Water pollution news: Education Program: Drinking water contamination: What are the facts about chloramines: Chloramines center of debate in Albemarle

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No. 164

June 24th 2012


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Water pollution. Education Program: What are the facts about chloramines in our drinking water?

Article that prompted this weeks research:

Chloramines center of debate in Albemarle

Posted: Jun 21, 2012 10:43 AM EDT Updated: Jun 22, 2012 12:30 AM EDT Thursday night, people against Charlottesville’s plan to put chloramine in drinking water made their case.

A panel of experts presented data to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) on how the chemical is linked to long-term health problems.

Opponents argue chloramine doesn’t protect our water from bacteria and viruses such as E. coli and Polio. Those against it say argue the least expensive way is not the safest.

Chloramine panelist Bob Bowcock said, “The use of the chloramine as a substitute disinfectant actually causes a formation of scores more chemicals that by toxicologists’ research, thousands of times more toxic than the ones they’re trying to eliminate.”

There is a petition growing on SignOn.org, here opponents are trying to get 750 signatures. Click here to view the petition.

The RWSA is expected to make a final decision on the issue next month.

Water additive causing rise in plumbing problems

This article is courtesy of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC), a nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
The following article first appeared in The Almanac (Menlo Park, CA) on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.

Tradesman Ken Russo, who says he suffers respiratory and skin problems resulting from chloramine in the water, points to another “cause and effect” of the chemical additive: a dramatic increase in plumbing problems.

Callers desperate for help with leaks, broken pipes and busted water heaters keep his phone ringing all hours of the day, he says.

Although he prefers to work on remodeling projects, “Lately, all I’ve been doing is a lot of plumbing.”

Mr. Russo attends Citizens Concerned About Chloramine community presentations equipped with a 20-gallon water heater he uses to show the corrosive effects of chloramine.

The SFPUC acknowledges on its Web site that “the lead corrosion concern associated with chloramine is something new and unexpected both by the regulators and the industry.” And chloraminated waters “are more aggressive” than chlorine in reacting with rubbers and their derivatives.

Mr. Russo says rubber fittings and polyurethane fixtures lose their elasticity and are “more prone to cracking” because of chloramine.

“Parts are corroding and failing at an accelerated rate,” he says.

The SFPUC notes on its Web site that chloramine-resistant toilet flapper valves and washers can be purchased at hardware and plumbing supply stores.

By Renee Batti

[toggle title=” Chloramine: Toxic Showers and Baths: click” height=”auto”]

“You Get More Toxic Exposure From Taking A Shower Than From
Drinking The Same Water.”

This article is courtesy of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC), a nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

…. Summary statement from a recent study at a major U.S. University and as reported in Science News, vol. 130.

Diagram adapted from the Weekly Newsmagazine of Science, SCIENCE NEWS.Chemistry VOL 130 no. 12 Pages 177-192

In a new study, researcher Julian Andelman, of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, the National Academy of Sciences has shown that volatile chemicals present in many municipal drinking water supplies are especially toxic to people when they are exposed to them when bathing or showering. “. . .the major health threat posed by these water pollutants is far more likely to be from their inhalation as air pollutants in the home, according to preliminary data from a study Andelman and his colleagues have just reported.”

“In the past, he says, inhalation exposure to water pollutants has largely been ignored.” His data indicates that hot showers can liberate between 50 to 80 percent of the dissolved chemicals into the air. Emissions from hot baths are half as high. “(One reason, explains Andelman, is that because water droplets dispersed by a shower head have a larger surface-to volume ratio than water streaming into a bath, more of the volatiles can vaporize out).”

It is interesting to note that chloramine actually exists in three forms: monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine. The three forms constantly and rapidly shift from one form to another. “The different volatilities of the chloramines result in substantial differences in the rates of release from water: di- and tri-chloramine are released ~3 and 300 times faster than monochloramine, respectively.” (See page 3 of Chemicals in Drinking Water: Chloramine (PDF, 178 KB), by Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health. Alternate source: click here.) These chemicals vaporize easily out of the water that is heated and aerosolized. All three forms are respiratory irritants, with trichloramine being the most toxic.

