How to Remove Chlorine from Drinking Water?
Reverse Osmosis water filtration systems that incorporate carbon block filters are an effective way to remove up to 98% of chlorine in water. Carbon block prefilters will not only remove chlorine in water, but also protect delicate RO membranes that can be damaged by contact with chlorine.
Despite chlorine's benefits, new questions have arisen about the adverse affects of chlorine, and many households are looking to REMOVE chlorine from their water.
Why is Chlorine Used?
Chlorine has played an important part in keeping America's water supply safe for more than 100 years. As an inexpensive disinfectant, chlorine is by far one of the most popular and efficient ways for municipalities to remove pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans that can grow in our water supply.
The U.S. has one of the cleanest water supplies in the world and no one will argue that chlorine serves an important purpose. But despite chlorine's benefits, new questions have arisen about the adverse affects of chlorine -- and many households are now looking for ways to REMOVE chlorine from their water before drinking and bathing.
The Downside of Chlorination
Besides the fact that many of us don’t care for the strong ‘bleach-like’ odor of chlorinated drinking water, there are other compelling reasons to want to remove chlorine from the water that we're drinking -- not to mention the water we use for showering, bathing and swimming.
One of the main issues is that chlorine can react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in our water to form dangerous disinfection byproducts such as trihalmethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) which may pose health risks.
"A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) survey shows that THMs are present in most chlorinated water supplies. Even though they pose a less acute health risk than do waterborne diseases, THMs are still among the important water quality issues." - Babu Srinivas Madabhushi, West Virginia University National Environmental Services Center.
The EPA warns that those who drink water (for prolonged periods) with chlorine where THMs have formed, "could experience liver, kidney, or central nervous system problems and increased risk of cancer." Here are a few findings:
Bladder Cancer: THMs in tap water are found to be responsible for nearly 17 percent of bladder cancers diagnosed each year in the US. As a result, the US EPA has now established safe maximum contamination levels (for chlorine) in order to protect the public health from the potential dangers.
Breast Cancer: “One common factor among women with breast cancer is that they all have 50-60% higher levels of these chlorination byproducts (THMs) in their fat tissue than women without breast cancer…” (BreastCancerFund.org)
Nervous System Effects: Some infants and young children who drink water containing chlorite (when chlorine dioxide breaks down), could experience nervous system effects. This could also affect the fetuses of pregnant women who drink chlorite. Some people may experience anemia.
Miscarriages: A National Environmental Services Center study indicates that THMs may be responsible for reproductive problems and miscarriage. The study found a miscarriage rate of 15.7 percent for women who drank five or more glasses of cold water containing more than 0.075 mg/l TTHM, compared to a miscarriage rate of 9.5 percent for women with low TTHM exposure.
The Switch from Chlorine to Chloramine
Due to concerns about the adverse effects of chlorination, a growing number of public water suppliers are switching from chlorine to chloramine as a secondary disinfectant. In very basic terms, chloramine is where ammonia is added to drinking water containing chlorine.
The reason for the switch is because chloramine disinfection is chemically more stable, longer lasting efficacy during distribution, and overall more effective than chlorine. Twenty-three percent of the US population (68 million people) received water treated with chloramines in 2010—and that number continues to rise each year.
So is Chloramine Safe?
In low dosages, chloramines are generally safe in drinking water, but the EPA again warns:
“Chloraminated water is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses; however, health authorities recognize that people with compromised immune systems and skin problems should not drink chloraminated water.”
The US EPA has acknowledged chloramine as a disinfectant and recognized its capacity to control THM formation in water. Nevertheless, chloramine has its own set of concerns:
- Chloramines can cause lead leaching from pipes and metal corrosion.
- Potential skin problems of dry, itchy skin and chemical sensitivities.
- Chloramine must be removed before using kidney dialysis machines.
- Like chlorine, chloramine disinfection also produces a strong taste and odor.
- Chloramine can be difficult to remove from water.
Solutions for Chlorine Removal
Since 86 percent of US households receive water from a public water supplier--chances are, you and I have water that's been treated with chlorine or chloramines.
Those looking for an economical, yet effective way to remove chlorine or chloramines from water might consider installing a Reverse Osmosis System. The carbon filter in an RO System (as a pre-filter/post filter) can remove chlorine while the other filters and membrane in the RO System will remove a variety of other constituents -- to provide top-quality drinking water.
For bottle-quality water and chlorine removal, here are three highly-rated Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems:
50 GPD Reverse Osmosis System
- Quick-Change No-Mess Replacement Filters Under Sink
- Compact Size for Simple Installation Under Sink
- 50 Gallon Per Day Rated Membrane
- 4-Stages of Filtration
- Made in USA
- Free Shipping
100 GPD Reverse Osmosis System
Watts Kwik Change 4-Stage
- Quick-Change No-Mess Replacement Filters
- 100 Gallon Per Day Rated Membrane
- 4-Stages of Filtration
- Designer Faucet
- Space-Saver Storage Tank Only 9” Wide
- FREE Shipping
Solutions for Chloramine Removal
If you're mostly concerned with Chloramine removal alone, you can take a different approach. Because of chlormamines' low molecular weight, it cannot be removed with a typical carbon filter, but rather with a catalytic carbon filter.
These three filters are designed for chloramine removal and can be paired with the appropriate housings also sold at espwaterproducts.com
If you have questions, please contact us.