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Risky Chlorine Compound in Our Tap Water: The Majority of Water Filters Are Now Useless

Las Vegas, June 30, 2011 – Does anyone remember the lead scare in Washington, D.C. in 2004? Tap water was found to contain as much as 30 times the acceptable levels of lead. The reason? Washington’s water treatment utility began disinfecting water with chloramine (instead of chlorine), and the aggressive compound caused the pipes to leach lead into the water supply. The EPA’s new rules have prompted many water systems to start using chloramine, a compound of chlorine and ammonia. Chloramine is now used in about 20% of the United States’ drinking water systems.

Perhaps even worse is that all refrigerator filters, pitcher (carafe) filters, and faucet attachment filters do not work with chloramine. They deteriorate at a rapid rate and due to their lack of contact time, cannot effectively remove dissolved lead,or chloramine and its toxic byproducts from your tap water.

In January 2011, NPR ran an expose on the water treatments systems across the United States. Our nation’s utilities are changing the way they disinfect drinking water because chlorine, the traditional disinfectant used for over a century, can leave behind toxic byproducts (volatile organic compounds, etc.). “…One of the biggest unintended consequences of adding chlorine to water was that it reacts with some of the organic matter in the water to produce carcinogenic byproducts,” says David Sedlak, of the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Reports from several sources, including Science journal’s report “The Chlorine Dilemma,” have stated that chloramine also has significant risks.

Chloramine does not produce the same byproducts as chlorine, however, it does produce its own, including chemicals called nitrosamines.”Nitrosamines are the compounds that people warned you about when they told you you shouldn’t be eating those nitrite-cured hot dogs,” Sedlak says. “They’re about a thousand times more carcinogenic than the disinfection by products that we’d been worried about with regular old chlorine.”

As individuals, we can take matters into our own hands by filtering the water once it reaches our homes. Placing whole home water filtration systems at the main line to the home filters out chlorine, chloramine, and their toxic byproducts, and prevents you from absorbing, drinking, and inhaling them.

If you have chloramine in your tap water, ensure you purchase the correct system for your needs. Standard whole home filtration does not sufficiently protect you from chloramine because standard filtration media quickly gets exhausted by the aggressive chloramine. Soon the filtration media can only filter out the chlorine portion, leaving the ammonia behind and creating bad odors, taste, and toxic by products.

Speciality chloramine filtration systems do exist and are replacing standard systems where utilities use chloramine as their main disinfectant. Environmental Water Systems manufactures a high-grade, USA-made Water Filtration Systems using a specialized filtration media that effectively handles chloramine and its toxic byproducts, and is the system of choice in districts where chloramine is used instead of chlorine. Better yet, you only need to replace the filtration media every 5 years.

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