Why is Chlorine in Tap Water?

Chlorine in Your Tap Water

Have you ever turned the water on and suddenly smelled a swimming pool? The smell of chlorine in your water is a sign that your water is treated. This means that your water has chemicals in it. Your city is doing what it can to remove harmful bacteria, toxins, and disease from your water. It also means that the chemicals that you smell when you turn on the spigot are still in there when you drink, bathe, and cook.

And the filter for the chlorine you’re ingesting?


Why is chlorine added to your water?

The original purpose for adding chlorine to drinking water was to disinfect the water, removing waterborne pathogens like cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, and Legionnaires’ disease. And since the introduction of chlorine as a drinking water disinfectant, illnesses like typhoid of been all but eliminated.

Over time, however, some bacteria have built up an immunity to chlorine’s disinfecting potency. And some other bacteria (like Cryptosporidium and Giardia) have shown little to no response to chlorine. In some cities, the diminishing response of bacteria to chlorine’s potency has prompted officials to increase the chlorine levels in drinking water for the same purification results.

With it’s benefits of eliminating certain pathogens and bacteria, chlorine in water also presents various side effects to humans. Some of these are toxic. Some of them are annoyances. All of them are worth discussing.

What are the side effects of chlorine in your water?

Exposure to chlorine has been connected to health risks for individuals with prolonged or consistent exposure. And while the chlorine amounts in the majority of treated municipality water is generally not high enough to cause significant health problems, the risk remains. And there are various effects to consider.

  1. Cancer – This needs to be mentioned, even though you may not see municipal water supplies with chlorine content levels high enough to directly link cancer to water consumption. According to the Center for Disease Control, as long as your city’s water does not maintain chlorine levels in excess of 4 milligrams per liter (mg/l), the water is safe for consumption. Any risk at all, however, is something families should be educated about. And as the amount of chlorine elements increase in our tap water to maintain potency against pathogens and bacteria, the risk to our bodies increases. If you have questions, you should check to see the condition of your city’s water.
  2. Dry and Itchy Skin – While a discussion about dry skin might pale in comparison to talks of significant, potentially fatal, health issues, the side effect is real and effects people across the country. Various skin conditions (like eczema or psoriasis) can get triggered by the drying side effects of chlorine. Skin is resilient to many elements working against its natural makeup, but prolonged or consistent exposure to chlorine can cause significant frustration. Chlorine can be directly responsible for dry, itchy, irritated skin, especially in the winter months.
  3. Stains and Fading – Chlorine has a bleaching element to it. You may find clothing is fading quicker than you’d like or that tubs or fixtures have become dull. This can be the result of prolonged exposure to the bleaching effects of chlorine.

How do I remove chlorine from my drinking water?

Ignoring chemicals like chlorine won’t remove them from your water. Drinking will…but so will a customized water treatment solution.

If you are smelling chlorine from your tap water, find out some ways that you can do something about it. Or find a water treatment specialist who can help you out.


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