Andelman points out that.. . “Although showering can be an intense source of residential exposure to water pollutants, . . . it is far from the only important source. Andelman notes that only about 5 of the 50 to 70 gallons of water used daily by the average American goes for showers. Much of the rest is used by dishwashing and laundering. “

“Though actual doses will depend on many factors–especially the level of water contamination–the study does offer clues for limiting exposure. Cold showers can reduce the vaporization of dissolved volatile chemicals by 50 percent, Andelman says. And short showers help, since each doubling in shower time quadruples the dose from accumulating gases. Finally, to limit the spread of released gases into the rest of the home, he suggests closing the bathroom door while bathing and exhausting the room air outdoors.

“Science News, Vol. 130 no. 12, pgs. 177-192, cited by CCAC in this report.


[toggle title=” Scotish center for infection: chloramines: pgs 2-6: click” height=”auto”] This article is courtesy of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC), a nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

[/toggle] [toggle title=” EPA data base for chloramines in drinking water: click” height=”auto”]

Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. This type of disinfection is known as secondary disinfection. Chloramines have been used by water utilities for almost 90 years, and their use is closely regulated. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines. Water that contains chloramines and meets EPA regulatory standards is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses.

Many utilities use chlorine as their secondary disinfectant; however, in recent years, some of them changed their secondary disinfectant to chloramines to meet disinfection byproduct regulations. In order to address questions that have been raised by consumers about this switch, EPA scientists and experts have answered 29 of the most frequently asked questions about chloramines. We have also worked with a risk communication expert to help us organize complex information and make it easier for us to express current knowledge.

The question and answer format takes a step-wise approach to communicate complex information to a wide variety of consumers who may have different educational backgrounds or interest in this topic. Each question is answered by three key responses, which are written at an approximately sixth grade reading level. In turn, each key response is supported by three more detailed pieces of information, which are written at an approximately 12th grade reading level. More complex information is provided in the Additional Supporting Information section, which includes links to documents and resources that provide additional technical information.

EPA continues to research drinking water disinfectants and expects to periodically evaluate and possibly update the questions and answers about chloramines when new information becomes available.

You may wish to view each question separately by clicking on the highlighted questions below or may wish to view them as one document.

Basic information about chloramines and drinking water disinfection

Water systems, disinfection byproducts, and the use of monochloramine

Chloramines-related research

Common health questions related to monochloramine


More information about your drinking water

EPA strongly encourages people to learn more about their drinking water. Your water bill or telephone book’s government listings are a good starting point for local information. Water systems have several different choices when it comes to disinfection. To find out if chloramines are used in your community, contact your local water system.

EPA requires all community water systems to prepare an annual consumer confidence report (CCR) (sometimes called a water quality report) for their customers. The CCR lists the level of contaminants that have been detected over a certain period of time and shows how these levels compare with EPA’s drinking water regulations. Some water suppliers have posted their annual reports on EPA’s Website. If you have not received this annual report, and it is not posted on EPA’s Website, you may request it by calling your water system.

More information about chloramines and disinfection byproducts

More information about health effects and drinking water disinfection from EPA is available in the following locations:

To reach EPA for more information:

2007 Version of Chloramines Q&A’s

EPA has updated the previous version of the Chloramines Q&A’s in order to better communicate complex issues to a wider audience. EPA expects to continue to review and possiblyupdate the Q&A’s on a periodic basis or as new information becomes available

[/toggle] [toggle title=” Chloramine data by Wikipedia: click” height=”auto”]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: This page was last modified on 23 June 2012 at 15:35. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of use for details. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Chloramines are derivatives of ammonia by substitution of one, two or three hydrogen atoms with chlorine atoms.[1] Monochloramine is an inorganic compound with the formula NH2Cl. It is an unstable colourless liquid at its melting point of -66° temperature, but it is usually handled as a dilute aqueous solution where it is used as a disinfectant. The term chloramine also refers to a family of organic compounds with the formulas R2NCl and RNCl2 (R is an organic group). Dichloramine, NHCl2, and nitrogen trichloride, NCl3, are also well known.

Uses and chemical reactions

NH2Cl is a key intermediate in the traditional synthesis of hydrazine.

Monochloramine oxidizes sulfhydryls and disulfides in the same manner as HClO,[4] but only possesses 0.4% of the biocidal effect of HClO.[5]

Reduction of organic chloramines

Chloramines are often an unwanted side product of oxidation reactions of organic compounds (with amino groups) with bleach. The reduction of chloramines back into amines can be carried out through a mild hydride donor. Sodium borohydride will reduce chloramines, but this reaction is greatly sped up with acid catalysis.

