Is Your City Putting Chloramines in Your Water?
|VitaShower Vitamin C Shower Filter|
I learned that chloramines are in our water supply while recently researching water filters (to remove flouride and radio active isotopes that will be another article coming soon) only to find out that our filter we currently use has been ineffective in removing chloramines from our water since it is not designed to remove it. I just assumed our water was treated with chlorine.
What is Chloramine?
Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. It is more stable meaning it stays in the water longer, and therefore water treatment plants need less of it and that makes it cheaper. That also means it is harder for use the consumer to remove it from our water.
Are Chloramine Safe?
|A pool filled by water treated with chloramine casts a green color|
The EPA has required water systems to reduce chlorine by-product levels caused when organic materials mix with chlorine. EPA suspects that these by-products cause bladder cancer. Humm....So let me get this straight, the EPA is concerned about the safety of using chlorine so they allow the use of chloramines as an alternative (chlorine and ammonia). Which they knew even less about the safety of and is nearly impossible to remove for the consumer.
One thing I find interesting is that upon searching for the removal of chloramines I found lots of aquarium fish clubs talking about how to remove chloramines from the water because it kills fish. The EPA themselves say that chloramines must be removed from aquariums so as to not kill fish and from kidney dialysis treatments, "because it will be neutralized in our digestive system". My interpretation of this is that humans and fish must be able to filter out this contaminant to avoid severe reactions or death. Meaning it must be viewed to the body as a contaminant or toxin that must be filtered. Hmmm... that doesn't sound so good... Some examples are talking about how to removal chloramine are the Upper Midwest Koi Club MN Fish Keeper's Forum, topic: Scrubbing Chloramine Out Of Minneapolis water.
Even if chloramines are safe I don't want to shower in it for the same reason I don't use products that have sodium Laurel Sulfate in it. It drys out your hair and skin, causing you to need to use more products. Everyone knows how you feel when you come out of the pool. And if it's not safe it's even worse to absorb it through your skin because it is absorbed directly through the blood stream and inhaled into the lungs.
How Do You Get Chloramines Out Of Your Shower and Bath Water?
Chlorine will evaporate into the air and can be partially removed by boiling water or leaving it exposed to the air where chloramines will not evaporate into the air much. Chlorine is also easily removed by inexpensive carbon filters. Chloramine needs to be exposed to a very large amount of carbon for an extended time to remove any of it under cold water. This doesn't pose well for shower filters that deal with a large amount of hot water coming out quickly.
According to the SF Water treatment ""Chloramine is not a persistent disinfectant and decomposes easily from a chemistry point of view (Valentine et al, 1998) but for water supply purposes chloramine is stable and it takes days to dissipate in the absence of substances exerting chloramine demand (Wilczak et al., 2003b). Therefore, it is not practical to remove chloramine by letting an open container of water stand because it may take days for chloramine to dissipate. However, chloramine is very easily and almost instantaneously removed by preparing a cup of tea or coffee, preparing food (e.g., making a soup with a chicken stock). Adding fruit to a water pitcher (e.g., slicing peeled orange into a 1-gal water pitcher) will neutralize chloramine within 30 minutes. If desired, chloramine and ammonia can be completely removed from the water by boiling; however, it will take 20 minutes of gentle boil to do that. Just a short boil of water to prepare tea or coffee removed about 30% of chloramine.... If desired, both chlorine and chloramine can be removed for drinking water purposes by an activated carbon filter point of use device that can be installed on a kitchen faucet. If desired, both chlorine and chloramine can be removed for bathing purposes by dissolving Vitamin C in the bath water (1000 mg Vitamin C tablet will neutralize chloramine in an average bathtub)" http://sfwater.org/Files/FAQs/removal.pdf
Vitamin C Filters
I found through my research that it seems as though neutralizing it with vitamin c is the most effective way to deal with chloramines in terms of showering or bathing. In terms of drinking water there are specific filters that can help to remove it. I will talk about that in a post to come soon when I am able to do more research on that aspect of our own water filtration.
Vitamin C neutralizes chloramines, the byproducts are dehydroascorbic acid (an oxidized form of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), ammonia, and chloride (a chemical the human body needs for metabolism the process of turning food into energy). So basically all that's left that could be bad is ammonia probably which is probably at least much better than chlorine attached to ammonia. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has recently been included in AWWA (American Water Works Association) Standard (AWWA, 2005b) as one of the methods for dechlorination of disinfected water mains. There are no NSF International certified point of use devices utilizing Vitamin C, however SFPUC (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission) determined that 1000 mg of Vitamin C removes chloramine and chlorine completely in a medium size bathtub Inspired Living.com.