Because chloramines persist in the water for longer than other disinfectants, they can have unexpected side effects. For instance, when this type of substance comes into contact with organic matter, it releases what are called disinfection byproducts or DBPs.
These by-products can be toxic. Some are even considered carcinogens in lab animals and might damage organs or weaken immune systems in people who are exposed to them.
Chloramines also increase the amount of lead that gets into the water if they come into contact with lead pipes. While almost all buildings no longer have this kind of plumbing, some older buildings still retain lead piping.
Ordinary water doesn’t pick up very much lead from them, however. Acidic water or drinking water treated with chloramines tends to leach more lead out of these antiquated pipes, increasing the danger to people who live in older buildings.
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