Trihalomethanes (THM’s) are chemical compounds that show up in different forms such as chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform. THM’s are considered carcinogenic (having potential to cause cancer). They are created when chlorine reacts with natural occurring organic and inorganic materials in the water. The risks associated with exposure to THM’s are liver, kidney and central nervous system problems, some people will experience anemia. Furthermore, some studies report an association between THM’s and adverse birth outcomes.
The MCL (Maximum Containment Level) is set at 80 ppb (parts per billion) which “considers cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies.” Anything that is measured in parts per billion shows how important of a contaminant this is to monitor. The MCLG (Maximum Containment Level Goal) has been set at zero for both bromodichloromethane and bromoform, which is the level that the EPA believes to pose no risk. Des Moines, Iowa water has levels of up to 70 ppb total THM’s according to the Des Moines Water Quality Report. Johnston and Urbandale had levels of up to 79 and 80 ppb, respectively.
According to a government website, THMs can be controlled by reducing the chlorine in the local water source. Unfortunately, chlorine cannot be entirely eliminated from the Des Moines water system because chlorine is used to kill bacteria and viruses that can casue serious illnesses or death. How do I get thihalomethanes out of my water you may ask? You cannot boil the THM out of the water, exposure to heat can actually increase the THM formations. Furthermore, THM vapors can be inhaled in the shower and absorbed through the skin while bathing. Our drinking water will ensure the THM’s are as close to zero as possible in the water you consume. We are able to accomplish this with the high grade of coconut shell carbon that we use along with the size of our carbon filters which provide the greatest possible contact time for treatment. Our reverse osmosis unit has carbon filters so it would provide a viable reduction in THM’s for a drinking water system. The best way to reduce THM’s from your bath water and shower is by using a whole house backwashing carbon filter. Better yet, why not kill two birds with one stone and use a refiner so you get the benefits of soft water as well.
As I learn more about the chemicals in our water, it becomes so much more apparent that water treatment equipment or good, pure bottled drinking water is the only way to eliminate these risks to our health and well-being.
Is there anything you would like to know about your water or what is in the Des Moines water? Please comment or ask what you would like to know and I will write about it in a future blog.
Until next time at ‘The Water Blog’!!!