When most of us think of chlorine, we almost immediately think of public swimming pools and can practically smell the aroma as if we had just entered a waterpark or a hotel lobby. We know chlorine is used as a cleaning agent in pools and hot tubs, but did you know it is also present in much of our tap water for similar reasons?
Chemicals in tap water are always going to raise a number of questions in regard to cleanliness and safety, and it is a common concern whether or not chlorine is bad for you.
Here is everything you need to know about chlorine in drinking water and whether or not it presents any legitimate health risks to you and your household.
The chlorination process
Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to water in order to disinfect and kill germs – and it is the most common method of drinking water disinfection in the U.S. In fact, chlorine has been used in the U.S. as a major water disinfectant for more than 100 years, originally serving as a disease-fighting method against waterborne illnesses like cholera and dysentery.
It has since become more widely used in municipal water systems and is now somewhat of a norm for communities across the country. Chlorine’s primary purpose in tap water is to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing microorganisms.
While it is recommended for use in all public water systems, it is only required for those that:
- Use surface water as their source (e.g. rivers, lakes, and streams)
- Expose their water to outside air during treatment
- Use treatment chemicals for corrosion control as these can cause the growth of microorganisms
How much chlorine is in my water?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits the amount of chlorine in our drinking water to an amount that when added, is distributed such that it results in low toxicity. In most cases, chlorine successfully kills germs and is safe to drink, also providing protection against waterborne disease outbreaks.
Chlorine can, however, be harmful in high doses, and some are more sensitive to chlorine than others.
The CDC says chlorine levels up to four milligrams per liter are considered safe in our drinking water, and while municipal water systems are treated, the water goes through a lot on its way to our homes.
The risks of chlorinated water
The pipes in municipal water systems often develop a layer of biofilm that can make it more difficult for the chlorine to effectively kill germs and bacteria.
During treatment, chlorine can also combine with naturally occurring organic matter in water to form disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that can lead to negative health effects after regular, long-term exposure.
In addition, chlorination affects the taste and smell of our water, and can also cause skin irritation for those with high sensitivity.
Chlorine is also toxic to certain aquatic pets such as fish, reptiles, and amphibians. These animals absorb water directly into the bloodstream, which is something to keep in mind when filling your at-home habitat. To remove chlorine from your water, you can let it sit out for a few days or purchase a chlorine removal product from a pet store.
Or, you can install a whole house water filtration system.
Experience the difference of better water with Culligan
Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or the countryside, a water filter can provide an inexpensive yet effective insurance resource against the potential dangers of chlorinated water. A water purifier can also provide your home with better-tasting water that is more useful in your day-to-day life.
The benefits of a home water filtration system include:
- Cleaner water– A filter removes the contaminants from your water before it makes its way to your kitchen, bathroom, or appliances, allowing you to enjoy crisp, clean water at all times.
- Better-tasting water– A water filter does away with the unpleasant taste and odor that can often accompany unfiltered water.
- Healthier water– Filtered water is safer to consume, bathe with, and use in household chores like dishwashing and cooking.
- Reduced utilities bills– A water filter reduces scale buildup in your home’s plumbing and helps water flow more efficiently throughout your pipes.
Contact Culligan Water today to start giving your people the water they deserve.