Uses in water treatment

See also: Chloramination

NH2Cl is commonly used in low concentrations as a secondary disinfectant in municipal water distribution systems as an alternative to chlorination. This application is increasing. Chlorine (sometimes referred to as free chlorine) is being displaced by chloramine, which is much more stable and does not dissipate from the water before it reaches consumers. NH2Cl also has a very much lower, however still present, tendency than free chlorine to convert organic materials into chlorocarbons such as chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. Such compounds have been identified as carcinogens and in 1979 the United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ began regulating their levels in U.S. drinking water. Furthermore, water treated with chloramine lacks the distinct chlorine odour of the gaseous treatment and so has improved taste. In swimming pools, chloramines are formed by the reaction of free chlorine with organic substances. Chloramines, compared to free chlorine, are both less effective as a sanitizer and more irritating to the eyes of swimmers. When swimmers complain of eye irritation from “too much chlorine” in a pool, the problem is typically a high level of chloramines.[citation needed] Pool test kits designed for use by homeowners are sensitive to both free chlorine and chloramines, which can be misleading.[citation needed]

Chloramine tap water filled pool...COLOR?New swimming pool initially filled with chloramine-treated tap water.

Chloramine-treated water has a greenish cast; the source of the colour is uncertain. Pure water by contrast normally is blue.[citation needed] This greenish color may be observed by filling a white polyethylene bucket with chloraminated tap water and comparing it to chloramine-free water such as distilled water or a sample from a swimming pool.

Health risks

Adding chloramine to the water supply can increase exposure to lead in drinking water, especially in areas with older housing; this exposure can result in increased lead levels in the bloodstream and can pose a significant health risk.[6]

There is also evidence that exposure to chloramine can contribute to respiratory problems, including asthma, among swimmers.[7] Respiratory problems related to chloramine exposure are common and prevalent among competitive swimmers.[8]

Chloramine use, together with chlorine dioxide, ozone, and ultraviolet, have been described as public health concerns and an example of the outcome of poorly implemented environmental regulation.[citation needed] These methods of disinfection decrease the formation of regulated byproducts such as alkyl chloroforms, which has led to their widespread adoption. However, they can increase the formation of a number of less regulated cytotoxic and genotoxic byproducts, some of which pose greater health risks than the regulated chemicals,[9] causing such diseases as cancer, kidney disease, thyroid damage,[10] and birth defects.[11]

Removing chloramine from water

Chloramine can be removed from tap water by treatment with superchlorination (10 ppm or more of free chlorine, such as from a dose of sodium hypochlorite bleach or pool sanitizer) while maintaining a pH of about 7 (such as from a dose of hydrochloric acid). Hypochlorous acid from the free chlorine strips the ammonia from the chloramine, and the ammonia outgasses from the surface of the bulk water. This process takes about 24 hours for normal tap water concentrations of a few ppm of chloramine. Residual free chlorine can then be removed by exposure to bright sunlight for about 4 hours.

Boiling the water for 20 minutes will remove chloramine and ammonia. Additionally, many foods and drinks rapidly neutralize chloramine without the necessity of boiling (e.g., tea, coffee, chicken stock, orange juice, etc.). SFPUC determined that 1000 mg of Vitamin C (tablets purchased in a grocery store, crushed and mixed in with the bath water) remove chloramine completely in a medium size bathtub without significantly depressing pH. Shower attachments containing Vitamin C can be purchased on the Internet, as well as effervescent Vitamin C bath tablets. [12]

Situations where monochloramine is removed from water supplies

Many animals are sensitive to chloramine and it must be removed from water given to many animals in zoos. Aquarium owners remove the chloramine from their tap water because it is toxic to fish. Aging the water for a few days removes chlorine but not the more stable chloramine, which can be neutralised using products available at pet stores.

Chloramine must also be removed from the water prior to use in kidney dialysis machines, as it would come in contact with the bloodstream across a permeable membrane. However, since chloramine is neutralized by the digestive process, kidney dialysis patients can still safely drink chloramine-treated water.

Home brewers use reducing agents such as sodium metabisulfite or potassium metabisulfite to remove chloramine from brewing fermented beverages. Chloramine, like chlorine, can be removed by boiling. However the boiling time required to remove the chloramine is much longer than that of chlorine.[13] Residual sodium can cause off flavors in beer (See Brewing, Michael Lewis) so potassium metabisulfite is preferred.

