It was not until the second half of the 20th century when health experts raised concerns over potential risks of using chlorine in drinking water. After having been used for a little less than a century, most authorities began doubting the safety of drinking chlorinated water. |
Brief history of chlorine use
It was in the 1890's when chlorine was first used in Europe to remove microbial contaminants in tap water. The continuing rise in the number of cases of diarrheal and other water-borne diseases called for the use of chemical disinfectants to kill all microorganisms causing these diseases. Chlorine was later introduced in the United States in 1920.
Chlorine completely kills all biological contaminating agents in the water. That is a given fact. That also explains largely why most public water utilities use chlorine in disinfecting water. Aside from its outstanding ability to get rid of harmful microbes in the water, chlorine is relatively inexpensive.
However, many authoritative studies have shown that chlorine is linked to many serious ailments, such as cancer, heart diseases and several nervous conditions. One study reveals that people drinking chlorinated water for an extended period have greater risk of getting certain types of cancer than those who do not drink water treated with chlorine. The probability of getting breast, rectal and bladder cancer is pegged at around 93%.
The bane of reckless disposal of expired and unused drugs
Aside from chlorine, many drugs are also found in the drinking water. Many water treatment systems are ineffective in completely removing all chemicals dissolved in water. Most of these pharmaceuticals come from careless disposal of expired and unused medicines and antibiotics.
Look at your medicine bottle. Most pharmaceutical companies recommend that unused or expired syrups should be flushed into the toilet sink. Chemical compounds present in those medications go to the sewerage system. Leaks from sewer tanks eventually allow chemicals to penetrate and pollute ground water sources, for example.
Unfortunately, most popular water purification systems are incapable of removing these chemical contaminants. Many water facilities are still using chlorine in killing microbes in the water. Even reverse osmosis is dismally disappointing in eliminating chemical compounds with much smaller molecular sizes than water. Knowing the mechanics of reverse water osmosis, only those that have molecular sizes larger than water molecules are trapped by the tiny pores of membranes of the filtering equipment.
Many serious diseases are acquired because of the poor state of water quality. We must take an extra stride in eliminating chlorine in drinking water, together with many drugs and chemicals, if we want to live healthier and longer.
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