Try to imagine how our life would be without water. What are we going to use to take a bath or to shower?
What are we going to wash our clothes and dishes? What are we going to use to quench our thirst?
It is true. Life is unimaginable without water.
But, what if we all think the one sustaining our life is the one that is poisoning us? Will it lead us to sure death? If you think about it, that is not a long shot.
There is pollution, and different kinds of harmful wastes are being thrown in some bodies of water. You can only imagine what kind of toxic substances can be floating in the water. This water is what you drink, and you use it to clean your body with and wash your clothes and dishes with.
Water companies know how dangerous raw and untreated water can be. So they started using some agents to disinfect the water.
There are two most famous and most commonly used agents for disinfection. They are chlorine and chloramine.
Why is Chlorine Used?
Chlorine has a strong impact on guarding America's water supply for over 100 years. Chlorine is a cheap disinfectant. That's why municipalities use it.
Chlorine is considered the most effective means to remove pathogens, including microorganisms, infections, and protozoans that can develop in our water supply.
The U.S. has one of the cleanest water supplies on the planet. So, nobody opposed that chlorine fills an urgent need.
Even so, chlorine still has advantages. New questions have emerged about the antagonistic effects of chlorine. Many families are searching for alternative ways to remove chlorine. These approaches may clean their water before drinking and washing.
The Switch from Chlorine to Chloramine
Due to the unfavorable impacts of chlorination, a developing number of public water providers are changing from chlorine to chloramine. This has become an alternative disinfectant.
In fundamental terms, chloramine is ammonia added to drinking water containing chlorine.
The explanation behind the switch is on account of chloramine disinfection. It is steadier and has longer enduring viability amid dispersion. Generally, it is more successful than chlorine.
In 2010, 23% of the U.S. population got water treated with chloramines. This is around 68 million individuals. Moreover, this number keeps on rising every year.
What Are Chloramines?
First, before you choose to remove chloramine, you have to know what chloramine is.
Chloramine is a compound of chlorine and ammonia. It is quick in dissolving with the water. It serves as an alternative to chlorine to purify city water. More than 22% of United States municipal water treatment facilities use it. Even more and counting.
Many municipalities are changing to chloramine from chlorine. It is more stable, although it is a weaker disinfectant than chlorine. Unlike chlorine, it stays in your water much longer. Moreover, chlorine produces disinfection byproducts (DBPs) known as trihalomethanes (THM's). They are VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) that are carcinogenic or cancer-causing.
According to experts, having chloramine levels of up to 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L) are safe for drinking. The same is also true for the measurement of 4 parts per million (ppm). At this level, no harmful effects can likely happen to one's health.
Brief Historical Background of Chloramine
Chloramination was first improved as a flavor enhancer in 1926 at Greenville, Tennessee. It was where the water had awful qualities because of phenols.
Meanwhile, in 1929, it has been used as a water disinfectant in some states. Examples of these are Ohio, Cleveland, Illinois, Springfield, Michigan, and Lansing.
Lately, many water specialists have started to chloramine to restrain chlorine's reaction. Some of the areas in the United States which use chloramine are Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
Chlorine reacts to different organic compounds. Such is from rotting vegetation that is always found in surface water.
These rot items are generally humic and fulvic acids. They merge with chlorine to deliver a group of chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs). Such chemicals are carcinogenic, as mentioned above.
The present government and state drinking water controls manage permissible THM levels. So chloramination is ending up as well known. 5% of the water treatment plants in the United States use chloramination today. Compared to around 2.6% of plants overviewed in 1963.
Filtration of Chloramine
The filtration technique for chloramine is expensive versus to filtration of the chlorine. To remove chloramine, you need to have an extensive carbon filter. This will remove the chlorine included in the chloramine molecule. Then, you must perform a reverse osmosis technique or a cation filter. As such, the ammonia content can be eliminated.
For home use, there is no single showerhead filter that is certified to remove the chloramine. The large volume and the high flow rate of the water that passes through the showerhead make the showerhead filter useless.
As such, it is best to install and invest in a whole house filtration system. It can cost around $10,000 to $15,000. The maintenance can have an estimated cost of $1,200 each year.
Meanwhile, the sink water filters can be able to handle the low flow of the water. It can also remove chloramine and can be used for cold water only.
Indeed, even using a comprehensive filtration system, it is not guaranteed that chloramine will be completely removed from the water. Chlorine is easier to remove even with the use of an inexpensive carbon filtration technique.
Do You Need to Remove It?
