MercolaWatch: Overreacting to chloramine in water

In late November, Joe Mercola posted an article discussing the addition of chloramine in drinking water and its potential effects. Chloramine is a compound sometimes added (going back as far as 1917) as a disinfectant in municipal water supplies during storage and transportation to people’s homes. While the EPA considers chloramine to be safe for this use, some people have reported skin irritation and rashes. As with many of his articles, Mercola’s tone and content convey significantly more danger than the actual evidence seems to call for. This article will discuss more details from sources he cites, clarify some points as well as present what seems to be the official stance of the EPA on chloramine.

Primary and Secondary Disinfection

Based on EPA regulations, municipal water supplies make use of two complementary phases of disinfection. The first phase is intended to quickly kill most bacteria, viruses, etc as soon as the water comes in from its source. This is usually done using chlorine, but some water systems actually use chloramine in this phase. When water is being stored and transported to people’s homes, “secondary” disinfection is required to keep the water clean. This is where chloramine comes in because of its ability to reside longer in the water and so make it all the way to the system end points. Chloramine’s ability to form a residual disinfectant in the water is not an undesirable side effect but the reason for it being used in the first place. As the EPA puts it (see Q3 in the “Questions and Answers” document in the references):

Secondary disinfection provides longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers.

• Secondary disinfection maintains water quality by killing potentially harmful organisms that may get in water as it moves through pipes

• Monochloramine may be more useful than chlorine in killing certain potentially harmful organisms in pipes such as those that cause Legionnaire’s disease.

The usage of chloramine as a disinfectant (primary or secondary) in municipal water supplies is not a new idea that is sneakily being foisted on an unsuspecting public. It has been in long use in America. According to the American Water Works Association, Denver has used chloramine since 1917, Portland 1924, Boston area 1932, etc. While this does not prove that chloramine is safe, it does demonstrate its long use and it stands to reason that it would have become clear if those cities had higher-than-normal cancer and other health effects compared to cities not using chloramine in any capacity. In fact, as Joe Mercola points out, 20% of Americans already have chloraminated tap water. The article implies this is a bad thing, but I would again say that this just means that it has been a part of our water supply for quite a while with no apparent ill effects.

Chloramines May Raise Your Water’s Level of Toxic Unregulated Disinfection Byproducts?


If you receive municipal water that is treated with chlorine or chloramines, toxic disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form when these disinfectants react with natural organic matter … Already, it’s known that trihalomethanes (THMs), one of the most common DBPs, are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They’ve also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, such as spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, and congenital malformations, even at lower levels.

In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Stage 1 Disinfection Byproducts Rule, which required water treatment systems to reduce the formation of DBPs…but what is less publicized is that compared to chlorine, water treated with monochloramine … may contain higher concentrations of unregulated disinfection byproducts – the risks of which are unknown

I’m not sure it’s clear from the quote, but the reason for switching to chloramine from chlorine is to lower the incidence of regulated DBPs in the water.

As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as “Cancer Group B” carcinogens. The closest thing that exists is International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Group 2B, which is for chemicals that are “possibly carcinogenic” to humans (2A is for “probably” and 1 is for “definitely”). The only THM listed in the classification for 2B is Bromodichloromethane (which EPA sets limits for), two of the others are in Group 3 (the same group with caffeine), which means they are “unclassified”. To say that THMs as a whole are “Group B” carcinogens seems inaccurate unless there is some other source of “Group B” carcinogens other than the IARC.

Here Mercola links to the answer 23 to one of the EPA’s FAQs on chloramine, which does in fact contain essentially that exact text about unregulated byproducts. So first thing to note is that the EPA is not trying to hide this information. The second thing to note is that the EPA also references other questions to get more details (7,9,19). More importantly, they discuss their Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule program (UCMR) in the FAQ, unfortunately with some broken links, but the proper ones can be found here. Every five years they have water systems throughout the country report back on amounts of the unregulated byproducts (in addition to being required to report any findings to customers). While Mercola mentions the 1998, Stage 1 DBP rule, in 2006 the EPA released their Stage 2 DBP rules, which “focuses on public health protection by limiting exposure to DBPs, specifically total trihalomethanes (TTHM) and five haloacetic acids (HAA5), which can form in water through disinfectants used to control microbial pathogens.” So the EPA is well aware of trihalomethanes and their potential dangers and is actively monitoring for them. And as the EPA states in the very page (Question 23) that Mercola referenced in his discussion of unregulated DBP,

