Chlorine is a bleaching agent used to eliminate bacteria, commonly known as a chemical used in pool water as well as the public tap water system. While chlorine does serve a useful purpose, it’s also a poison – too much of it can be extremely harmful to humans. Learning more about the potential effects of chlorine, how and why it’s used in tap water, and how to recognize dangerously high levels can help you keep you and your family safe.
The Dangers of Chlorine in Your Drinking Water
Odds are, if you’ve spent even a small amount of time in swimming pools, you’ve experienced a very minor version of the potentially harmful effects of chlorine. Because it’s very easy to accidentally ingest small amounts of pool water while swimming, many people are familiar with nausea and sickly feeling that can come along with a long day at the pool – this is a direct result of ingesting the chlorinated water.
Stomachaches, vomiting, and diarrhea can all be effects of ingesting chlorine, and it can also cause dry, itchy skin. Severe chlorine poisoning can be far worse – a significant dose of liquid chlorine can be extremely toxic and even fatal to humans. Furthermore, chlorine can interact with water and its minerals to produce chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs), which have been connected to heart disease, eczema, asthma, and even cancer. For these reasons, it is critical that the correct chlorine levels are always maintained, particularly in tap and drinking water sources.
Why is Chlorine Used in Tap Water?
Considering the potentially toxic nature of elevated chlorine levels, you might be surprised to learn that chlorine is used in public tap water. However, used in small, carefully-measured doses, chlorine is highly effective at eliminating bacteria in the water, making it safe to drink and use for everyday purposes. It kills a wide range of contaminants that are found naturally in our water sources, eliminating harmful bacteria like E. coli.
The EPA has officially stated that chlorinated drinking water is safe to consume, as long as the chlorine levels are properly managed.
How Much Chlorine is in Tap Water?
According to the regulations enforced by the EPA, public water chlorine levels can legally measure up to four parts per million. However, the process for testing and chlorinating the water is left up to water treatment facilities. Unfortunately, not all facilities test often enough or accurately, which can put the public at risk of ingesting tap water with too much chlorine. Particularly for residents of communities that use mountain spring water, testing procedures can leave much to be desired – sometimes testing as infrequently as once a month.
Being aware of the signs of over-chlorinated water can help you take a proactive role in protecting yourself and your family from negative health effects and potential danger.
Warning Signs of High Chlorine Levels in Your Water
There are a few red flags you can watch for when it comes to your tap water’s chlorine levels. In the event that you notice one or more of these warning signs, you should stop drinking the water immediately and contact a professional company to request testing. If elevated chlorine levels are discovered, an expert can help make recommendations for resolution, as well as help you contact the water treatment facility and any necessary government agencies.
Here are a few warning signs to be aware of:
Your water tastes or smells like pool water.
Drinking water utilizes far lower levels of chlorine than swimming pool water. If you notice that your tap is producing water that smells or tastes like the water in the public pool, stop drinking it immediately. Regular tap water should have little to no noticeable taste of smell as the result of chlorination.
You feel ill after drinking the water.
Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are all side effects of ingesting too much chlorine.
Your skin is extremely irritated, dry, or itchy.
If you notice a change in your skin condition – especially after a shower or bath – you may want to have the chlorine levels tested.
Contact the Experts to Check Your Water’s Chlorine Levels
No homeowner wants to worry about the levels of chlorine in drinking water in their home, especially because too much chlorine in drinking water can make your family and pets ill. At Aqua Science, we pride ourselves on taking the guesswork out of providing a safe, healthy source of water for your family. Our expert team has the knowledge and tools to tackle any issue, while providing you with the necessary education and treatment solutions to improve your water quality.
Aqua Science is a locally owned and operated company with more than three decades of industry experience, and our mission has always been to provide Arizona homeowners with trustworthy service and valuable information about the technology behind our effective products. To learn more about the potential of high chlorine levels in your drinking water or for a free service estimate, contact Aqua Science today.