Are There Disinfection Byproducts In Your Water?

Disinfection byproducts can enter your water supply in several different ways. In fact, there could even be disinfection byproducts in your cup of tea. According to a study conducted by the American Chemical Society, and distributed by Science Daily, “when boiled water is used to brew tea, residual chlorine in the water can react with tea compounds to form disinfection byproducts.” It is a problem that communities across the country face, but what are disinfection byproducts, and should you be concerned?

What Are Disinfection Byproducts?


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According to Lenntech, disinfection byproducts are formed when a disinfectant reacts with an organic matter present in water. Typically, these organic substances have been seen to be humid acid or fulvic acid, but other organic matter can be involved, and they often enter the water through the decomposition of plants. The reaction creates either chemical, organic, or inorganic substances.

The most common disinfectant that is used is chlorine. Which disinfectant is used and the amount of it added to water affects what byproduct is formed and in some cases, if one is even formed to begin with. If there is a very minimal amount of disinfectant added to the water, the risk for byproduct is significantly reduced.

Disinfection byproducts are broken down into two categories: Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) and Haloacetic Acids (HAA5). For TTHMs, the maximum contaminant level is 0.080 mg/L while HAA5s have a maximum contaminant level of 0.060 mg/L according to the Washington State department of health.

Should You Be Concerned?


While disinfection byproducts presence in water can be dangerous for your health it is not something that you at home need to worry about. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “All public water systems that disinfect must regularly test their treated water to determine if regulated DBPs are present and at what levels.” Despite this, it’s important to be cautious and look out for byproducts. One of the risks of disinfection byproducts is cancer, but health problems “vary from country to country as per life expectancy, body mass index, water consumption pattern and individual concentration of DBPs component, etc.” according to the US National Library of Medicine.

Overall, disinfection byproducts in your water are a good thing because their presence means that the disinfection is working. The benefits of chlorine or other disinfectants in your water greatly outweighs the health risks associated with adding them in. For example, chlorine kills and removes many harmful organisms that cause infection such as E. coli, typhoid, cholera, dysentery and more. 

What Can You Do At Home?


While your local water authority will typically take care of the disinfection byproducts in your water, there are steps that you can take to make sure your water is properly filtered of all byproducts and other contaminants. With a Culligan reverse osmosis filtration system, you can ensure that your water is properly filtered. Take a look at rental and purchasing options today by clicking here.

Overall, disinfection byproducts are nothing to worry about with proper care of water by your local authority. They are a good sign that your water is being treated and is free from deadly microorganisms.

Works Cited:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210915085847.htm

https://www.lenntech.com/processes/disinfection/byproducts/disinfection-byproducts.htm

https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/ddbp.html

https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/stage-1-and-stage-2-disinfectants-and-disinfection-byproducts-rules

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4020354/

https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/DrinkingWater/Disinfection/DisinfectionByproducts

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