Prior to the 1900’s, much of the drinking water in the United States was at a high risk for containing dangerous pathogens that were responsible for various life-threatening illnesses. This threat was nearly eliminated with the advent of using chlorine as a disinfectant in public water supplies. Although chlorinating drinking water has proven to be extremely beneficial in some ways, it has also had some unexpected consequences. Today we’re going to talk about one of those consequences, trihalomethanes, and the effects they have on the quality of our drinking water!
What are trihalomethanes?
Public water supplies come from surface water sources like lakes and rivers, and the water from these sources naturally contains a lot of organic matter. When chlorine is added to water supplies by water treatment plants, the chemical interacts with the organic matter that’s present in the water and creates a class of chemical compounds known as trihalomethanes. These chemicals are present in much of the drinking water that’s delivered to homes in the United States.
How are people exposed to trihalomethanes in water?
The most obvious way that people can be exposed to trihalomethanes is by consuming drinking water that contains the chemicals. The amount of trihalomethanes that you can consume through drinking can vary depending on factors like how much organic matter is in your source water and how much chlorine is added to your water supplies.
A less obvious way that people can be exposed to trihalomethanes is by breathing it in via water vapors. When we take hot showers or do anything else in our home that requires steaming-hot water, we can breathe in the chemicals through the water vapors that are released into the air.
What are the health effects of trihalomethanes?
One of the sneaky problems with trihalomethanes is that many of the health effects that they cause are not immediately recognizable, but rather develop slowly over time. Long-term exposure to trihalomethanes has been linked to many serious illnesses, including:
- Increased risk for various cancers, including bladder and colon cancer.
- Pregnancy problems and birth defects in infant children.
- Damage to the heart, lungs, kidney, liver and central nervous system.
How can you remove trihalomethanes from your water?
The best way to remove trihalomethanes from your water is to install a whole house filtration system in your home. EPA Water offers many different products that will eliminate trihalomethanes from your water so that you don’t have to worry about any of the health effects listed above. Best of all, installing a water filtration system will allow you to benefit from the disinfectant properties of chlorine while also avoiding the side effects that it causes. It’s the best of both worlds when it comes to your home’s water quality!
If you have any questions about trihalomethanes, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact EPA Water Consultants, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We provide service all over Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including towns like Quakertown, Allentown and Newtown, PA.
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