May 17, 2007

water report

I finally got my water report back. I had sent in all my samples and was excited to finally learn what has been in our pipes.

Overall it seemed like pretty good news. The testing was very extensive and the report a little complicated. Some of the metals which were high seemed like metals I would take as a supplement (calcium, iron, magnesium). They found no pesticides, herbicides or PCBs. No lead at all.

However, the thing I am concerned about is trihalomethane. Public water supplies need to be disinfected to be safe. When the disinfectant interacts with organic matter (leaves, etc.) in the water, trihalomethanes are formed.

Wikipedia defines:
"Trihalomethanes are formed as a byproduct when chlorine or bromine are used to disinfect water for drinking. They result from the reaction of chlorine and/or bromine with organic matter in the water being treated. The THMs produced may have adverse health effects at high concentrations, and many governments set limits on the amount permissible in drinking water. In the United States, the EPA limits the total concentration of chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and dibromochloromethane to 80 parts per billion in treated water. This number is called "total trihalomethanes" (TTHM)."

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are considered carcinogenic. My level detected is thankfully below the EPA acceptable limit, but it still seems too high for my comfort. The information I recieved from the testing lab suggests to treat a trihalomethane problem with a granular activated carbon filter. I ended up selecting a water filter system that uses this type of filter plus many others.

And for the record, I beleive my city does not use chlorine (as many cities have switched thinking it wasn't safe) but uses chloramine. Many cities switched in an effort to reduce THMs. My water utility claims the THM level has decreased 50% since the switch. I have also heard that chloramines are not as safe as originally thought. I am no scientist though. More reasearch needed, as always.

If you're interested, this is the lab I used for the water test. National Testing Laboratories


Gift of Green said...

Wow, I had no idea about any of this. Thanks for the information

Ellen P. said...

Hi Green Mom, I don't know if you are aware of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine out there in the San Francisco Bay area. Their website is and is loaded with great information. You can get in touch with them via their website, and I know that they want to hear from people in San Francisco (SFC). Due to the lack of media reporting in SFC about their work to get chloramine out of the water, not too many people in SFC are aware of them.

Our water district here in northern VT converted to chloramine in 4/06. Since then People Concerned About Chloramine was born due to the respiratory, digestive and dermal symptoms people are having since the conversion. We have documented a little over 170 people who have reported symptoms to us in the last year.

This is a terrible thing, chloramine. It has not been studied as a drinking water disinfectant for dermal, respiratory or digestive health effects, and many people are getting all of these since the conversion to chloramine. Something must be done!

mom go green said...

Thanks for the tips, ellen. I will definately check out

Sorry about the posting difficulty, I posted your last comment since the previous ones seemed the same. I sure am glad you told me about these resources. I'm eager to learn more...