Chlorine in tap water - how much is too much?

Not infrequently you hear complaints about a pervasive smell of chlorine or taste in tap water. What that means, where the smell actually comes from and what amount of chlorine can be harmful to health, is therefore discussed here in more detail.

Chlorination of tap water

Frequently tap water is ozonated during treatment in the water works to rid it of bacteria and at the same time of iron and manganese.

In order to protect the water from recontamination, it is additionally provided with a so-called Transportchlorierung. This should prevent bacteria from accumulating and replicating in the sterilized water.

In swimming pools, chlorine is added to the water in a higher amount to neutralize the bacteria excreted by the bathers and, above all, to kill fecal germs immediately.

chlorine smell

Chlorinated water does not smell. When water is added to chlorine, it remains odorless until it reacts with certain substances, usually unwanted soiling. Water, which smells intensively of chlorine, is so polluted in the rule. Bathrooms that smell like chlorine are not the cleanest.

Chlorine and chlorine dioxide

Chlorine and chlorine dioxide are substances approved in the drinking water ordinance for drinking water disinfection. They were also chosen for their high impact and low health hazards.

Health hazards due to chlorine

In the quantities in which chlorine is added to the tap water, it is harmless to health. It also occurs in the human body and is absorbed in a high amount of saline (sodium chloride).

Particularly dangerous are the gases when inhaled. So long as no inhalation of chlorine fumes takes place, chlorine is dangerous to health only in very high doses.

The reaction products of chlorine, which can also take place through reactions in chlorinated water, are suspected, however, to be able to favor individual cancers. In particular trichloromethane is considered dangerous.

With chlorinated tap water, the risk is low - even if high doses of chlorine are absorbed over the years. The assumption of the reaction products of chlorinated water, there are only guesses.

Tips & Tricks

If clean water is chlorinated, no harmful decomposition products are formed. However, if faecal contaminated waters are treated with the help of chlorine, reaction products are formed. This is usually excluded.

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