The EPA believes that water disinfected with monochloramine that meets regulatory standards poses no known or anticipated adverse health effects,including cancer

The point is to kill viruses and other pathogens that we know cause harm. As will many interventions of this sort, it is a matter of risk vs benefit. And this is why the EPA does so closely monitor the levels, set new standards, and continue to research.

Are higher levels of lead linked to chloramine?

While I think that Mercola over-blames chloramine for the increased lead and oversimplifies the cause, I have to concede that the core point he makes in his section on lead is mostly true. It does seem that when switching from chlorine to chloramine (especially long term high levels of chlorine), there is increased risk of lead contamination in homes that contain older lead-containing pipes (generally those built before 1975 and that have not been replaced). I have left the references in place however at the bottom (CDC document on lead and Blood Lead Levels, Question 27 in the “Questions & Answers” from the EPA).

The CDC does point out that any time there are lead pipes, there may still be lead contamination greater than desired lead levels, even with proper corrosion control. Currently utilities only have to replace the lines they own, and offer to replace, but not pay for, lead lines they do not own. The CDC recommends that utilities bear the burden of full replacement of any lead lines.

Are residents voicing concerns over chloramine in the face of weak studies?

In 2007, The Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects (EHHE) of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) was asked to investigate complaints of skin irritations and rashes in the Champlain Water District (CWD) of Vermont following the switch from chlorine to chloramine as a secondary disinfectant. A team from the CDC and EPA was sent to handle the investigation. Their report points out the following about local influence (emphasis mine):

…the local chapter of People Concerned about Chloramine (PCAC) had implemented a mass media campaign prior to our arrival…distributed approximately 10,000 flyers by going door to door and approaching individuals “on the street” and in grocery stores. One report stated an individual with visible skin problems was approached by a member of PCAC in the grocery store and was told the source of their skin problem was the chloramine in the tap water

Field investigators observed PCAC members coaching survey respondents (many of whom are PCAC members) prior to the meeting on Wednesday. In one case, a PCAC member was present during the home visit and prompted the respondent to provide specific answers to our questions.

Based on these influences and biases these results can not be interpreted as representing the rates of symptoms, health conditions, or complaints of the overall community.

So while there were people who reported skin irritation that they believe was caused by chloramine, the report points out that the sampling was very biased, and it seems possible that many of the residents who reported issues were influenced by the PCAC. Reading the notes (which Mercola links to and paraphrases a single line from) of the committee meeting of the group that went to Vermont makes for interesting reading, mostly due to its general tone that the issue of chloramine is more about communication than toxicology. It is mostly a set of Powerpoint slides embedded in the PDF with discussion notes. One slide points out that chloramine is associated with lower bladder cancer versus chlorine, but some evidence of carcinogenity in female rats (but not male rats, and not mice of either gender). They also discuss swimming pool exposure to trichloramines (not monochloramines which are what are used in drinking water).

Mercola again:

…Albemarle County in Central Virginia, which dropped the consideration of chloramines after negative public feedback — and is now looking at the use of granular-activated carbon as a secondary water disinfectant.

This is true, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) actually has an interesting page with an overview of water treatment, as well as the history of their decision to use chloramine and then switching to granulated-activated carbon (GAC) after public feedback. It should be noted, however, that the decision not to use chloramine was not based on the scientific evidence, but on the public demand. This means that the additional costs of GAC will be passed on to the customers whether or not they take issue with the use of chloramine.

Is chloramine difficult to remove from water?

Chloramine cannot be removed by quick boiling your water or letting it sit out in an open container … Adding fruit, such as slices of peeled orange, to a 1-gallon water pitcher, which will help neutralize chloramine in about 30 minutes… Dissolving a 1,000-mg vitamin C tablet into your bath water, which will neutralize the chloramine in an average-size bathtub

Vitamin C will indeed neutralize residual chloramine, if you decide it is something you are concerned about. While a “quick boil” won’t remove chloramine, a 20 minute gentle boil will, as well as most cooking uses for the water. Additionally any thing that would be used to remove chlorine will also remove chloramine. But again, as the SF Water authority puts it when discussing usage of Vitamin C: “The removal of either chlorine or chloramine from drinking water is not necessary for public health”.


