Chlorine and THM’s in Tap Water

Chlorine and THM’s in Tap Water

Published: 22/03/2023 Times Read: 1775 Comments: 0
Water chlorination has been categorized as "the major public health achievement of the 20th century". For more than 100 years, this chemical has been added to drinking water to protect us from bacteria and disease. But studies show that chlorine in tap water can endanger our health.
What is chlorine?
Chlorine is a versatile chemical. You'll find it in commercial bleaches and disinfectants. It is used to make many consumer products, especially polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other plastics. It was also used as a chemical weapon (poison gas) in the First World War.
But you most likely know chlorine as a disinfectant used in swimming pools… and tap water.Water companies use chlorine in the form of chlorine gas, calcium hydrochloride, or sodium hypochlorite to treat water intended for human consumption. Chlorine kills the bacteria, germs and viruses commonly found in water tanks and swimming pools, thereby helping to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases such as typhoid, dysentery and cholera.
This is a method of disinfection that was first used in 1897 and is still used today.
But it turns out that chlorine may not be completely effective for 100% disinfection because research shows that some toxic organisms, including e.coli, have adapted and become resistant to chlorine. This means that even though the tap water is chlorinated, there is a chance, however minimal, that it may contain active bacteria and viruses... As well as other harmful substances.
How does chlorine get into tap water?
Chlorine gets into your tap water because it is used as a water disinfectant. It also reacts with water to form other substances.
What are the potential health effects of using chlorine to disinfect tap water?
Some argue that the benefits of this method of disinfection far outweigh any health risks. Others point to studies linking chlorine exposure to birth defects and a higher risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.
In Bulgaria, 100% of the water is chlorinated and very often the level of chlorine concentration exceeds the permitted limit. As early as the 1960s, questions about the safety of chlorine began to arise when it became clear that even low levels of the chemical were toxic to plants and animals.Chlorine has also been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. A study published by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that over 6,000 cases of bladder cancer in Europe can be attributed to chlorine in drinking water added in the disinfection process.
The updated EU Drinking Water Directive gives the following maximum limits:
Chlorite: not more than 0.25 milligrams per liter
Chlorate: not more than 0.25 milligrams per liter
If the disinfection method used generates both chlorite and chlorate (such as when chlorine dioxide is used), a maximum value of 0.70 milligrams per liter applies.
THM (total amount for chloroform, bromoform, dibromochloromethane and bromodichloromethane): not more than 0.1 milligrams per liter
Chlorite: not more than 0.25 milligrams per liter
Chlorate: not more than 0.25 milligrams per liter
If the disinfection method used generates both chlorite and chlorate (such as when chlorine dioxide is used), a maximum value of 0.70 milligrams per liter applies. THM (total amount for chloroform, bromoform, dibromochloromethane and bromodichloromethane): not more than 0.1 milligrams per liter
Chlorine in tap water in Bulgaria
With so many studies pointing to the potential health effects of chlorine, it is still used to disinfect drinking water, even though there are other, safer alternatives to provide clean tap water.
In many European countries, chlorine is almost no longer used, with water companies instead treating drinking water with ultraviolet disinfection, precipitation, or ozonation—methods that produce no harmful disinfection byproducts.
How to remove chlorine from tap water?
There are several ways you can do this:
1. Fill a jug with tap water in the morning and let it sit in the fridge or outdoors for a day. Chlorine gas weighs less than air, so it will slowly evaporate from the water.
2. Boil the water for 15 minutes (this speeds up the evaporation of the chlorine gas) and let it cool before drinking.
3. Invest in a water purification system that effectively removes chlorine (a must with activated carbon filters).

Tags: Water purification

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