Removing unwanted chemicals from drinking water requires more than a “one size fits all” approach since different chemicals have different properties.
And yet, there are many unwanted and even dangerous chemicals commonly found in drinking water.
How can we know for sure that we are using the “right” method to get the most healthy drinking water possible?
The answer lies in testing.
Once you have an analysis of what your water contains and how much of it, taking steps to eliminate those unwanted substances becomes much easier. The same is true of your water's chlorine levels.
Understanding Chlorine in Drinking Water
In the case of chlorine there are a few things to know.
Chlorine is both good and bad.
This chemical can certainly kill bacteria (think swimming pools) and can therefore be really helpful in small amounts. Conversely, too much chlorine can be caustic to lungs and cause breathing problems. Historically used as a weapon, this chemical is effectively poisonous to the human body and has been linked to bladder, rectal and more recently, breast cancer.
Chlorine can evaporate out of water but the process can take days, and depends a great deal on how much chlorine is in your water to begin with.
Chlorine is one of those chemicals that poses a problem more nuanced than some since small amounts are added to public drinking water sources intentionally, but more than a little bit can be harmful.
How do you remove excess chlorine from your drinking water in your home when it has already done its municipal duties?
Reverse Osmosis Water Purifiers
You may be familiar by now with reverse osmosis (RO) filtration if you have read some of our other pieces about water purifiers.
These amazing systems are some of the most trusted method of filtering for the vast majority of chemicals and other contaminant commonly found in drinking water.
They effectively remove many different contaminants by using a multi-stage filtration system that forces contaminated water through extremely small sieve-like filters, leaving most impurities behind, chlorine included.
However, when it comes to Chlorine, RO is not the only option.
Granular Activated Carbon
Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) is another technique used to remove chlorine very effectively.
This sort of filter uses a porous organic carbon to attract the chlorine.
Coconut husks are a popular material used to make this sort of carbon filter (though the coconut versions are more expensive) which is then heated to increase its ability to adsorb (draw out) the contaminants thanks to millions of micro pores which catch the chlorine like Velcro. Pretty neat!
To recap, chlorine, although commonly used in drinking water to kill bacteria and other microorganisms, can be problematic for its odor and its potentially harmful effects on the body.
Because chlorine is used so often to treat municipal water, excess chlorine is a chemical that should be removed from drinking water. If you are looking into how to remove chlorine from your drinking water we recommend either reverse osmosis or granular activated carbon filtration systems depending on your individual needs and preferences.
You can browse recommendations for both in Dispozal's water purifier roundup.
GAC is the holy grail for removing chlorine in particular, and RO systems work really well when trying to rid water of a large variety of contaminants.
If you know or suspect unwanted chlorine in your drinking water, the first step is to have your water tested in a lab to determine exactly what it contains and how much. Hopefully, one or both of these amazing filtration systems can give you healthy, great tasting water you can feel good about drinking.