What’s in your water? Researchers identify new toxic byproducts of disinfecting drinking water

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When phenols, compounds that are commonly found in drinking water, mix with chlorine, hundreds of unknown, potentially toxic byproducts are formed.

Mixing drinking water with chlorine, the United States’ most common method of disinfecting drinking water, creates previously unidentified toxic byproducts, says Carsten Prasse from Johns Hopkins University and his collaborators from the University of California, Berkeley and Switzerland.

The researchers’ findings were published this past week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“There’s no doubt that chlorine is beneficial; chlorination has saved millions of lives worldwide from diseases such as typhoid and cholera since its arrival in the early 20th century,” says Prasse, an assistant professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University and the paper’s lead author.

“But that process of killing potentially fatal bacteria and viruses comes with unintended consequences. The discovery of these previously unknown, highly toxic byproducts, raises the question how much chlorination is really necessary.”

Continue reading… “What’s in your water? Researchers identify new toxic byproducts of disinfecting drinking water”

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Absorbing Too Much Chlorinated Water Increases Risk of Cancer

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People who regularly swim in chlorinated pools or take lots of showers or baths are at an increased risk of cancer.

Swimming too much – or even taking too many baths or showers – could increase the risk of developing bladder cancer, warn environmental health experts.  Carcinogenic chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs), created as a byproduct of chlorinating water, can be absorbed through the skin, they say.

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