Chloramine can be removed from bathwater and birthing tubs by adding 1000 mg of vitamin C (as the ascorbic acid form) to a medium size bathtub (about 40 gallons of water).[14]

Organic chloramines

A variety of organic chloramines are known and proven useful in organic synthesis. One example is N-chloromorpholine ClN(CH2CH2)2O, N-chloropiperidine, and N-chloroquinuclidinium chloride.[15]


US EPA regulations limit chloramine concentration to 4 parts per million (ppm). A typical target level in US public water supplies is 3 ppm. In order to meet EPA regulated limits on halogenated disinfection by-products, many utilities are switching from chlorination to chloramination. While chloramination produces fewer total halogenated disinfection by-products, it produces greater concentrations of unregulated iodinated disinfection by-products and N-nitrosodimethylamine.[16][17] Both iodinated disinfection by-products and N-nitrosodimethylamine have been shown to be genotoxic.[17]


  1. ^ Clause 2.4 Chloramines ISO 7393-2
  2. ^ Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. “Inorganic Chemistry” Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.
  3. ^ Fair, G. M., J. C. Morris, S. L. Chang, I. Weil, and R. P. Burden. 1948. The behavior of chlorine as a water disinfectant. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 40:1051-1061.
  4. ^ Jacangelo, J. G., V. P. Olivieri, and K. Kawata. 1987. Oxidation of sulfhydryl groups by monochloramine. Water Res. 21:1339-1344.
  5. ^ Morris, J. C. 1966. Future of chlorination. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 58:1475-1482.
  6. ^ Marie Lynn Miranda et. al, “Changes in Blood Lead Levels Associated with Use of Chloramines in Water Treatment Systems”, Environ Health Perspect., 2007 February; 115(2): 221–225.
  7. ^ Bougault, Valérie, et. al, “The Respiratory Health of Swimmers”, Sports Medicine, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2009, pp. 295-312(18).
  8. ^ “The determinants of prevalence of health complaints among young competitive swimmers”, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol. 80, No. 1, Oct. 2006.
  9. ^ Stuart W. Krasner, “The formation and control of emerging disinfection by-products of health concern”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Oct. 13, 2009, 367:4077-4095.
  10. ^ By Dr. Winn Parker, “Chloramine Causes Collateral Health Damage”
  11. ^ Choramine Info Center “What is Chloramine”
  12. ^ “QUESTIONS REGARDING CHLORINE AND CHLORAMINE REMOVAL FROM WATER”. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  13. ^ “Experiments in Removing Chlorine and Chloramine From Brewing Water”
  14. ^ San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, “Questions Regarding Chlorine and Chloramine Removal From Water (Updated August 2010)”
  15. ^ Lindsay Smith, J. R.; McKeer, L. C.; Taylor, J. M. “4-Chlorination of Electron-Rich Benzenoid Compounds: 2,4-Dichloromethoxybenzene” Organic Syntheses, CollectedVolume 8, p.167 (1993)..http://www.orgsyn.org/orgsyn/pdfs/CV8P0167.pdf describes several N-chloramines
  16. ^ Krasner, Stuart W.; Weinberg, Howard S.; Richardson, Susan D.; Pastor, Salvador J.; Chinn, Russell; Sclimenti, Michael J.; Onstad, Gretchen D.; Thruston, Alfred D. (2006). “Occurrence of a New Generation of Disinfection Byproducts”. Environmental Science & Technology 40 (23) (23): 7175–7185. DOI:10.1021/es060353j.
  17. ^ a b Richardson, Susan D.; Plewa, Michael J.; Wagner, Elizabeth D.; Schoeny, Rita; DeMarini, David M. (2007). “Occurrence, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity of regulated and emerging disinfection by-products in drinking water: A review and roadmap for research”. Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research 636 (1–3): 178–242. DOI:10.1016/j.mrrev.2007.09.001. PMID 17980649.

External links

[/toggle] [toggle title=”see how you can support our mission” height=”auto”]

Save the Water™ Education Program recommends the following organization for South Central Pennsylvania Chloramine Issues

[toggle title=”Chloramine Info Center: please click to see who we are” height=”auto”] [justify]

About Us

The Chloramine Info Center is a grassroots organization of over 2,000 citizens of Sourth Central Pennsylvania who oppose the introduction of CHLORAMINE into our drinking water. Members of this group cross political, age and economical lines.

We have diligently researched the issues presented in this website. Every fact presented on this website has been validated by at least one expert in the field of science or water management. We bring you documentation, peer reviewed scientific studies and data from EPA, DEP and American Water Company and their subsidiaries to support our position.