The reaction is that ammonia and chlorine produce monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine. Dichloramine and trichloramine are a little unstable. They escape from the water not long after the treatment. When the water gets to your home, only monochloramine and some free chlorine remain.
The level remaining relies upon many factors. These include how much chlorine and ammonia are included in the separation. The process is from the treatment plant to your home. Also, the temperature and the chemical makeup of your water are considered. These variables (aside from the separation from your home) may change occasionally.
Your local water is either changing to chloramination, or you're moving to a chlorinated-water system. Whichever, you might think about how you can get chloramines out of your water. To start that, you ought to learn whether chloramines are the real problem.
Does your brew have off-flavors? If you can't taste anything and are not an expert tester, have it tested by somebody. You may experience the plastic-like taste of chlorophenols in your brew. But don't stress over removing chloramines.
Disinfection with Chlorine and Chloramine
For decades now, water treatment facilities are using chlorine to disinfect water. They use it for consumption since it can remove waterborne germs and bacteria. That process is what we call chlorination. It is efficient in killing pathogens and diseases on water.
Chlorine becomes used widely because of a lot of reasons. For one, it is inexpensive compared to other processes. Chlorination is also an easy task to perform, and it is very easy to control and watch.
A residual amount of chlorine is left in the water to continue to protect the safety of the drinking water from bacteria and pathogen growth.
There are different kinds of processes that can be used to add chlorine to drinking water. It is also available in many forms. We have solid calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite solution, and in the form of compressed elemental gas.
Chlorine can still do more. Adding it in water to let it dissolve could kill germs then the water becomes safe to drink. One must take note also that it can be dangerous in high dosages.
Adding chloramine to the drinking water to remove germs and bacteria is what we call chlorination. This process is sometimes used as an alternative to using chlorine.
Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia. The form of chloramine used to disinfect drinking water is called monochloramine.
Monochloramine may be safe at low levels. Another form of this chemical can cause chemical reactions resulting in respiratory and eye problems.
The most common chemical agent that is used to disinfect water is chlorine. But for some reason, chloramine can clean the water and get rid of harmful substances a lot better.
One of those reasons may be that chloramine has a slower evaporation rate as compared to chlorine.
Are Chlorine and Chloramine Dangerous?
Many research studies were done about these two chemicals, especially since they are added by water treatment facilities to the water that we are consuming.
According to the studies, a small amount of chlorine and chloramine in your water will not pose a significant risk.
Yes, they do a great job of disinfecting the water that we use. But that does not mean that we should just drink tap water straight from our faucet. It would be better and safer if we try to cut chlorine and chloramine from our drinking water.
First, water treated with those agents has an unpleasant smell and taste. It can change the taste of your coffee and other beverages. The tastes and smell are also more than enough to make you feel sick.
There is a reason why you need to filter out these substances from your drinking water. Even though they are disinfecting agents, it is better to be careful and safe than sorry. Why? Because chlorine and chloramine levels are not the only things that you should worry about.
When chlorine becomes added to water, it can combine with the organic matter in it. This can be from a byproduct, THM, or Trihalomethanes. This is toxic when it comes in contact with the skin, inhaled, or consumed.
When it comes to chloramine, they are all respiratory irritants. One of its forms is more toxic than the others.
It could also change from one form, which is safe to consume, to another toxic and harmful form.
Chloramine can also form THM or Trihalomethanes as a byproduct. But this can only be at a lesser concentration level.
Here are some key points that you should think about chloramine and the issues related to it:
Mixing chlorine and ammonia produces a hazardous chemical called monochloramine. It is poisonous nerve gas and is irritate the skin and mucous layers. This is what is being utilized as a part of municipal water systems to purify the water. We use it for drinking, bathing, shower, and cook.
Chloramine does not disperse from the water as chlorine does. When you let chlorinated water sit for 30 minutes to an hour, it will disperse from the standing water. Yet, it will instead leave behind the poisonous byproducts and VOCs. When you shower, chlorine and chloramine both discharge into the air. Once you breathe in it, it can irritate the lungs, throat, and eyes. Individuals who experience the ill effects of asthma, upper respiratory issues, and cystic fibrosis can't bear to breathe in these chemicals.
- Chloramine associates with a few health concerns, including gastrointestinal irritation and skin issue. Other health conditions are skin inflammation, dermatitis, psoriasis. The individuals who shower and bathe in filtered water may display one of these issues.
- Chloramine delivers side effects known as nitrosodimethylamines (NDMA's). This might be more cancer-causing than their ancestors (nitrates/nitrites).
