Chlorine In Drinking Water – Thanks, But No Thanks

If you are like most people, one of the big reasons that you like bottled water is that it doesn’t taste or smell like chlorine. Chlorine in drinking water makes municipal tap water difficult to enjoy at the best of times. Warm, chlorinated tap water is the worst of all. The scent of chlorine hits your nose as you raise the glass to your lips and everything goes south after that.

If you are a foodie, chlorine in your drinking water can mess with your palette and conflict with all of the wonderful aromas that a good meal can offer. It can also throw off a great cup of coffee, loose leaf tea, or your favourite Sodastream, Aquazinger or Citrus Zinger creation.

If you are a scotch or bourbon drinker, do you add ice or water? What you probably don’t add is a dash of chlorine bleach.

Chlorination of our drinking water is one of the fundamental building blocks of our public health system.

Without chlorine in our drinking water, even today, waterborne disease would be a serious problem in both Canada and the USA. And while chlorine is used less and less as a primary method of drinking water treatment, being replaced by technology like ultrafiltration, its use as a secondary method of water purification remains vitally important. The challenge for water utilities is not in purifying the water within the water treatment plant but keeping it from being recontaminated as it travels through extensive and often aging distribution systems. This is where chlorine in drinking water is critical to public health.

When an underground pipe breaks (which happens on an almost daily basis in most cities), pressure is lost and sometimes even reversed which allows contaminants from the surrounding soil to enter the water distribution system. With wastewater and sewage pipes also experiencing breaks and leaks, often times right beside drinking water lines, the severity of the problem and risk of contamination is obvious.

Chlorine in drinking water protects us against everything from E. coli to Typhoid to Cholera. This is a good thing.

But when chlorine kills or reacts with organic materials in your drinking water (bacteria, cysts, viruses, algae, etc.) it is used up. If all of the chlorine is used up before the water reaches your home or office, it could become contaminated. The only way to ensure this doesn't happen is to add a high amount of chlorine at the water treatment plant and sometimes even boost with additional injections throughout the distribution system.

Fortunately, chlorine in drinking water is easy to remove.

After it has done it's job, chlorine is easy to remove from your drinking water. This is done by using a reputable, carbon based water filter which holds NSF/ANSI 42 certification for the reduction of chlorine taste and odour. In addition to reducing chlorine by over 97.5%, carbon is also effective in removing a host of other contaminants like Lead, Mercury, MTBE and even VOCs like Benzene. Click here for more information on reducing chlorine in drinking water with the Finecel Water Filtration System offered by Elua.

While chlorine in drinking water will be a public health necessity for the foreseeable future, we can and should remove it prior to consumption. Water should be a pleasure to drink, not a chore. Besides dramatically improving the taste and odour of our drinking water and allowing beverages like coffee, tea and naturally made sodas and fruit infused waters to come to life, reducing our exposure to one more chemical in what is now a world of chemical cocktails, simply makes sense.

We'd love to hear from you! Is chlorine one of the reasons that you buy bottled water? Does chlorine in your drinking water at home or work make you drink less water?

[Even with chlorination, problems with our municipal drinking water persist. In response to the Congressional Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996, in 2005, the EPA and CDC completed a series of epidemiologic studies and a national workshop designed to assess the magnitude of endemic Acute Gastro Enteritis (AGI) associated with consumption of public drinking water. The authors of two reports used current data and made various assumptions for missing data to derive two different but overlapping estimates of 4.3-11.7 million annual AGI cases and 16.4 million annual AGI cases. To learn more about municipal drinking water safety and regulations, please read our report titled “Municipal Water and Your Health”]

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