We are committed to stop the introduction of CHLORAMINE in our water systems before it is begun and to assist other areas in having it removed from their systems. We invite dialogue and information. We promote a resolution that will benefit both the water company and their customers.

We are not radical activists looking for a cause. We are, senior citizens, cancer survivors, young parents, grandparents, pet owners, fisherman, citizens concerned about our health, our environment, limited water resources, and our children’s future.

We are asking for clean, safe water and we demand an honest and accountable water company.

There is no fee to join our group. We have petitions for you to sign IF YOU WISH.

We gratefully accept donations to help us with costs of copying materials for meetings, maintaining a website and paying experts when needed. We have had the gracious assistance of several attorney’s who have donated their time thus far representing us at the DEP, the PUC and in appeals courts. The experts we have consulted have asked little to nothing so far for their assistance. However, we cannot expect to continue to receive their time pro bono in these tough economic times.

The Chloramine Information Center will gladly speak to ANY group, whether it be 5 people or 500. We will give a presentation to fit your schedule from 20 minutes to 2 hours, answer questions and provide materials.


In early July 2007, The Pennsylvania American Water Company (PAWC) announced in a flyer mailed to customers that on August 12, 2007 they would be changing their water disinfection system, from chlorine to chloramines. On July 26TH PAWC held two public meetings to explain the process and answer questions. Many concerned customers came to those meetings with research studies and questions as to the health concerns of this chemical compound. Customers questions were not answered and the water company became irritated and disrespectful toward its customers in attendance. After further research and the inability to engage in a respectful dialogue with any agency involved, many citizens stood together to collectively question the use of “chloramines” and the companies’ reasoning for switching to them with such little advanced notice.

We have engaged the local municipalities in this discussion and at least five of them have supported us with letters to PAWC and PUC to delay any introduction of chloramine until further research is done on the health issues. Letters have been written to Governor Rendell, the secretary of DEP, the Department of Health and our state and federal representatives.

The Yellow Breeches Watershed Association and the Conodoguinet Watershed Association have gone on the record to support an indefinite delay in the use of chloramine in order to research alternatives that would not be hazardous to fish, other aquatic wildlife and the environment.

Members from this group have filed legal actions against PAWC at the DEP (for failure to provide adequate and reasonable notice), the PUC (challenging the reasonableness of the change in disinfection, the reasonableness of notice by PAWC to customers, and the suitability of water for household uses) and are currently drafting a complaint for the Court of Common Pleas.

The DEP case has been denied by the Environmental Hearing Board of the DEP. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the DEP EHB. We have filed a Petition for Reconsideration or Reargument. We are awaiting a ruling on this Petition.

The PUC case regarding Chloramine is before the Administrative Law Judge for a Recommendation. Once the Recommendation is filed, we will have an opportunity to file exceptions to be considered by the Commission. Should the Commission rule against us, we would have the opportunity to appeal that ruling to the Commonwealth Court.

We were not permitted to address health issues to the DEP because the comment period on the permits had expired in 2005, long before any of us were given notice about the anticipated change in disinfection. We were not permitted to address health issues at the PUC because the PUC declared such issues to be the sole jurisdiction of DEP. So, according to the administrative offices of Pennsylvania, the consumers have no recourse regarding health issues of chloramine.

Our research has continued throughout the past year and a half and we have added books, studies and documentary films to our library of materials. We have found NOTHING to dispute the information upon which we have relied.

The contents of this site include peer reviewed scientific articles and studies. every statement made on this site has been verified by either a professor of environmental engineering, a professor of public health, a scientist on the study, a medical physician or other professional in the field of interest. We have provided sites to studies and websites with further information, however we do not have control over the accuracy of their content. We vouch only for the information contained on this website.

The Chloramine Info Center is a grassroots organization of over 2,000 citizens of South Central Pennsylvania who oppose the introduction of CHLORAMINE into our drinking water. Members of this group cross political, age and economical lines.

We have diligently researched the issues presented in this website. Every fact presented on this website has been validated by at least one expert in the field of science or water management. We bring you documentation, peer reviewed scientific studies and data from EPA, DEP and American Water Company and their subsidiaries to support our position.

We are committed to stop the introduction of CHLORAMINE in our water systems before it is begun and to assist other areas in having it removed from their systems. We invite dialogue and information. We promote a resolution that will benefit both the water company and their customers.[/justify]


Chloramine Info Center


Susan K. Pickford @ attnysusankpickford@msn.com.[/toggle]

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