Chlorine and chloramine are used to kill microorganisms in tap water and keep it safe for drinking. However, there are also problems and risks such as poor taste and odor, cancerous bi-products and negative impact on sensitive pets and plants. Therefore it might be a good idea to remove or reduce chlorine and chloramine at the point of use.
Why are chlorine and chloramine added to tap water?
Chlorine has been used for 100 years to keep tap water safe to drink by killing microorganisms such as bacteria, germs, infections, and protozoans. The objective is to keep chlorine at a sufficient level all the way to the tap as the organisms could be picked up along the way due to old pipes, leaks or contamination. EPA, WHO and other international organizations have set these targets based on safe levels for humans.
Chloramine which in simple terms is made up of ammonia and free chlorine works in a similar way to chlorine. The reason it’s used more and more frequently for water treatment is that the taste and odor are better than chlorine. The amount of chlorine or chloramine added depends on how much is required to destroy all organisms in the water systems. Normally greater amounts are required for hard water. Using a free-chlorine test-strip on water treated with chloramine will not show any results, as the free-chlorine has turned into chloramine in the presence of ammonia.
Why might you want to remove or reduce chlorine and chloramine?
With hundreds of studies carried out, there is little evidence that the recommended levels of chlorine and chloramine have any direct negative health impact on humans. However, there are indirect issues
- Chlorine combined with organic materials may cause bi-products such as THMs and VOCs whereof some are suspected to be cancerous.
- May cause tap water to taste or smell unpleasant and change the taste of coffee, tea, and other drinks
- Causes harm to small animals such as aquarium fish and other house pets as the chlorine also kills healthy bacteria
- Chloramine does not disperse from the water like chlorine does. In the event that you let chlorinated water sit for 30 minutes to an hour, it will disperse from the standing water (however it will in any case desert leave behind bi-products and VOCs).
How can I remove chlorine and chloramine from tap water?
There are several types of filters that remove chlorine and chloramine including reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light, activated carbon and catalytic carbon an enhanced version of activated carbon). The most efficient for chlorine removal is activated carbon and chloramine removal catalytic carbon.
TAPP 2 which is an affordable high-quality water filter has been independently tested and proven to remove 95% of chlorine and chloramine. The filter is made up of an organic carbon block that provides both activated and catalytic carbon.
TAPP 2 has the added advantage that it does not filter out healthy minerals and that the cartridges are biodegradable. Only use independently tested and certified water filters and check specifically that it’s tested to remove chloramine if this is the concern.
- Chlorine and chloramine are added to tap water to make it safe for drinking and generally should not have any negative health impact
- As a safety precaution, it might be a good idea to reduce or remove chlorine and chloramine to avoid possible negative effects
- Choose an independently certified filter such as TAPP 2 with activated and catalytic carbon to ensure that chlorine and chloramine are reduced or removed
To learn more about chlorine including free and total chlorine read our other blog