Neutralizing the Dangers
of Chlorinated Water
Your family’s Health & Well being
So, what is the journey of a drop of water that ends up coming out of my tap and is assumed safe for drinking, washing, and bathing? Normally, water either comes from rivers, lakes, or streams but it can also be pumped out of the ground. But normally it is not safe to drink water directly from a lake or river. A process is required to remove pollutants and prepare the water for human consumption. But that process becomes dangerous to humans as well. Learn more about how our water is treated before drinking and why chlorine creates massive health hazards.
Primary and Secondary Disinfection
Based on EPA regulations, municipal water supplies make use of two complementary phases of disinfection. The first phase is intended to quickly kill most bacteria, viruses, etc as soon as the water comes in from its source. This is usually done using chlorine, but some water systems actually use chloramine in this phase. When water is being stored and transported to people’s homes, “secondary” disinfection is required to keep the water clean. This is where chloramine comes in because of its ability to reside longer in the water and so make it all the way to the system end points. Chloramine’s ability to form a residual disinfectant in the water is not an undesirable side effect but the reason for it being used in the first place.
The usage of chloramine as a disinfectant (primary or secondary) in municipal water supplies is not a new idea that is sneakily being foisted on an unsuspecting public. It has been in long use in America. According to the American Water Works Association, Denver has used chloramine since 1917, Portland 1924, Boston area 1932, etc.
Is Chloramine difficult to remove from water?
Chloramine cannot be removed by quick boiling your water or letting it sit out in an open container … Adding fruit, such as slices of peeled orange, to a 1-gallon water pitcher, which will help neutralize chloramine in about 30 minutes… Dissolving a 1,000-mg vitamin C tablet into your bath water, which will neutralize the chloramine in an average-size bathtub.
Vitamin C will indeed neutralize residual chloramine, if you decide it is something you are concerned about. While a “quick boil” won’t remove chloramine, a 20 minute gentle boil will, as well as most cooking uses for the water. Additionally any thing that would be used to remove chlorine will also remove chloramine. But again, as the SF Water authority puts it when discussing usage of Vitamin C: “The removal of either chlorine or chloramine from drinking water is not necessary for public health”.