Chlorine is a commonly used disinfectant in municipal water filtration. In fact, many people can smell the chlorine that is in their water, when taking a shower, for example. They certainly can after using chlorine-free water for a week or two.
Let’s talk about chlorine in the water, is it better to go chlorine-free?
Let’s step back into high school chemistry class for a moment. According to the WQA, chlorine (Cl2) is a gas widely used in the disinfection of water and as an oxidizing agent for organic molecules, hydrogen sulfide, manganese, and iron.
For the purposes of this article, we will be referring to this contaminant as chlorine, however, what we refer to as chlorine in water is actually sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite, which are both organic chemicals.
The New York State Department of Health has stated the toxic nature of chlorine and the damage it causes to human health.
Contaminants in Municipal Water
Due to the number of contaminants found in the collection of municipal water, municipalities must use a strong disinfectant to eliminate microbiological bacteria. Many add a disinfecting chemical such as chlorine or chloramine to the water to kill any remaining bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It also is meant to keep the water protected on its way throughout the municipality distribution system.
When chlorine and chloramine are added and come in contact with organics in the water, disinfection by-products (DBPs) are created. This leads to even more contaminants, and in the case of chloramine, ones that we are not aware of in our water.
Municipalities do a great job with mass water collection, filtration, and distribution. But to keep microbiological and other contaminants from getting through completely is infeasible without the use of a strong disinfectant. And even then, there are still other contaminants (such as the disinfectant itself) that end up in the water you and your family use and drink every day.
Technology doesn’t allow for live sample contamination readings 24/7. Therefore, even if the samples that are collected fall into satisfactory results compared to current regulations, that does not mean the water that ends up coming out of your faucet is the same water that was tested.
Water You and Your Family Use Everyday
Chlorine can affect the body internally and externally. Because chlorine is a toxic chemical, any amount of chlorine being consumed by your body is not healthy.
Chlorine also gives a negative effect on the way water tastes, in drinking water and ice cubes. Many wouldn’t say that they can taste the chlorine, but the body will adjust and it becomes normal, much like if you’re around a certain odor often, your body will adjust to the point where you don’t notice it.
Chlorine can also affect your skin and body by causing your skin to dry out, and possibly irritate your eyes. Chlorine is absorbed through the skin, so even if you are buying bottled water for drinking, chlorine can still make its way into your body when you wash your hands or take a shower.
A study by BioMed Central/Environmental Health states:
“Water chlorination is a widely used and efficient method to disinfect drinking water and reduce the occurrence of waterborne diseases. However, numerous studies have revealed the presence of many chlorination by-products in the water. Recent research suggests that prenatal exposure to these by-products may increase the risk of birth defects.”
And according to a study by Dr. Robert D. Morris,
“The use of chlorine for water treatment to reduce the risk of infectious disease may account for a substantial portion of the cancer risk associated with drinking water.”
Chlorine mixed with consumption, skin contact, or absorption into the body is not the healthy option.
The Solution – How to Remove Chlorine/Chloramine
Activated carbon is used to remove chlorine from water. A whole-house carbon system is a simple and effective solution to removing chlorine (sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite) and other organic chemicals. Technology has made possible to properly remove chlorine with a small footprint system, whereas ten years ago, large homes would require a large system to maintain expected flowrate.
Besides heavy metals, chlorine is one of the most harmful contaminants found in municipal water supplies but it is one of the easiest to remove. Chloramines require a special type of carbon filtration but are also quite easily removed with carbon.
Are you considering going chlorine-free? We can help you take control of your water. Contact our team for a free water consultation!
Want to learn even more about whole-home water purification in Knoxville and Nashville? Check out our Knoxville and Nashville Residents Guide to Water Purification.