Chloramine can't be removed by conventional water treatment systems. Such are all sink connection appliances, refrigerator filters, and pitcher filters. They are futile for filtering through chloramines. Chloramine needs tremendous filtration media.
Chloramine can cause genetic damage in mammals, including human beings.
In addition, research led by the University of Illinois in 2004 exhibits the chlorination of drinking water known as iodoacids (eye-o-doe-acids). It might be the most dangerous chemical found in drinking water.
The compound can induce genetic damage. It can cause risks to warm-blooded animals (including humans) that drink chlorinated water. Also, these harmful chemicals are being discharged again into nature, where fish, wildlife, and the food chain can be damaged.
Like chlorine, chloramine's job is to remove pathogens. It does this by penetrating their cell membranes and disrupting their metabolism.
Chloramines are much slower to react. Unlike chlorine, they don't evaporate from the water. They are also not removed by ordinary water treatment methods. This is why getting a powerful filter can make a difference. Water filters particularly remove chloramine from your drinking and showering water.
Effects of Chlorine on Human Health
According to studies, the harmful exposure to chlorine can be because of its inhalation. Typically, health effects can happen within a few seconds only.
The most common symptoms of chlorine exposure are the following:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty in breathing
- Eye irritation
- Irritation of the airways
- Irritation of the skin
- Sore throat
The severity of the effects of the health will depend upon the exposure. Also, the duration and the dose will dictate the effects.
If you breathe or drink high levels of chlorine, it will cause fluid build-up in the lungs. This condition is known as pulmonary edema. It can develop and be delayed for hours after being exposed to chlorine. Also, if you contact compressed liquid chlorine, you can experience frostbite in the eyes and the skin.
Effects of Chloramine on Human Health
Immune System Problems
Chloramine can't kill the pathogens in the water and also chlorine. Thus, individuals with a weak immune system must have their water boiled. This must be done more than TEN minutes BEFORE use. This will kill pathogens, or they hazard ending up sick.
Those in danger include kids under a half year of age, the elderly, those on or who have had chemotherapy, individuals with HIV or AIDS, organ transplant patients, and others with a debilitated immune system.
Chloramine can cause as well as disturb respiratory issues. Chloramine vapor can make an individual end up congested. This can also cause sniffling, sinus blockage, hacking, stifling, wheezing, shortness of breath, and asthma. Such is according to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.
An expansion in asthma because of the introduction of chloramine in indoor swimming pool zones was appeared in a Belgium contemplate from the Catholic University of Louvain. Chloramine harms mucous layers. The lung harm in those presented to chloramine in indoor pool air is found in regular smokers.
Chloraminated vapor from showers, showers, hot tubs, dishwashers, and other family unit machines contains volatilized chemicals that can be breathed in and bothering the respiratory tract. Breathed in chloraminated vapor can enter the circulatory system, specifically through the lungs.
It sidesteps the stomach-related tract, where the SFPUC says it is separated and discharged. The SFPUC says that "if monochloramine enters the circulatory system specifically, it consolidates with hemoglobin (red platelets) so it can never again convey oxygen."
The toxic introduction to chemicals (like chloramine) in water is more prominent from scrubbing down than drinking similar water.
An individual can encounter long-haul impacts from repeated exposures to a compound (like chloramine) at levels not sufficiently high to make them quickly wiped out—the probability of getting to be wiped out from synthetic increments with introduction time and concentration.
In an examination by Zierler et al., it was discovered that there was an expansion in passings from flu and pneumonia in the groups that utilized chloramine: 1) Chloramine presentation harms lung mucosa, making the lungs more defenseless to allergens and contaminations, and 2) Chloramine is a less effective disinfectant, and along these lines, individuals are presented to more pathogens.
Skin ProblemsChloramine tap water can cause serious skin responses:
- rashing dry skin
- itching flaking
- welting blistering
- chapping burning sensation
- cracking scarring
- bleeding pigmentation
Chloramine can disturb other skin conditions, for example, dermatitis and psoriasis.
Chloramine can cause draining lips, dry mouth, and dry throat.
Chloramine can cause consuming, red, and dry eyes.
Skin presentation to smelling ammonia "separates cell basic proteins, removes water from the cells and starts a provocative reaction, which additionally harms the encompassing tissues."
Kidney and Blood ProblemsPeople with liver or kidney problems and those with inherited urea cycle issues are at increased risk for ammonia toxicity from the utilization of chloraminated water.
Kidney dialysis patients can't utilize chloraminated water in their dialysis machines since it will cause hemolytic anemia.
