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Chloramines. What are they?


Chloramine is a more recent water treatment additive that is now being used in many water treatment facilities. It is a combination of gasses (chlorine and ammonia) used in addition to or in place of chlorine because its effects are longer lasting. However, numerous difficulties have been identified with the use of chloramine as a water disinfectant:
Chloramine remains in the water longer than chlorine-it does not evaporate when left in the open as chlorine does

  • Chloramine is toxic to fish, and it cannot be removed by boiling.
  • Chloramine reacts with (deteriorates) certain types of rubber hose and gaskets, such as those used on washing machines and hot water heaters.
  • Chloramine reacts with lead and lead solder in plumbing, causing toxic levels of lead to be released into drinking water.
  • Chloramine is potentially lethal to kidney dialysis patients.

The use of chloramine as a water disinfectant can lead to the generation of iodoacid by-products-the most potent genetic toxin of mammalian cells. This was discovered recently by research scientist Michel Plewa.

Plewa states, “When chloramines were put into use in Washington DC, lead levels 3,200 times EPA’s “action level” were found in drinking water. When several cities in California switched to the use of chloramine, kidney dialysis patients suffered serious consequences”.

Replacing chlorine with chloramine is like jumping from the fire into the frying pan, yet many large cities have already made the switch. You can read more about the public outcry against chloramine in this American Free Press at on line article.

Carbon filters have a very limited capacity for chloramine removal-it takes much more carbon and much more contact time to do the job. If you were to use a simple carbon filter to remove chloramine, you would have to replace your filter so often that it would not become economically feasible. A reverse osmoses (RO) system cannot be counted on to remove chloramine either. The filter membranes in a typical RO system do not filter out chloramine. Most RO systems have a carbon pre-filter, but that will not last long in the presence of chloramine.

Chloramine removal requires a special type of catalytic carbon filter. Most of these devise are tanks designed to filter the incoming water for the whole house.  Vitamin C has also been shown to neutralize chloramine, “but this method is only realistic for smaller application such as shower filters or countertop systems. The above methods are the only methods available at this time to remove or neutralize chloramine.”

Do we have catalytic carbon? Of course we do!