Chloramine is a chemical used to disinfectant the public water supply in San Diego and various other counties. The more commonly known disinfectant, chlorine, is usually found coupled with chloramine to have a primary and secondary disinfection mechanism. Little scientific research has been done to prove the safety of chloramine and of that which has been done some shows startling results. Chloramine does not dissipate when exposed to air like chlorine, and filtering it out of your water comes at a higher cost because common carbon filters are not equipped for chloramine. Chloramine is the trickier, stickier, mysterious chemical being slipped into our water. And I refuse to be a part of its test trial run.
Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. On the back of a bleach bottle (chlorine based) it tells you NEVER to mix the product with ammonia AND to call the poison control center immediately if you ingest it! Yet, somehow the government has decided that in diluted concentrations, chloramine is a great disinfectant for drinking water. The EPA states that there are inadequate studies determining whether chloramine is a carcinogen to humans or animals. Studies on rats have linked chloramine to cancer in female rats. And studies on mice and hamsters have linked chloramine to reproductive toxicity and overall reduced reproductivity.
Chloramine can exist in three different forms: monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine. Monochloramine is a form of nerve gas. All three forms are known respiratory and skin irritants, though trichloramine is the most severe. There is no way for water companies to control which form eventually reaches our tap because the forms are constantly shifting depending on variables including temperature, pH, and turbidity.
The California Conference of Local Health Officers has taken a horrifyingly passive approach to the whole issue, openly stating that the public must be monitored for the “potentially harmful effects caused by chloramine.” No action will be taken until enough people become seriously hurt. But what about the subtle negative effects of chlorine that most people are unaware of, like skin rashes or asthma? Unless the general public gains awareness of the situation, these symptoms of chloramine exposure will sneakily continue to harm us unchallenged.
Once you’ve determined if your water company uses chloramine (the easiest way to find this out is to call and ask), and that you don’t want to be exposed to it, you must look for filters that specifically say they filter chloramines. The basic carbon filter DOES NOT deal with chloramines because they require a longer filter contact period. For your drinking water only, you can install a reverse osmosis unit or a specialty cartridge to treat chloramines. If you purchase a shower filter, be wary because very few state they can filter chloramines. A whole house carbon filter tank, such as the Pelican tank also will remove chloramines from all the water in your home. Even if a product states it reduces chloramines, it is best if you call the manufacturer and ask them for the numbers. Many companies can’t back up their claims with legitimate proof. At Drips Water we research each of our products before putting them on the market to ensure they do what they claim. And we offer everything needed to thoroughly filter chloramines from your water, some options are listed HERE. We encourage you to ask questions, do research, and keep your water healthy.
Author: Shannon Walker