuries, and just last week thousands of scientists and medical practitioners across the globe wondered if the presence of these chemical compounds that will obviously be found in hot water can be a hazard to the human health. The conclusion was “No.” The answer was “No” hundreds of years ago and the answer will still be “No” hundreds of years from now.

    The devil in your line of thought was betrayed when you provided the perfect example by alluding to a “…cancerous invisible gas seeping in from the ground…” and that devil is the concept of “dose.”

    At the heart of the science of toxicology is “dose” and as observed by a chap named Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (circa 1530) no substance is so innocuous that a sufficiently large dose will not result in a poisonous effect, and no poison is so deadly that a small enough dose will not be innocuous. Therefore, the dose not the presence makes the poison

    The resulting cause and effect relationship establishes a so-called "dose-response" curve. Such a curve permits one to quantify effect (including benefits and risks) and better determine significant from insignificant exposures. So, until you speak in terms of “dose” you cannot begin to seriously ask the question about harm.

    As you sit and read this post, you are breathing in carbon monoxide – so why aren’t you dead? As you read this, you are breathing in lead, so why don’t you have lead poisoning? As you read this you (along with a couple billion people) will be breathing in benzene, cadmium, 2,3,7,8 TCDD, and then as Scott points out you are going to run off and eat some nitrosamines. So how on earth did you manage to make it out of childhood without dying from cancer?

    Answer: Dose. You mention various health concerns regarding magnesium, and zinc, and the ”by-products” of the redox reaction of these metals in the water tank but forgot to mention that humans need zinc, and magnesium, and iron in order to maintain a full volume of health. Because, not only is there a “dose-response-curve” but that curve is complex and if one removes poisons out of our environment, then we, humans, fail to flourish, and become ill and die.

    And it is for this reason that your allusion to a “…cancerous invisible gas seeping in from the ground…” because, if one is a miner, one lives in a mine, and one smokes cigarettes, and one is exposed to 80 million piC/l-years to this gas, then it is a significant carcinogen – if however, one is not a miner or live in a mine and is exposed to radon, along with their normal daily intake of benzene, 2,3,7,8, TCDD, carbon monoxide, lead, K40, and all the other poisons in your house, there is no known effect. It is for that reason there is not a single study on the planet earth today that has ever demonstrated that radon, at the doses received in residential environments increases the risk of lung cancer by any amount. In fact, due to the complexity of the curve, (as is true with your metals of concern, wherein beneficial effects are seen when small doses of these metals are received in our environment), we see that as radon concentrations in a residence go up, lung cancer rates go down.

    Now, I’m not an home inspector, I’m just a scientist, so don’t ask me any questions about water heaters. But, I know a thing or two about metals, and health effects. (And as a radiation safety officer for 16 years who used to lecture in radiation toxicology, I know something about radon).

    Oh.. by the way, there is no issue with these metals and skin absorption. It just simply doesn’t happen.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home


    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG

    Last edited by Caoimhín P. Connell; 02-16-2013 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Added the bit about skin.

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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Stephen, do you fill your kettle or cooking pot with hot water from the tap? Use cold water.

    Also, we have a filter on our cold faucet that removes some of the chlorine. New cartridge once a year.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Stephen, do you fill your kettle or cooking pot with hot water from the tap? Use cold water..
    Oh, man! I was going to say that!

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    If one is concerned about aluminum leaching into the hot water, then ideally one should run the cold water first thing in the morning to flush the lead (from solder) from the system. Then take your water to make coffee/tea.


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    I'm sure that many, like myself, drink chlorine every day ... even though we all know that chlorine is toxic and can kill us if we drink it ... but (as usual) Mr. Caoimhín P. Connell hit the nail directly on the head with "dose" ... it is not that we drink chlorine every day, it is that we drink VERY LITTLE chlorine every day, and that very little amount of chlorine that we drink is actually good for us as it helps kill other things which are worse than the chlorine we are drinking in the amount that we are drinking it.

    Chug-a-lug ... (burp) ... ahh ... please pass another glass of that there chlorine laced stuff ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    How many people chew on pencils, pens, etc.? Surely that stuff will kill us too!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Some jurisdictions are using Ozone in lieu of chlorine and some cities put Flouride in the water, and there is a movement in some locals to have that removed as well.

    Being on a well, I can sure notice the smell and taste of chlorinated water when I go to the city. Thanks but no thanks.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    I agree Ray, I am on a very deep well; 320ft. No chlorine...I am shocked at the smells coming out of the taps of some of the homes...No thanks...I have my own Culligan system...love it....


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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G View Post
    I agree Ray, I am on a very deep well; 320ft. No chlorine...I am shocked at the smells coming out of the taps of some of the homes...No thanks...I have my own Culligan system...love it....
    I wouldn't have a Culligan system if it was free. Each to their own.

    I'm on a 425 foot well, but it pulls a red silt in addition to being very hard water. I have a whole house filter. The new cartridge weighs 2 ounces when I put it in and 2 pounds when I change it six months later. This myth that well water is superior persists. Fluoridated water has saved billions in dental costs over the years and Americans have the best teeth on the planet as a result. People complain about flourides in their water, but on the high plains of Texas where I am from, it occurs naturally in our well water. And this takes us back to dose. The amount of fluorides added to city water is the right dose, but in the natural well water of west Texas, fluorides are in a higher concentration than needed and as a result, west Texans raised on well water have brown teeth. Chloramines added to city water make it safe, even if they kill aquarium fish. Obviously, better to drink it than breathe it, but it must be poisoning us very slowly indeed, because we are all living longer and better drinking this treated water.

    I smile at the naivety of folks bragging about their well water and well depth. There is nothing magic about well water. It all depends on where its pulled. One of my neighbors on a 400 foot well had arsenic at dangerous levels. They drilled a new well only yards away and pulled safe water. But you won't hear them bragging about well water after plunking down an extra $15K for a second well.

    Two miles away, a golf course pulls from a 2000 foot well. The water is too toxic to drink, but the grass likes it. A few miles away, a friend of mine has a 40 foot well and their water is fine. Well depth doesn't denote purity or quality. It's just the depth of the hole in the ground. The well I was raised on was twelve feet deep in 1937. Today, it's over 200 feet deep as the falling water table had to be chased.

    If all the toxins and pollutants our industrialized world emits were really as bad as the doomsayers proclaim, none of us would live past forty. I live in the country because I like it. Denver is well known for its brown cloud and pollution. I prefer to live outside of all that. Yet, Denverites live just as long on average as us country folk. We just live better.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    I'll take my water with chlorine and fluoride, thank you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Disintegration of the anode rod, should we be concerned?

    My Culligan is whole House....I have a UV filter, Airator Filter and Rust Buster...I don't need salt as I don't have hard water.....Just so you know...we have Flauride in our water up here to, just not in my house.my teeth are just fine....I brag about my well because I don't have to pay the ridiculous prices the town charges for water in and out...don't know where your arguement is supposed to go No one brought it up...


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