Why is chlorine chemicals added to my drinking water?

Chlorine disinfection is a chemical process used in municipal water systems, private wells, schools, and businesses where chlorinated chemicals are added to inactivate or kill diseases that cause organisms (pathogens) found in the water source. Common water sources include lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wells or groundwater from which water is drawn and treated. Disinfection typically involves the use of disinfectants, such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and a combination of chlorine and ammonia (chloramines) to render the organisms harmless. These disinfection methods can kill pathogens, but can also create disinfection by-products (DPBs) that can be detrimental to human health. Ozone is also used as a disinfectant by some water purification systems.

What are disinfection by-products?

Trihalomethanes (THM) are a group of four chemicals that form when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic substances in the water. The trihalomethanes include chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromo-chloromethane and bromoform. Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are a group of five chemicals that form together with other disinfectant by-products when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic substances. These include monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid and dibromoacetic acid. Bromate is a chemical that forms when the ozone used to disinfect drinking water reacts with naturally occurring bromide found in the spring water. Chlorite is a by-product that is formed when chlorine dioxide is used to disinfect water.

What are the health effects of disinfection by-products?

Since the discovery of these chemical by-products in drinking water in 1974, many toxicological studies have been conducted on the health effects of exposure to DBPs. The studies have shown that disinfectant by-products are carcinogenic in experimental animals. The DPBs include bromate, certain trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Chlorite and certain trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids have also been shown to cause adverse reproductive or developmental effects in experimental animals. A number of epidemiological studies have investigated the relationship between exposure to chlorinated water and cancer. Some have suggested an increased cancer risk for those exposed to chlorinated waters, while others have not shown any. The US EPA stated that although the agency cannot conclude that there is a link between exposure to chlorinated water and cancer, the studies have suggested a link between bladder, rectal and colon cancer and chlorinated surface water exposure.

Are disinfection by-products regulated?

Yes. The US Environmental Protection Agency sets standards for the maximum permitted levels of disinfection by-products in municipal treated water. If your water supply comes from a regulated municipal water treatment plant, a notification must be sent when the THMs exceed the legal limit. Private wells, homes, and self-contained disinfection sites are not regulated and have no way to continuously monitor disinfection by-products. For many people, no level of suspicion of carcinogens is acceptable in their drinking water. https://www.yourhealthyspaces.com/

What can I do to protect against drinking carcinogenic disinfectant by-products?

The good news is that Water Engineering Corporation manufactures a variety of water filtration systems that remove carcinogenic DBPs along with other pollutants such as pharmaceuticals, solvents and gasoline along with residual chlorine disinfectants while improving the taste and smell of your drinking water.

Author's Bio: 

Disinfectant cleaners are excellent for effective cleaning and ensure long-term results.