Source of Chloramine in Water: Throughout the United States, municipalities have used disinfectants like chlorine and chloramines (NH₂CL) for almost seventy years. As a result, water borne illnesses like typhoid and cholera have been almost completely eliminated. But, chlorine comes with a side effect: disinfection by-products (DBPs) which have proven to be very harmful to humans. To reduce these DBPs, water suppliers began to add ammonia to the chlorine which then created chloramine, an alternative disinfectant. The EPA now estimates that 1 in 5 Americans now drink water contaminated with chloramines and its by-products (see the map below). Chloramine in water reduces the formation of chlorine-related DBPs, and provides farther reaching disinfection that is easier to maintain throughout the distribution system. As the US EPA places stronger regulations on DBPs, more water suppliers will ultimately move towards using chloramine for disinfection.
Symptoms of Chloramine: Chloramine (also known as monochloramine) has several potential side effects. Those in the food service industry should be warned that use of chloramines can lower the quality of products, including coffee, beverages, and soups. Water with chloramine has been described as having a "bitter" or "musty" taste. It can also cause damage to intricate equipment in the manufacturing and food service industries. Tap water with chloramines should not be used in hospitals or dialysis centers as introducing this contaminant into the blood stream can cause serious health problems. The EPA has also warned that those exposed to chloramines are at risk for developing gastrointestinal problems and severe skin rashes. Perhaps even more concerning, chloramine can also create a dangerous DBP: a compound called NDMA. NDMA has been identified as a probable carcinogen by the EPA. NDMA can also cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Download a fact sheet about NDMA (courtesy of the EPA) here.
Filtration Solutions for Chloramine: Most serve-yourself soda fountains are installed with a chloramine filter by the soda manufacturer to preserve the integrity of the product. Shouldn't your home or business also be protected against this disinfectant and its by-products? We offer several options for reducing chloramines from your tap water, including specifically designed chloramine reduction filters. A reverse osmosis system should have a prefilter specifically designed for chloramines, as the chemical will reduce the life of the RO membrane.
Part Number: PT752-50 Alternate Part Number: 481026
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U.S. Map of States Using Chloramine as Water Disinfectant
According to the EPA's 2010 data, water municipalities are increasingly switching to chloramine as a method of disinfection. From 2007 to 2010, there was a nationwide increase of 37%. Texas had the most significant change, with a 54% increase across the state. Florida followed with a 43% increase, and California with a 20% increase.
News Report About the Health Effects of Chloramines in Water