Chemicals are always a complex topic to discuss because our human instinct is that we want something that removes all the dangers but is 100% safe (i.e. to “have our cake and eat it to”). It certainly cannot be claimed that the addition of chloramine to drinking water is without any effects. Its purpose is to kill off harmful pathogens, so it certainly could have harmful health effects at high concentrations. But the EPA places strict limits on the amount that can be used as for secondary disinfection purposes and they believe it is safe. Chloramine has been in continuous use for nearly a century in some areas (Denver for example) with no apparent major negative health effects. There are no doubt people who have skin irritation or respiratory effects, the same can be said for nearly any chemical. The benefits for safety seem to provide a good compromise and there are methods to remove residual chloramine once it makes it into the home. It is my view that articles like Mercola’s unnecessarily scare people away and could lead to higher cost water for no apparent scientific reason.

1. American Water Works Association. "History of monochloramine use". Visited Dec 3, 2012.
2. Illinois America Water. "Frequently Asked Questions about Chloramination". Visited Dec 3, 2012.
3. US EPA. "Chloramines in Drinking Water". Visited Dec 4, 2012.
4. US EPA. "Chloramine Q&A's". Visited Dec 3, 2012
5. CDC. "Lead in Drinking Water and Human Blood Lead Levels in the United States." Visited Dec 6, 2012
6. IARC. "List of Classifications". Visited Dec 5, 2012
7. US EPA. "Stage 2 DBP Rule". Visited Dec 5, 2012
8. DHS. "Epi-Aid Trip Report: An assessment of health concerns in a community exposedto chloramine treated tap water in Vermont, 2006–2007 (Epi-2007-054)". Visited Dec 6, 2012
9. US EPA. "Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Program". Visited Dec 4, 2012
11. RWSA. "Drinking Water Disinfectant System Upgrades". Visited Dec 3, 2012.

About Josh DeWald

I am a software engineer, husband and parent of two. I have been involved in the Skeptical movement for a few years now, especially since having children and so needing to fight pseudoscience related to parenting (vaccines, homeopathy, etc). I've been fortunate to attend TAM twice with my wife (who is also of a Skeptical bent). I also have a blog known as "What Does the Science Say?" (, where I have an odd habit of writing a lot about aspartame.
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31 Responses to MercolaWatch: Overreacting to chloramine in water

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is not true that you can boil chloramines out of water. It is also not true that chloramines can be removed as simply as chlorine alone can be removed. I was part of a group who fought the implementation of chloramines in our water system, unfortunately we lost and are now using it. While we were in the process of fighting it we researched filtration methods and learned that removing chloramines through normal water filtration methods is not possible. The vitamin C can neutralize it but not remove it from the water. I am now suffering severe skin itching and red bumps as a result of the chloramines in my water. I cannot shower or bathe or wash my clothing in my home with suffering these skin issues. So no, people are not overreacting to chloramines. Just because not all people will have reactions to it does not mean that it is safe by any means. If it makes anyone suffer it should not be used. I pay for water that I cannot use, how is that fair?

    • Josh DeWald says:

      My source for the information about using a 20 minute gentle boil is from the San Francisco Water authority (one of the references at the bottom of the article).

      If desired, chloramine and ammonia can be completely removed from the water by boiling; however, it will take 20 minutes of gentle boil to do that. Just a short boil of water to prepare tea or coffee removed about 30% of chloramine. Conversely, chlorine was not as consistently removed by boiling in SFPUC tests

      • watersquaw says:

        Check out for the real skinny for people suffering from exposure to chloramine in their tap water.. The SFPUC knows nothing about the experience of people who suffer skin, respiratory or digestive symptoms from chloramine in their water, note are they interested in knowing. In Vermont, we documented 300+ people who developed these symptoms after the switch to chloramine in 2006. Watch chloramine sufferers testify to EPA and CDC officials about their symptoms in 2007. We tried like hell to get chloramine banned in VT by the state legislature. Turns out no one wants to take on the EPA.

