Knowing how to remove chemicals from water can be essential to your well-being and health. Most water sources should be considered to be dirty and must be disinfected
Chlorine and Chloramine
Chlorine has a distinctive, strong smell and a terrible taste in water. It reacts with organic matter in the water, producing byproducts known as Trihalomethanes (THMs) and VOCs (Volatile organic compounds).
THMs and VOCs are common chemical compounds in water supplies. They are formed when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter.
Chloramines, as the name suggests are a chemical compound, which results from a mix of chlorine and amino acid. It is a chemical compound that doesn’t exist naturally in water.
Ever thought about why were chloramines added to the water? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approves its addition in the water as a secondary disinfectant before it reaches consumers’ taps.
Chloramines are medically proven disinfectants that prevent the formation of chemical byproducts such as THMs and VOCs besides being long-lasting disinfectants than chlorine.
Furthermore, it has been proven that chlorine and chloramines affect health adversely. Here are a few health issues caused by them.
Chlorine being a chemical is highly prone to react with other chemicals that are present in water to form other compounds that are unsafe for human consumption.
One such compound is Chlorocarbon, which is formed after chlorine interacts with other organic matter present in water. These Chlorocarbons are carcinogenic and therefore, increase the risk of few forms of cancer like rectal and bladder cancer.
Consumption of chloramines also negatively affects the immune system – you get more susceptible to allergies like asthma and common diseases like common cold and hay. This is the reason; people with less immunity are often advised to remove chloramine from the water before consumption.
For the people who have undergone kidney dialysis, this chemical water could be dangerous too. Because of dialysis, their blood is exposed to water via a semi-permeable layer; and chloramines being small in size can easily pass through this porous layer and can interact with blood vessels.
Consumption of chlorinated water results in respiratory issues, dry and flaky skin, and brittle hair. Prolonged consumption of chlorine-laced water results also in anemia and gastric and digestion issues.
You’ve probably heard the news that traces of pharmaceutical drugs have been found in tap water, soil, surface water, and water supplies of over 41 million Americans.
If you are wondering why it is because more and more people are taking painkillers, depression medications, and other types of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Once these people use the restroom, although some of the remains of the pills stay in their bodies, most of the residue is naturally flushed out from their systems and flushed into the supply system.
Low, consistent doses of these drugs are not likely to produce severe and instant effects on the human body, but rather effects that may go unnoticed. These long-term effects could be reproductive or behavioral.
Some medical facilities dispose of expired medication by flushing it down the toilet. It makes me wonder how many thousands of these medications are disposed of in this way in a year. Why would they do something so irresponsible?
Many of these drugs hold their potency long after the expiration date, so they remain dangerous, especially when mixed with other drugs or chemicals.
Though the levels of drugs in the ecosystem are approximately 600 – 700% less than the recommended doses for prescription in humans, they are affecting aquatic life and other parts of the environment.
Fish have been affected by hormone disruption, caused by estrogens and antibiotics in the water. Estrogens and antibiotics persist in the environment, as they cannot naturally biodegrade as well as the fact that they are being released constantly.
Most people just do not pay enough attention to this ubiquitous compound found in our water supply. Fluoride is the name given to a group of compounds made up of the element fluorine and various other elements. They are naturally found in abundance in water and soil.
Fact is, when you drink water the fluoride in it doesn’t get enough time to work on your teeth. The time it spends in your mouth is too little to show any results. There are many side effects that you can experience due to it – Alzheimer’s, dementia, bone cancer, impaired immune system, and joint and muscle pain – all can result in over-exposure to this compound.
You need to know how to remove fluoride from drinking water if you want to be safe from all these health problems.
Experts around the globe insist on taking all the measures that are required in removing chemicals from the water.
How to Remove Chemicals from Water
So, what is the solution? How can you effectively remove chemicals from water before its consumption?
Now that you know the significance of removing chemicals from water, let us have a look at how you can achieve the same.
You can boil the water to kill bacteria and other organisms in the distillation process. The process works by vaporizing and condensing water that has reached its boiling point.
However, while distillation is very effective in killing bacteria, it fails to remove synthetic chemicals that reach their boiling point before the water does. What does this mean? This means that the chemicals become part of the water condensation.
So, according to experts, the best method is by using a filtration system, which is based on a multi-stage water filtration system such as sub-micron filtration and ion exchange method. The popular systems on the market include; reverse osmosis, and carbon-based purification devices.
Reverse Osmosis works by pushing highly pressurized water through a semi-permeable membrane filter with a fine pore structure, effectively removing minerals and contaminants.
While this system is effective in removing chlorine and many other contaminants, it can fall short of removing certain synthetic chemicals. Anything with a molecular weight less than or equal to the weight of the water can slip through.
It may be capable of filtering out more than 99% of most contaminants and trapping larger particles of drugs, many of the pharmaceuticals in water supply reservoirs are diluted to the point where they would easily pass through.
The biggest problem with reverse osmosis systems is the fact they remove all the healthy and beneficial minerals that our body needs regularly. Trace minerals such as magnesium, iron, sodium, calcium, and potassium are all naturally found in water.
Consuming demineralized water can increase your risk of mineral deficiencies. This is because the water is more acidic than alkaline; therefore the minerals will have to be pulled from your teeth and bones to neutralize the fluid. This also increases free radical production in your body, which leaves you more prone to cancer.
Reverse osmosis is also only useful on chemicals and wastes from well water mostly because most water treatment plants utilize it as well. The system is also very slow and wastes a lot of water. For every gallon filtered, they waste about 2 to 3 gallons.
However, when Reverse Osmosis is used with a quality carbon filter, most prescription drugs can be removed from the water.
Carbon-Based Multi-Stage Water Filtration Systems
Carbon filters are recognized as being the best technology available in removing both organic and synthetic chemicals from tap water. As an added benefit, carbon filters do not remove the natural trace minerals in tap water as reverse osmosis does.
These systems contain blended media, which include carbon–with a sub-micron pore structure, and ion exchange for filtering out synthetic chemicals, chlorine, and chlorine byproducts.
These units come with a standard activated granular carbon filter for removing chlorine and a few other chemicals, but those also armed with a multi-block feature will remove any chemicals present. The activated carbon filter works by giving these contaminants a charge so they are absorbed and removed.
The EPA recognizes carbon as the best choice available for filtering a variety of chemicals, the problem of pharmaceutical drugs in the water supply as well as Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts.
Carbon-based filtration systems come in many varieties. There are points-of-use carbon filters and whole house carbon filters. The whole house activated carbon filters will remove the most common chemicals found in tap water including harsh disinfectants which are added to sanitize city tap water.
The water filters will list the contaminants they are capable of removing as part of their capabilities. Sometimes, people settle for the pitchers and faucet filters which are a point of use carbon filters when seeking a lower-cost alternative to bottled water. However, such filters are typically less effective than whole house water filters.
So there you have it. Whenever you are looking for a device or method for filtering chlorine for your household water, make sure it not only removes chlorine but also removes synthetic chemicals and other contaminants.
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