Why You Should Be Concerned About Trihalomehtanes In Water

Are you worried about trihalomethanes (THMs)? If not, you should be. These chemicals could pose a serious risk to your health, especially if they are present in your drinking water. Fortunately, the right water treatment system may be able to remove these dangerous contaminants.

Let’s take a look at these dangerous chemicals and how they can contaminate your water supply.

Where Do Trihalomehtanes Come From?

THMs are formed when chlorine comes in contact with organic matter.  This is especially important to WSSC clients because the source of their water is a river, where there is an abundance of organic matter (leaves, wood, algae, fish feces, etc. etc).
Total Trihalomethanes (THMs) for the Patuxent River were last reported at 62 µg/L and the Potomac ranged from 12 – 100 µg/L.  The maximum level is set at 80 µg/L, putting the Potomac River quality over the limit at points during the year.  It is important to note that rain water runoff from roads and farms changes the water quality which will make all of the test results fluctuate.

Chlorine is used as a treatment in many public water supplies. On its own and with the right dosages, chlorine helps disinfect water and kills pathogens. However, if certain disinfectants, and especially chloroform, are present in your water, they will react with the chlorine and form THMs. The reactions won’t stop until either all of the chloroform or chlorine is removed or used up in your water supply.

Meanwhile, chloroform has many industrial uses. Chloroform is a solvent and is often used to make paper, floor polishes, adhesives, and other products. It’s used as a pesticide as well, which may increase run-off risks. Some other chemicals that can produce THMs are also used as refrigerants.

Chlorine is found in many water supplies and is commonly used. Unfortunately, the above reactants, and especially chloroform, are also relatively common.

What Are the Health Effects of Trihalomethanes?

Unfortunately, trihalomethanes are believed to be cancerous. By consuming water containing these compounds, you could increase your risks of contracting cancer. THMs have also been linked to lower fertility.  

In one study, researchers discovered that THMs resulted in increased cancer risks in mice livers, with chloroform in particular linked to a significant increase in tumors. Another study found that THMs had a negative impact on male fertility.

Obviously, these are major concerns. Further, THMs may have other adverse health effects that we’re simply not aware of yet. Often, the full impact on chemicals and potential toxins in our water supply is not realized until after years of exposure.

Take chloroform, for example. While the substance is now believed to be carcinogenic, it was once used as an anesthetic. Now, we know the chemical is likely dangerous and try to limit exposure to it.

Given the potential health impacts of trihalomethanes, it should come as no surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency made THMs among the first substances to be regulated under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974.

Understanding the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974 launched sweeping new regulations to help protect consumers from exposure to dangerous chemicals through public drinking water systems. Trihalomethanes were among the first substances regulated through this act.

The Safe Drinking Water Act was one of the first major policies pursued by the EPA. Since we rely on water every day, it’s essential to limit exposure to dangerous chemicals in our drinking water supplies.

The EPA regulates chloroform, bromodichloromethane, bromoform, and dibromochloromethane. However, it’s possible that other chemicals may also cause reactions with chlorine and produce THMs. That’s why more and more people are turning to reverse osmosis water filtration systems and other water treatment solutions.

Contact Hague Quality Water of MD

With the right filtration system, like the Hague WaterMax® BEQ, it may be possible to remove THMs and other dangerous chemicals from your water. This filtration system is specially designed for city water and has the capacity to deliver the highest quality of water straight to your tap. To find out if you have unsafe levels of THMs in your water, check the Environmental Water Group’s database.

The right water treatment system can also remove heavy metals, pathogens, and other dangerous contaminants. For all of your water treatment needs and concerns, please contact Hague Quality Water of Maryland today by calling (410) 757-2992. 


NOTE: Free water tests are for new customers to determine water quality and treatment solutions.

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