        From 2008 in Vermont, when at least 300 people in the Champlain Water District were hollering about the skin, respiratory and digestive symptoms they were getting after chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) replaced chlorine in the Champlain Water District. The key sentence here is the following, and this is used everywhere. “Our toxicology and medical epidemiology experts have searched for and reviewed all available research on the subject to date – including consulting with the CDC and the EPA regarding emerging studies that might provide relevant information. To date, we have found no credible evidence to show that the use of monochloramine [the species of chloramine used in public water supplies] to disinfect public drinking water is a threat to public health or has been associated with adverse side effects.” This is their way of saying there are NO STUDIES, including NO emerging studies- and there still aren’t any. This is insane “proof” that chloramine doesn’t cause these symptoms. What they don’t say is that exposure to higher concentrations of chloramine *does* cause these symptoms. If they were really interested in getting to the bottom of this they would have started studies 12 years ago. This pisses me OFF no end.…/documen…/monochloramine020508.pdf

        I cannot touch my tap water. I go through 35 gals. per month of spring water for drinking, cooking with, washing my face in the morning, rinsing my hands off after washing them in tap water (during fall/winter), and brushing my teeth. I have not been able to shower in my own home since 8/2006, when my skin and respiratory symptoms became intolerable, 3 mos. after the conversion to chloramine.Take this damn article down.

    • Fred says:

      Just to be clear …when you filter (carbon ) or use vitamin C it will convert chloromine (toxic) to non toxic chloride and ammonium.

      • Fred
        Just to understand physiologic nature of toxicity of chloromine, chloride, and ammonium. There is no “one substance is toxic and one is safe.” Everything absolutely everything has a toxic dose and a safe dose. The presence of something is irrelevant. The dosage or concentration is what is important. This is poorly understood and that poor understanding is often used by fear mongers to scare you. Water itself is toxic if you drink too much.

        • Fred says:

          I agree with you. It comes down to degrees of toxicity of each in relation to concentrations consumed.

          Anyway, I was mainly trying to explain what happens to chloromine when neutralized in water ( ie it is no longer chloromine or chlorine or ammonia)

      • Muddie says:

        Watersquawe.. I bet there is a university chemistry course near you..

    • Anonymous, you sound like a troll, working for the EPA, CDC, AWWA or some such agency.

      • Muddie says:

        I wouldn’t mind working for a reg authority again.

        Your comment about trolls etc is misleading. Maybe that was the intention.

  2. VCE says:

    I suppose if you pick and choose your sources, you can make any case you want. In this instance, you have ignored the work of Dr. Michael Plewa (University of Illinois), Dr. William Mitch (Yale University) and others who are doing research on the unregulated disinfection byproducts of chloramine. I guess you also didn’t call EPA and talk to them directly about their growing concern about NDMA, one of those unregulated DBPs of chloramine. The science surrounding the unintended consequences of chloramine is ahead of the regulations, and you do no good service to the public by continuing to perpetuate the myth that chloramine is safe. DDT was once considered safe, too.

    Thousands of Americans have documented that they are getting sick from chloraminated water. Doctors have no health studies to refer to, so they can’t make clinical diagnoses. They prescribe steroidal inhalers and creams, do endless tests that result in nothing, even perform surgeries for people with gastrointestinal problems. The problem is real and very serious in some people. Dr. Mercola is right to raise questions and educate the public, many of whom have no idea what kinds of chemicals are used in their water or that chloraminated water can make you sick, very sick.

    When CDC and EPA came to Vermont, among other things they accused the citizens of launching a PR campaign on the radio. That claim was as ridiculous as their claim that PCAC biased their “study” which actually says in it that “this is not a research study.” In fact, CDC sent mental health professionals, not public health experts. That PR campaign the CDC claimed was happening was Vermont Public Radio covering the story. The citizens group did not launch a PR campaign. You can watch the interviews with the citizens that I conducted that day People were sick and still are, and they get better when they stop using their water.

