Many people are aware of the fact that water treatment plants add chlorine to drinking water supplies in order to disinfect them. But in recent years there has been an increased use of another, lesser-known type of disinfectant called chloramine. Given the fact that more than one in five Americans use drinking water that has been treated by chloramine, it’s important to know what exactly the disinfectant is and the possible side-effects it can cause. Today we’re going to talk about why chloramine is added to drinking water, its possible health effects and what you can do to remove it from your water!
What is chloramine?
Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia that is used to kill viruses, bacteria and pathogens in water that could otherwise spread life-threatening waterborne illnesses. Although chloramine is not as effective at disinfecting water as chlorine is on its own, it remains effective for a longer period of time than chlorine. That’s why many water treatment plants use chloramine as a secondary disinfectant in order to keep water protected during the time it takes to travel to your home.
Are there health effects of chloramine in drinking water?
In general, chloramine is considered to be a safer disinfectant than chlorine. However, this is only due to the fact that chloramine produces less regulated contaminants in drinking water. When it comes to unregulated water quality issues, chloramine actually produces more contaminants than chlorine. Because those contaminants are not regulated, many of their health effects are not known and require further studies.
Because chloramine still contains chlorine, it gives off the same trihalomethanes (THM’s) in water as chlorine does by itself, although at slightly lower doses. Even still, long-term exposure to low levels of THM’s has been linked to health issues like:
- Weakened immune systems
- Respiratory problems
- Digestive problems
- Skin rashes
- Cardiovascular issues
How can you remove chloramine from your drinking water?
Chloramine performs an essential role in the water treatment process. It is a very powerful disinfectant that protects the public from life-threatening illnesses for an even longer amount of time than chlorine. But just because chloramine is effective at killing contaminants doesn’t mean that it and its byproducts are safe to consume.
In order to benefit from the disinfecting properties of chloramine without worrying about its health effects, you should remove chloramine from your water at the point where it enters your home. By installing a whole house water filtration system, you can allow chlorine and chloramine to do their jobs right up until water reaches your home. At that point, your filtration system will remove the disinfectants from your water because they are no longer needed, allowing you to have the purest water possible.
If you have any questions about chloramine in drinking water, 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 Macungie, Malvern and Quakertown, PA.
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