What are Chloramines and Why Are They Used in Water?
Do you know that your tap water might be disinfected by a combination of chlorine and ammonia? Chloramine is the name of a popular disinfectant that’s used by water treatment plants across the U.S. It’s made by combining those two chemicals. It’s used by water treatment plants as a secondary disinfectant to neutralize bacteria and other microorganisms that could find their way into the water as it travels from the treatment plant to your home.
Why do water treatment plants use chloramines?
Water treatment plants in the U.S. began using chloramines in the early 20th century. Today, 1 in 5 Americans drink tap water with chloramines in it. It has become a popular disinfectant because of its long-lasting disinfectant properties. It’s used to ensure that, even if your home is the furthest from the treatment plant, your water will be free of bacteria and viruses. Along with this benefit, it also produces lower levels of disinfection byproducts, which the EPA regulated to protect the quality and safety of public drinking water.
What are the disadvantages of having water with chloramines?
Chloramines play an essential role in protecting us from ingesting harmful bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Unfortunately, these benefits come with some unpleasant downsides.
Water with chloramines can corrode metal pipes and deteriorate rubber over time. This means you will need to replace the seals, gaskets, and O-rings on your water-based appliances and fixtures more frequently. Its corrosion of metal pipes can increase your risk of being exposed to lead. The U.S. didn’t ban using lead in pipes until the late 1980s. Most water systems in the U.S. contain pipes with lead in them. Along with this risk, the corrosion process can change the chemical properties in your water, resulting in nitrification. This happens when the ammonia in the water turns into nitrates. Nitrification can increase the risk of sinkhole development.
Eye & Skin Irritation
Water disinfected by chloramines isn’t as abrasive to your body as it is to rubber or metal, but it can be an irritant. Bathing in water with chloramines can irritate your skin and eyes, especially if you already have a skin condition. In some cases, it can cause you to develop a rash, make you prone to hive-like outbreaks or exacerbate eczema, or acne.
Drinking water laced with chloramines isn’t as bad as chlorine water, but it can still have an unpleasant taste and smell. It gives water a metallic or chemical taste. It’s strong enough to give tea and coffee an unpleasant taste. It can make your water smell a little like a pool.
Toxic to Fish
If you haven’t been able to keep fish alive, your water most likely has chloramines. It’s too harsh for fish’s fragile internal organs to withstand. If you have an aquarium, it’s essential to use that is free of chloramines to protect your fish.
Are chloramines safe to drink?
Studies on the safety of drinking water with chloramines have demonstrated that it is safe at a certain level. Drinking water with 4mg/L or less of chloramines isn’t linked to any illnesses or longterm adverse health effects.
There is one exception: hemodialysis patients. When patients undergo hemodialysis, exposure to water with chloramines can be dangerous. The chloramines can get into their bloodstream and alter their hemoglobin. It can cause a potentially life-threatening condition known as hemolytic anemia. It’s crucial to avoid drinking water laced with chloramines if you’re underdoing dialysis.
How do you remove chloramines from water?
The quality that makes chloramines such an excellent disinfectant also makes it difficult to remove from water. Most point-of-use filters, such as shower filters, can’t remove it. One of the best purifiers to remove chloramines is a catalytic carbon filter. Reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration water purification systems can also remove chloramines.
If you have chloramines in your water, a whole home water purification system is a smart choice. A complete home water filtration system will protect your water-based appliances (like your dishwashers), pipes, and faucets for extra wear and tear. You will be able to make coffee or tea without it having a bad taste or take a shower without worrying about a rash.
Want to know if your water has chloramines in it? Contact Tri-Florida for a Free in-home water analysis! The best solutions for water purification aren’t one-size-fits. You deserve a system that’s been designed to ensure you have the cleanest, best-tasting water. Call today to schedule your free analysis or learn more about a whole home water purification system!