    The other day I had the opportunity to talk about the chloramine problem with the EPA Region One Administrator. You can listen here: He did not tell me we are wrong. I encourage you to open your eyes to the fact that putting ammonia into water is doing nothing for public health or the environment. Time to clean up the source water rather than adding more chemicals.

    • “Time to clean up the source water rather than adding more chemicals.”
      What would your alternate method be?

      • VCE says:

        First you need to understand the source of the problems that are causing high THMs and HAAs, if the goal is to come into compliance with EPA regulations. Surface water systems have the biggest challenges, and EPA has been ignoring and suppressing innovative technologies that can provide non-chemical solutions. So we have a ways to go to answer your question. There are few tools in the toolbox. Chloramine is the cheapest way to engineer compliance with EPA regulations, but it’s not about providing safe drinking water. It’s cheap and helps water system operators meet EPA regulations. To do more usually costs more money.

        Membrane filtration, Granular Activated Carbon filtration are primary disinfection methods that can reduce the organic matter in source water, usually at a much greater cost than adding ammonia at the back end.

        If the problem is too much junk in the system, Blue Earth Labs has some affordable treatments that will clean up tanks and distribution pipes, reducing the organic matter that the chlorine reacts with.

        This is an area that needs more attention to come up with affordable solutions, and one where greater public involvement would help. Most people have paid no attention to the treatment of their water, so, back to the subject of this post, rather than trashing efforts to raise awareness, Joe Mercola should be applauded for bringing more attention to this subject. It is not a bad thing for people to understand the challenges of treating surface water to make it safe for drinking, bathing and cooking.

        • Josh DeWald says:

          The issue is that Mercola paints chloramine as all bad, rather than a more accurate picture of one of trade offs. You’ll notice I actually affirm his points around lead and don’t deny that some people have skin and respiratory irritation.

          But it’s also not accurate to make it sound as if chloramine serves no purpose. GAC is, as you point out, a more expensive alternative that isn’t *necessarily* warranted.

          I also felt it was important to point out that the things Mercola discusses aren’t unknown by federal authorities. They address them specifically in terms of the existing scientific evidence. If Mercola’s article had at least provided the official responses to his claims, my article would have been unnecessary.

      • watersquaw says:

        The citizens of Charlottesville VA and Grand Isle VT both decided to avoid the chloramine pestilence. They both chose to filter the source water though granular activated carbon (GAC) beds in order to remove the organic material that, when combined with chlorine (and also chloramine, but it forms more slowly with chloramine), creates haloacetic acids (HAAs) and thrihalomethanes (THMs). Both of these disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are regulated by the EPA ( NONE of chloramine’s DBPs are regulated, except the ones it share with chlorine), and the EPA lowered acceptable levels of HAAs and THMs. The reason so many utilities are switching to chloramine is because it’s the cheapest way to come into compliance.

        GAC is more expensive than chloramine but it is affordable, the citizens of Charlottesville and Grand Isle discovered- even in the face of officials telling them they’d never be able to afford it. GAC not only removes organic material, it also removes other toxic things in water like pharmaceuticals from waste water, pesticide runoff, and oil and gasoline from motor boats and jet skis. In the end you get much cleaner water with less toxic chemical intervention. Most places can use less chlorine than before adding GAC because the water is much cleaner coming into the plant (after the GAC filtration).

  3. Beth Nord says:

    I am one of (many)who has had a bad reaction to chloramine. I had terrible skin rashes as well as digestive problems. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a third world country, but at least there people can bathe. I cannot use our chloraminated wate–100%. I know it is an extremely complicated issue, but I think many more are having symptoms and either don’t realize it or cannot take the necessary steps to solve the problem.

  4. Stephen Propatier says:

    As emotionally compelling as these arguments are.What is the data? Anecdotal evidence that chloramine is causing a person a useless.
    “Sometimes I feel like I am living in a third world country, but at least there people can bathe. I cannot use our chloraminated wate–100%.”
    How do you know? have you done controlled bathing experiments where you are double blinded to type of water. If I poor bleach solution onto my skin I will have a reaction but tap water will not give me a problem even if chlorinated.
    Dose is critical, toxicity is dose dependent.
    Government agencies can express concern but that does not mean there is any validity to the question.
    Simple question in my state 60% of the states population is treated water 40% has personal wells.

