Chlorine is added to water because it keeps it clean by killing bacteria and germs. It is quite effective since it disinfects the water and makes it pure again. Chlorine is also quite affordable, which makes it easy to use for large quantities of water. These days, thousands of people drink chlorinated water every day. However, according to research, drinking chlorinated water can increase the risk of cancer by 93%. Learn all about drinking chlorinated water and why it is bad for you by reading this article.
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Is Chlorine Water Safe to Drink?
Chlorine is useful in disinfecting water, which is why it is a little hard to recognize the harm that it can do to the body if it is consumed in large amounts. Since most water that is consumed by you has a very low concentration of chlorine, there is no cause for immediate concern. However, over time, chlorine can have hazardous reactions so it is best to stop drinking chlorinated water.
Chlorinated water can also smell or taste like bleach, which entirely depends on your chlorine water filtration plant. You may not always be able to control the type of water you drink outside of your house so make sure to drink de-chlorinated water inside the house.
Why is Chlorine Added to Water?
Adding chlorine to water started in the late 19th century. Chlorine was added to eliminate different kinds of bacteria and germs from drinking water. These germs would further spread diseases like dysentery, typhoid and cholera. When it was discovered that even a small amount of chlorine can completely disinfect water, adding chlorine to water became popular. Today, chlorination is the most popular method of treating water.
Chlorine Health Effects
Consuming chlorine through water can lead to serious side effects. In children, chlorine mostly induces asthma attacks but in adults, it can trigger serious long-term health issues. Here’s how chlorine makes water dangerous: when chlorine is mixed with even a small amount of oxygen (or any organic compound), it releases dangerous by-products like Trihalomethanes. These harmful products can roam freely in the body and can trigger your cells. These by-products are also extremely carcinogenic and if they stay in your system for too long, they can cause serious health complications.
Besides causing cell damage, too much chlorine can also have other effects on your body. It can cause reproductive problems and heart attacks. Constant consumption of chlorine can also seriously damage your immune system and make you more vulnerable to gastrointestinal cancer. Chlorinated water should never be consumed by pregnant women since it can cause heart problems, birth defects and cleft palate in fetuses.
Chlorinated water can also cause an increase in allergies and makes you prone to getting sick easily. This is because chlorine is used to disinfect and kill bacteria in water, but when it is ingested by the body, it does the same to our immune system. A huge amount of chlorine can easily destroy beneficial gut bacteria, which can make you vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. Beneficial gut bacteria protect your body from diabetes, obesity, bowel syndrome, asthma, colorectal cancer and even autism. An unhealthy gut can also cause constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and even diarrhea and gas.
How to Test for Chlorine in Water
There are many ways for chlorination testing. Here are a few:
Using Chlorine Test Strips
Perhaps the easiest method to test the chlorine levels in your water is by using chlorine strips. Just like drug or urine testing, chlorine strips help identify the quantity or presence of chlorine in a substance, in this case; water. You can do this at home – just fill a mug with tap water and dip the chlorine strip in it. Read the strip manual to see how long you need to keep it submerged in the water for accurate results. If the strip changes color according to the chart you have, that means your water contains chlorine.
The benefit of using chlorine test strips is that they are quick to give results, are easily available and are extremely cheap. However, there are better ways to identify chlorine’s presence in water than using test strips.
Using Chlorine Test Solutions
Another way to determine whether you are drinking chlorinated water is by using chlorine test solutions. These come in liquid form in small bottles and can be used very easily. Simply take some water in a mug and add some of this liquid to it. Whatever color it results in, you can use the chart to see whether your water has chlorine or not.
Using Chlorine Testing Tablets
Just like liquid solutions, chlorine testing tablets are very simple to use. Simply fill a small container with some water and then mix the tablet in it. Let the tablet submerge for a few seconds and then use the color test chart to determine whether the water contains chlorine or not. There are four kinds of chlorine testing tablets since they determine different variations of chlorine, so make sure to know which one will help you the most. DPD1 helps you determine whether the water has residual chlorine, DPD2 will tell you if there is any monochloramine present, DPD3 is made for combined chlorine and DPD4 helps determine total chlorine.
How to Get Chlorine Out of Water
After you have made sure that your water does have chlorine, the next step is to remove chlorine from the water. There are a few simple ways to do that. You can fill a huge container with water and then leave it open for 24 hours. This way, all the chlorine will automatically evaporate from the water. You can also boil the water to remove chlorine. However, the most effective way to remove chlorine from water is by filtering your water before you drink it.
It is essential to know if your water is chlorine-free before drinking it. Chlorine is harmful for your health if it is consumed in large amounts. You can use the methods mentioned above to test for chlorine in water and remove it accordingly.