May 7, 2014

Chloramine is being used more and more widely as an alternative disinfectant to chlorine.  It actually consists of chlorine with ammonia added.

There are a number of health risks associated with the byproducts of chloramines.  One such concern is that chloramines can result in an increase of lead in drinking water.  This risk is increased particularly in areas with older housing.  It appears that chloramines can leach lead from solder, fixtures and pipes.

Lead is a poison, and its ingestion can have serious health implications.  This is why it is no longer used so frequently as it was in paints, gasoline and other consumer products.

Medline Plus reports the following:

Possible complications include:

  • Behavior or attention problems
  • Failure at school
  • Hearing problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Reduced IQ
  • Slowed body growth

The symptoms of lead poisoning may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping (usually the first sign of a high, toxic dose of lead poison)
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)
  • Low appetite and energy
  • Reduced sensations

There has not been sufficient research to indicate that it is safe to use chloramines in our water supply.  There are indicators that there are considerable health risks.

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