It’s pretty much common knowledge that public water systems use disinfectants comprising varying levels of chlorine. Cities are now putting a chlorine compound referenced as chloramine to use in an effort to extend the results and produce a more significant effect from chlorine.
The issue is that some people were filtering out the chlorine, but with this new compound, homeowners are unsure of the technique to remove it since it will undoubtedly be a separate and unique process.
That’s especially true because chloramine is a compound of different parts. It would, therefore, need separating into its individual elements for efficient removal of each. Suffice it to say – it will be more complex to rid the system of this product than it is for chlorine.
What Is Chloramine And Why Use It
The chemical reaction between ammonia and chlorine creates chloramine used as a secondary disinfectant in city water supplies. Go here for a guideline on the disinfection process using chloramine and chlorine.
The substance was introduced in the early 1930s but is gradually growing in popularity. Roughly one out of every five people drink water treated in this way, according to estimations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The substance, as with chlorine, means to keep impurities from the drinking supply and enhance the overall quality preserving homeowners’ health. There are varied types of these compounds, any of which can treat the system, but monochloramine is the preference.
- Organic chloramine
The reason these substances were introduced, in conjunction with chlorine, was to eliminate the many pathogens capable of risking homeowners’ health and wellbeing. Before disinfecting the systems, people were prone to serious illness with some fatalities due to contaminated drinking supplies.
While there is the potential for chemical additives in the water with disinfection, the EPA rendered the benefits of these products outweigh the risks. Go to https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/healthy-living/chloramine-or-chlorine-in-drinking-water/ for details on chloramine as a disinfectant.
Removing Chloramine From Water
Chloramine is a more complicated compound than chlorine, making it more challenging to rid it from your water supply. The addition of this substance to the water supply was to prolong chlorine’s disinfection effects.
Chlorine can evaporate within roughly four hours entirely from water left out to reach room temperature. Chloramine, under the same circumstances, will take approximately 24 hours but leave a residue.
Effectively ridding the water supply of this compound requires separating it into the individual components of chlorine and ammonia and employing a robust filtration system for each of these molecules.
The ideal method is using “catalytic carbon filtration” (activated carbon with an exceptional contaminant removing capacity.) There are few like this capable of successfully decreasing chloramine levels from tap water.
Straight carbon filters are beneficial for chlorine but don’t do the job with its counterpart. The quality and stability of chloramine are the reasons for cohesive use as a potent disinfectant alongside chlorine. Still, it doesn’t change the fact these are a challenge to neutralize.
The Fundamentals of Catalytic Carbon
Catalytic carbon boasts one of the most effective neutralizers for this disinfectant in the system. The activated carbon goes through additional processing, so there is a greater capacity for handling varied chemical reactions. Specific chemical changes need a catalyst.
With catalytic carbon, structural alterations to the surface offer sufficient area for these types of reactions, albeit while still providing the incredible absorbability of activated carbon properties.
The catalyst offers the carbon an elevation in charge so contaminants, aside from those standards, can be targeted, including chloramines. When these meet the catalytic carbon, the ammonia and chlorine separate, and conversion occurs, leaving the water with harmless compounds.
Generally, a catalytic carbon option is part of a point of entry filter system. That means all the flow into the household passes through this unit to decrease contaminants significantly. That leaves the drinking water chemical-free in odor and taste, plus there’s no burning, itching, or stinging with showers or baths.
Are Chloramines Safe To Drink If You Don’t Remove Them
The EPA regulation for water quality indicates the drinking supply is safe with as much as 4 (mg/L) of the compound. As a rule, the feeling is that these pose minimal hazards to health.
Indulging in this amount, according to studies, is not showing links to illness or health risks. Municipalities follow stringent regulations with distribution making it unlikely there would be exposure to higher levels of chloramines than what would be considered safe limits.
One significant safety exception with chloramines is hemodialysis patients. The compounds find their way into the bloodstream via the dialysis membrane. That can potentially alter hemoglobin with the possibility for the patient to develop “hemolytic anemia,” a life-threatening ailment. Anyone on dialysis needs to avoid water that has treatment using chloramines.
Otherwise, the compound will mostly prove an aggravation and frustration for those with any skin sensitivity. These individuals have the potential for developing a rash from showering in chloramine water. It also tends to exacerbate conditions, including acne, eczema, or other skin disorders.
Some people will experience stinging of the eyes, kind of like when you leave a pool with bloodshot or stinging sensations as well as nasal upset, sinus discomfort from inhaling the vapor.
Should you remove chloramine from your water supply? Everything is ultimately a matter of personal choice. Recommendations and suggestions are just that and can go with a grain of salt. The thought process in this article is to filter. The compound is toxic for fish and plant life.
There are numerous recommendations for avoiding the substance in varied industries, including medical and laboratory settings. Plus, it has the possibility of deteriorating materials over time, like rubber, not to mention its corrosive properties. Really a downer when it comes to metal pipes.
We could probably go on, but that should help with an informed decision about whether filtering these from your water supply is a good idea . . . or not so much.