Chloramine must be removed from the water in dialysis treatment utilizing broad carbon filtration and reverse osmosis or Cation filtering framework to expel chlorine and smelling salts from the water.
Some populations are unusually susceptible to smelling ammonia reactivity or toxicity because of elements, such as genetic makeup, age, health status, etc.
Stomach-Related and Gastric Problems
- Chloramine harms stomach-related mucosa.
- Chloramine can bother stomach-related problems.
- It is proposed that monochloramine is in charge of gastric tumors.
Effects of Chloramine on Plumbing and Domestic Uses
Chloramine can lead to the leaching of lead to house parts. Examples of these are lead pipes and soldering. Also, the lead-free brass plumbs can be affected too.
Moreover, chloramine can cause pinhole pitting, especially in copper pipes. The pinhole leaks can be the cause of the growth of the molds. This can cause danger to humans. Molds are toxic, and their effects on health can be permanent.
On the same note, insurance companies do not cover house damages due to mold. As such, many homeowners lose their homes because of this simple problem.
Meanwhile, chloramine can also cause rubber corrosion in some rubber plumbing parts. Example of which is the rubber casings and the toilet flappers. Now, the rusted rubber parts need replacement with chloramine-resistant parts. An example of this is a synthetic polymer.
One can easily spot the rubber corrosion as early as six months after chloramine is present in the water. There is corrosion when the tiny black specks begin to appear in the water from the plumbing parts.
As such, costly plumbing repairs can be burdensome for homeowners due to chloramine in their water.
Effects of Chloramine in the Environment
Chloramine is considered toxic in Canada and the United States. This is based on a study that assessed the impact of chloramine in the environment.
Indeed, chloramine is dangerous for amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. It enters the fish's bloodstream. Meanwhile, amphibians enter into their skin and gills.
It run-off from the hydrants. Also, it can break into the drains, streams, rivers, creeks, and lakes. This can endanger the lives of marine animals.
As such, chloramine must be removed before it can reach various bodies of water. This also includes the wastewater, which can be released into the environment from the wastewater treatment facilities.
How to Remove Chloramine and Chlorine on Your Water
It is no longer enough to simply leave the tap water and just wait for the chlorine or chloramine to evaporate. It could take too long, and they could already form a harmful byproduct.
This is why another form of neutralization or removal is going to be needed.
Now, remember that the right filtration system will depend on the amount of water you need to purify. And, of course, what method is most convenient for your labor, cost, and time consumption.
It is also important that you choose a system that has been certified by the National Sanitation Foundation or NSF.
Here are some of the neutralization systems that you can use.
This water filtration system is a common choice because it will leave your drinking water with almost no dissolved solids.
If you need to neutralize a large amount of water, a reverse osmosis system can be installed under your single to filter all the water you are going to use inside your house.
A filtration system that uses reverse osmosis is not only effective in removing chlorine and chloramine. It can also remove the byproducts and heavy metals in the water.
UV light is also another good option to neutralize your drinking water. It can also kill germs and bacteria.
Ultraviolet light is commonly used in some reverse osmosis systems as a pre-filter. This is to protect the membrane of the RO system from bacteria and chloramine.
Activated and Catalytic Carbon
There are water filter pitchers that make use of activated carbon. This is to reduce the contaminants in their drinking water and make it taste and smell better. But to effectively remove chlorine and chloramine, the water needs to be filtered longer.
The Catalytic Carbon, described as activated carbons' soaped up version, is more effective in doing that job, even with less contact time.
You can use a whole-house catalytic or activated filtration system. If you only need to neutralize small amounts of water, you can use both filters to achieve the highest water purity.
This method can neutralize chlorine and chloramine that is in tap water. It can transform it into chloride or other byproducts that are not harmful.
Berkey Filters can remove both Chlorine and Chloramine from water to greater than 99.9%. With many water municipalities switching to chloramine disinfection instead of chlorine, our system was rated #1 for contaminant removal by Natural News Water Filter Labs.
In sum, chlorine and chloramine at regulated levels cannot cause harm to human beings. However, it is best to be safe to protect your family since these chemicals cause harm to your health. Moreover, it can lead to issues on repairs inside the home as well as in the environment.
There are various techniques to remove chlorine and chloramine. However, make sure that the solution is in line with the problem that you have inside your home.
Don't hesitate to invest in water filters like the Berkey products. Remember, nurturing yourself is not selfish. It is essential to your survival and well-being. You can start with the simple step of installing a water filter for a clean source of water inside your home.