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Written by: Donavan Jones on December 11, 2018

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Why Is There Chlorine In Tap Water

People had long battled a variety of health problems that were spread through water before chlorine was added to tap water.

This included diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. When scientist discovered that chlorine is an effective disinfectant, that changed everything.


Chlorine was added to public water supplies to kill off disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans.

These pathogens commonly grow in water reservoirs, on walls of water mains and in storage tanks.

Chlorine has been accepted as the savior against cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Chlorines’ disinfectant qualities have allowed communities and whole cities to grow and prosper by providing disease-free tap water.

senior drinking water

Table Of Contents:

Disinfecting With Chlorine Has A Price

According to the EPA, Americans now are consuming 300-600 times the amount of chlorine that is safe to ingest.

Why is chlorine in drinking water so dangerous?

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are formed when chlorine has been introduced into the water supply and reacts with the other naturally occurring elements.

Are they harmful?

Yes, these by-products produce free radicals in the body, which trigger cell damage. They are highly carcinogenic, even in small amounts.

THMs have been linked to a wide range of human health problems ranging from asthma and eczema to bladder cancer and heart disease.

According to a report from the U.S. Council of Environmental Quality, the cancer risk for people who drink chlorinated water is up to 93% higher than for those who drink water that does not contain chlorine.

How Much Chlorine Is In Tap Water

confused man

The EPA requires treated tap water to have a chlorine level that is detectable.


The EPA thinks it will help prevent contamination. They allow the tap water to have up to 4 parts per million of chlorine.

Wow, that sounds like a lot!

The EPA states the is no known or expected health risk of chlorine in your water at this level.

So what’s the big deal if chlorine cannot affect me at low levels?

As mentioned before, chlorine can react to other naturally occurring elements in your water to form toxins called trihalomethanes (THMs).

THMs can cause cell damage and they are highly carcinogenic, even in small amounts.

Is Chlorine In Tap Water Bad For Me

The cancer risk for people who drink chlorinated water is up to 93% higher than for those whose water doesn’t contain any chlorine according to a report from the US Council of Environmental Quality.

That’s a huge difference!

Is Chlorine Bad To Breathe


Although these products are safe when you are handling them correctly, chlorine is poisonous and swallowing or inhaling it can cause you harm.

Chlorine poisoning is a serious medical emergency.

I thought the EPA regulated the chlorine in drinking water.

You are right but think about it.

Each time you drink a glass of water you get a dose of chlorine.

You get another dose when you wash your dishes and another dose when you take a shower or bath.

There are so many different times you will use water throughout the day.

Here are some other ways you can get some chlorine into your body.

  • Washing your hands
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Washing your baby
  • Washing your car
  • Swimming in your pool

What Does Chlorine Do To Your Body

Chlorine is primarily absorbed through inhalation but it also can be absorbed through your skin.

At low levels, chlorine inhalation causes irritation to the skin and eyes along with a sore throat or a cough. At higher levels, inhalation causes symptoms of asthma such as wheezing and tightness of the chest.

What Kind Of Chlorine Is Used In Drinking Water

Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill off germs. 

To achieve safe levels of chlorine in your drinking water there are different processes that are being used.

Chlorine is available as a compressed elemental gas, sodium hypochlorite solution (NaOCl) or solid calcium hypochlorite (Ca(OCl)2 1

Chlorine Affects Your Immune System

It’s no secret that chlorine has the ability to kill pathogenic bacteria.

But did you know that chlorine will destroy our beneficial bacteria too?

It is estimated that 70% of your immune systems beneficial bacteria is effected when chlorine is introduced to the human body.

Scientists have found that a lack of these beneficial bacteria is linked to:

  • Obesity
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Autism

Bacteria in water

What Can I Do

Chlorine plays an important role in protecting water from harmful pathogens.

When it isn’t filtered out, it can also do real harm to your health.

Carbon filters remove most if not all of the chlorine and chloramine contaminants in tap water.


Chlorine treatment does not guarantee that by the time your drinking water comes out of your home’s faucet it is free of unhealthy microorganisms.

On occasion, dangerous bacteria such as e-coli and coliform are still found in chlorinated tap water.

What, how?

Typically when this occurs it is due to a problem related to the cities treatment system itself or when the water travels through the cities water pipes that go to your home.

Thus, relying on chlorine disinfection alone is a false guarantee that the water from your faucet is safe to drink.

At minimal exposure to these types of bacteria can cause symptoms similar to the flu, such as headaches, diarrhea, cramps, nausea or vomiting.

It is highly recommended to use a tap water filter at the point of use to ensure adequate filtration of unhealthy microorganisms, as well as many other contaminants that could end up in your drinking water.

Your water can cause a host of other problems for you when chlorine is not filtered out properly.

Contact us when you are ready to when the battle against chlorine.

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Donavan Jones

About Donavan Jones

Donavan Jones is the marketing manager at Florida Water Analysis. He's an expert in inbound marketing and lead generation. In his spare time, Donavan is developing a video game with his friends and family.


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