Chloramine has recently risen to prominence because it’s been found in more and more water supplies, while also causing extremely dangerous side effects.
Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia, typically used to disinfect water supplies. These molecules also change and respond to pH, temperature, and turbulence, changing the ammonia to chlorine ratio significantly.
All chloramines are respiratory irritants, but trichloramine is the most toxic form of the chemical. It’s also difficult to remove from water, and while there are inadequate studies on the chemical’s effects, many have reported terrible side effects on skin, hair, eyes, and overall health after ingesting water infected with chloramine.
How to Test for Chloramine and Remove from Your Water
The first step is to test your water using a testing kit that looks for chloramine. Most water testing kits can be purchased online, but you’ll need to check if they include chloramine in what they test for.
Secondly, you’ll need to get a water filter. There are several types to choose from, but the best water filters for removing chloramine typically have a multi-stage filtration process, including an activated carbon filter, reverse osmosis filter, or ceramic filter like with an Aquasana water filtration system.
Carbon filters are necessary to remove chloramines, but they can’t do the job alone. In combination with pre-filters and the semipermeable membrane of reverse osmosis, you can drastically reduce the amount of chloramine in your water.
Both under sink and whole home water filtration systems are the best options if you already have signs of chloramine contamination, such as dry skin.
Effects of Water Contaminated with Chloramine
City water supplies have always used chlorine to disinfect, but chloramine has also been used because of its long-lasting properties. Though these chemicals keep the public safe from ingesting bacteria and protozoa, they also cause irritation and severe health effects.
Skin and Eye Irritation
The most common complaint about chloramine is that it aggravates your eyes, sinuses, and skin. Several skin conditions are exacerbated by chloramine, especially if you already have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis. It’s also been known to cause hives, dryness, and acne.
Lastly, chloramines cause eye irritation. If you emerge from the shower with bloodshot, stinging eyes, it’s likely that you spent a little too long absorbing chloramine. If it gets into your nasal passages, then you could also start sneezing or feel your nose run.
Kidney and Liver Problems
Those who have kidney or liver problems need to focus on their water purity even more. Excess chloramine can put unnecessary stress on your organs to filter out these chemicals, particularly if you experience kidney disease or need dialysis.
Poor Taste and Odor
Chloramine has a metallic or chemical “tang” that you’ll taste if it’s contaminated. While the EPA has suggested that small, untraceable amounts of chloramine are in the water supply, the agency also has said that it’s safe to drink at a low level. That’s not the case for everyone, especially when you have sensitivities due to skin conditions.
Does your water taste funny? While chloramine has a muted chlorine taste, it’s still one of the first indicators that there’s something in your water. To get rid of chloramine, a water filter for your home is the best option. These can be installed at the water supply connection in your home to purify all the water going to your faucets, fixtures, and appliances.