    Has there ever been any research comparing those factors in a chloramine treated area. Are there stat. sig findings.

    I am no expert but when ever I hear chemical=bad, number one I am suspicious.
    Secondly I look at your website VCE and it is singularly lacking in good analysis. A lot of unrelated research none of it answers the direct questions. What is the necessary dose to purify the supply, what is the problem dose? The is a ton of supposition in air quality or mouse studies. This is not conclusive.
    Draw up a large well structured statistical analysis reported health issues with choloramine treated tap water and well water in similar populations control for variables and compare. Stop supposition or scare mongering. DO the work and I will believe. The only research I found was 1980 and I can’t even find the summary.

    • Sally says:

      No human being is “statistically insignificant” when it comes to usability of the water supply for which they pay.

  5. VCE says:

    You want data? And to Josh’s response above about EPA. Read the documents for yourself to see how EPA has handled the health complaints. Talk about lacking a good analysis. Rather than answer questions such as youare asking, like what is the problem dose, they spent a few minutes looking at the science and then spent the rest of the last 8 years doing “messaging” to tell people chloramine is safe. It’s not my job to draw up a structured statistical analysis of health reports. EPA needs to do the work, and then people will have some confidence. But the fact is this chemical compound is very toxic and has no place in public water supplies until EPA does the studies to prove it is safe. If the links don’t come through, paste the first one into your browser. Hundreds of pages of documents from EPA are linked (as per the numbers, below). Read for yourself how EPA is protecting public health. NOT.

    Environmental Protection Agency’s “Messaging” Campaign in Response to Health Complaints about Chloraminated Water

    VCE filed a Freedom of Information Act request with EPA in 2009 and received materials that did not answer the question. Many materials were withheld, so we appealed and received more materials in Aug. 2010.

    Click on the links below to read what we received from the 2nd round, the materials that were withheld the first time. What we learn from these files is that EPA has devoted substantial resources to messaging rather than trying to determine why people are reporting the impacts that they are.
    Note: these are large files.

    1. Emails from 2004 and 2007
    2. Emails from 2007 and 2008
    3. Emails from 2008 and 2009
    4. Chloramine use by Region and multi-year emails
    5. Correspondence about chloramine use in CA
    6. Chloramine in VT and CA
    7. EPA Message Maps 1
    8. EPA Message Maps 2
    9. EPA Message Maps 3
    10. Chloramine EPA website info
    11. EPA Message Maps and website info
    12. EPA Chloramine Criteria Document and PA
    13. EPA Message Maps 4
    14. EPA Message Maps 5
    15. EPA Message Maps 6
    16. EPA Message Maps 7

  6. Mud says:

    The bane of my life, people talking about science and then posting reports and statements.

    I think its a logical fallacy to write “look at the science” and just using this as the argument in its own.

    This is Brian’s guest blog list and there is a lot of space to discuss the science or veracity of claims. Not just 1200 characters as on Skeptoid general.

    Trial studies (Brian must be absolutely sick of me writing this every week) are not science, they are trial studies only. They may locate statistical aberrations but; They do not impart Science Based Evaluation. Its the old EB/SB toady of mine since skeptoid started.

    They may quote some science from somewhere else for sure.

    I am resting up after a vicious attack by a cosmic ray last week. I am glad it happened as the resulting particle/antiparticles generated by the cosmic as i attenuated it, killed off a kitten that was obviously stalking me.

    You think that sounds odd…I welcome you to Brians comment list in Skeptoid general.

    Yes I agree, there is no science to Mercola, just absurd marketing.

    • watersquawe says:

      Read my comment above. They should do the studies. They refuse to. They substituted chlorine studies to come up with the MRDL for chloramine. NOT OKAY. There is enough anecdotal evidence to. In the meantime they should stop using chloramine since so many are sick from it.

  7. Sam Barbary says:

    Fluoride is just as bad.

