SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Susan Pickford


August 09, 2010

There is much more to be concerned about with chloramine than just the fish and dialysis patients. While those are certainly urgent concerns the acute and long term health ramifications for the general population are much more dire. I can tell you that the information below is the concensus of the scientific community, the subject of over 50 peer reviewed studies by the top water chemists in the country and not even wholely disputed by the EPA.

Acute health concerns - Hundreds of people across the country are reporting respiratory, dermal and digestive ailments when drinking or showering in chloraminated water. Chloraminated water used to make baby formula can cause Blue Baby Syndrome. (That is right in the Water Quality Reports.) monochloramine speciates into di and tri chloramine. Tri chloramine is a known respiratory irritant known to cause 'swimmers asthma' in lifeguards and routine swimmers. The same effect is being seen when chloraminated water is vaporized in showers. I have personal stories from those who are suffering and other citizen groups have accumulated photos of the skin rashes.

Ineffective biocide - the World Health Organization has determined chloramine to be the least effective of the available disinfectants in killing e-coli, rotoviruses and polio 1. Germany has banned its use in their country. France will not use it and in fact most of Europe does not use it for this reason. In fact, the EPA banned chloramine in 1978 for one year because it was believed to be an ineffective biocide. Thirty years of research has concluded that it is indeed ineffective, yet the EPA continues to allow it. You may remember the recent articles about beef that was treated with ammonia supposedly to kill bacteria. That beef ended up to be ecoli tainted.

Long term health concerns - While chloramine does indeed reduce the THMs and HAAs of chlorine, it creates its own new set of byproducts that are 100 to 10000 times MORE TOXIC than THMs and HAAs. These byproducts include NDMA, Hydrazine, DXAA and Iodo acids. THey are genotoxic (damage DNA), cytotoxic (damage cells) and carcinogenic. In fact the EPA has classified hydrazine and NDMA as 'probable human carcinogens' yet still allow the use of chloramine in drinking water.

Fish kills - we have documented massive fish kills across the US and in Canada as a result of main breaks in chloraminated areas. One killed 9 miles of creek down to the earthworm. In Canada, it killed thoussands of species of salmonids and invertibrates. In california, even when people use rain water to fill their backyard ponds, just using the sprinkler on their lawn killed the frogs in their ponds.

Infrastructure - Chloramine is more corrosive than chlorine. It leaches lead from the pipes, literally 'eats' rubber and elastomer fittings, pits pipes allowing bacteria into the distribution system and presents a national security issue as it is less reactive to contaminants.

Filters - Chloramine can only be reduced not eliminated by certified filters that are very expensive. NSF says that no filters currently available will take out the highly toxic byproducts. In addition, a filter is only as good as the four walls of your house. If you go to work, school, a restaurant, vacation, family, friends, stores etc you are not protected by your filter.

This information is backed by significant science. If you look at the EPA website you will notice that they carefully limit their responses to 'monochloramine' . They say 'monochloramine' does not cause cancer. 'monochloramine' does not cause respiratory problems., etc. they do not address the 'unintended consequences' of monochloramine such as tri chloramine and the highly toxic byproducts. This stuff is dangerous. It is not sufficiently studied and it is not yet regulated though the scientific community is unanimously convinced that it will be when the EPA gets to it in 5 or 10 years.

Please let your readers know the whole truth about chloramine. They have a right to know and to not be lulled into compliance by EPA and the water company's half truths. If you would like to see any of the documentation backing these statements or if you would like to talk to me - my contact information is below.

Susan Pickford
Camp Hill, PA

About: "I am the co-director and founder of The Chloramine Information Center in Pennsylvania. We are a grass-roots organization of over 2600 individuals with support from local governments. We have been researching and fighting against the use of chloramine for three years. We have filed law suits at the Pa. Dept of Environ. Protection, the PA PUC and in County court. We are engaging state and federal representatives. We have a library of peer reviewed studies and have spoke to the top scientists in the US in drinking water treatment."

Received August 07, 2010 - Published August 09, 2010


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letterChloramine in City Water By Kristine Bellanich

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Ketchikan, Alaska