Chlorine in water, why swimming pools are safer to drink than tap(!)

You want to filter water because you want to get rid of that chlorine smell and taste.

But you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.

I get it.

You can smell and taste chlorine, but you can’t sense other chemicals produced by chlorine when it reacts with water.

Man getting out of a poolA refreshing splash at the pool in a hot summer day. Nothing is better than that. But did you know tap water has more chlorine than your pool?

Chlorine and its family of neurotoxins

Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to water to disinfect and kill germs.

Chlorine was first used in the US in 1908 in Jersey City, NJ. By 1995, about 64% of all water systems in the US used chlorine to treat water.

Chlorine, a disinfectant, reacts with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water (such as decaying vegetation) producing toxic chemicals known as Trihalomethanes (THMs).

The chemicals produced are trichloromethane (chloroform), bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and triboromethane (bromoform). Chloroform being the most common in our water systems.

THMs form as organic matter decomposes in water, so reducing these chemicals is crucial when treating water coming from surface water or springs that may have surrounding vegetation (not so crucial for groundwater wells).

Most of public drinking water supply comes from places like this, out in the open.

Chloroform is a powerful anesthetic, euphoriant, anxiolytic and sedative when inhaled or digested

According to Wikipedia, it was used as an anesthetic for many decades. It has even been used by criminals as an incapacitating agent, a chloroform-soaked rag may render a victim unconscious(!)

Also, chloroform is produced during the bleaching process of pulp in the paper industry, for example.

The EPA regulates the presence of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in drinking water. During water treatment, the EPA indicates that the best technology for water treatment plants is enhanced coagulation which optimizes the removal of organic and inorganic matter in water before further treatment. This way, the precursor, or cause of THMs is greatly reduced.

The EPA allows higher levels of chlorine in tap water (4 parts per million) than in public swimming pools (1-3 parts per million)!

House with swimming poolSo, according to the EPA, we might as well be drinking water from our pools...

Chlorine and its byproducts may pose risk from ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. According to the Water Research Center, all four THMs are Cancer Group B carcinogens.

Some people who drink water containing THM in excess over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

Dialysis patients must treat their water to remove all traces of chlorine.

Usual effects of long-term exposure to chlorine and byproducts are:

  • eye/nose irritation
  • stomach discomfort and
  • nervous system effects in young children

Most people, hurry to the supermarket and get one of those pitchers to filter their water.

Water filter jugs are cheap, convenient and useless, to be honest.

Water filter jugs are said to be “cosmetic” filters

You know what that means?

It means that they reduce that annoying taste and smell of chlorine but that’s it.

Those small carbon filter cartridges are designed to remove chlorine and maybe minute amounts of other contaminants, but they cannot purify your water.

To be clear, and let’s not kid ourselves, water filter jugs seriously over promise and under-deliver… It just makes no sense that a $20 filter can promise so much.

Are you expecting a Chevy to have the engine power of a Maserati? No.

Then you can’t expect a $20 pitcher to give you clean, pure water…

Protect your health from chlorine in water

If you really want to filter your water and purify it from chemicals and heavy metals, you need a real water filter, the kind you install over or under the counter or better yet, a whole house water filter.

At home, activated carbon filters are the most effective treatment. Contact us for more info.

Take a look at several options for home water filters here and learn about this emerging technology. As you learn more about the quality of our water, you’ll start taking care of this precious resource.

Get healthy tips about the benefits of drinking water for best health here.

Contact us and we can tailor a water filtration system for your home. Rest easy knowing your water is filtered and purified.

Back to Home Page

Back to Tap Water Contaminants

Water Education Foundation, Trihalomethanes,

Water Research Center, Disinfection By-products Trihalomethanes,

Wikipedia, Cholorofrm,

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