  8. Tom Myers says:

    In light of what has happened in Flint Michigan, I would like to know if the author of this article would care to re-evaluate his opinion on chloramine. Although he mentions the Pb problem in pipes, it is a sidenote that he gives little attention to, calling for utilities to replace lead pipes, as though that will be less expensive than just reverting back to using chlorine instead of chloramine.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Maybe he just didn’t foresee a group of people being negligent enough to make the kinds of catastrophically bad decisions that the Receivers did in Flint. I mean, I think what he’s talking about probably holds true if you’re not being completely malfeasant. Like, a little salt is OK in people’s diets. That doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat it in excess. It also means that we shouldn’t freak out about salt and eliminate it completely, meaning that the scaremongering of Mercola is still scaremongering.

      Is chlorine really a better alternative to properly used chloramine?

  9. Mudguts says:

    Has someone arsed up their chemistry here?

  10. Alex says:

    I had a question for the writer of this article.

    Who is paying you to write this? Most of your article is lies and the rest is bias.

    Chloramine is dangerous. Here is Denver most of our refugees and international student have fallen I’ll and are experiencing bad skin conditions. Which they never had until using the city water. So please let me know who or what group is paying you to write this.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Who’s paying you to write nonsense?

      Do you have anything more concrete or substantive as a critique?

      I’m having skin conditions right now: it’s the middle of winter and the air is dry. I put lotion on and it’s fine. It stops in the spring. So please tell me what group is paying you to say silly, flimsy, paranoid stuff?

  11. I wish the author would address the residual effects on the ammonia that is part of the compound. Removal nitrogen compounds is much more difficult than is chlorine. The health impacts are also much more deleterious.

  12. Burke says:

    I’m here because my city is making the switch to chloramines this month. Son has eczema and I have anemia, so I’m a little anxious about washing and cooking with diluted ammonia. I don’t want to be scared; I want to be informed. The boujies are drinking this same water, but something tells me they’re using whole home carbon filters and bottled water. Our pipelines and taps are so bad as it is! I took my same bathing supplies for a shower between jobs at my mama’s, she has well water, and I imediately noticed a decrease in frizz/tangles in my hair when stepping out of her shower.

    The city of Eden (North Carolina) just experienced the second largest coal ash spill in the recorded history of the United States. Duke Energy is complying with strict cleanup methods, but the cleanup process is still in effect. Eden is part of a former tri-city of homes built prior to 1980. Another words, the pipelines of our homes and businesses have at least some remaining copper and lead. Our most recent water report showed “moderate” levels of “naturally occurring” contaminants that could pose a health risk if they get any higher, which could “naturally” occur from home to home. Also, the elderly make up the bulk of our community in Eden. Those who are “most at risk” outnumber those who would be considered to have moderate to ideal health.

    Is there a national site where we can learn about how to productively protest to the use of chloramines in our water supply? I plan to ask my mayoral candidate about his stance on this issue at a fundraising meal this Friday. I’m a regular attendant of both city council meetings as well as youth council activism through my teen. However, I’ve never before felt the need to be vocally objective within my local politics.

  13. Evosera says:

    Regardless of your opinion of Mercola, give me one good reason why it should not be ILLEGAL to add any chemical to public drinking water until it has been thoroughly tested. Chloramine has never been thoroughly tested to ensure it is safe.

    Gaps in research on how monochloramine affects water should be filled.
    • There are few studies on how monochloramine affects human health.
    • There are few studies on the disinfection byproducts that form when monochloramine reacts with natural organic matter in water.
    • Compared to chlorine, water treated with monochloramine may contain higher concentrations of some unregulated disinfection byproducts.

    The fact that chloramine has been used since the 1920s is no guarantee of safety. Asbestos, leaded gasoline and cigarettes were all believed to be safe for a long time before it was found out it was causing a problem.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      One issue in what you’re asking for is the definition of “thorough.” What does that entail, exactly? Chloramine has been tested and problems with it contributing to lead were known at least as early as 2007. Is that testing thorough enough? Is the gap more in how we design public policy in such circumstances? It seems to me more and more that there’s a lot of evidence for the harms or efficacy of XYZ substance or procedure and where we fail is in making policy responsive to this information.

      That gap is influenced by and influences our cost-benefit analyses of how strictly to regulate substances, which seems to have been one issue in Flint.

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