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Eshoo supports state look at chloramine safety

Original post made on Aug 23, 2007

In an effort to help dozens of Peninsula residents, including 30 from Mountain View and others from Palo Alto, who say their sensitivity to chloramine has caused skin rashes and respiratory problems, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is pulling strings to allow them to speak with the state Environmental Protection Agency.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 12:13 PM

Comments (44)

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Posted by Beth Nord
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2007 at 9:49 pm

Thank you for publishing the August 24, 2007 article about chloramine, and many thanks to Daniel DeBolt for covering this issue. I am one of those more than 400 Bay Area residents who has had a toxic reaction to this substance and is unable to bathe, cook or drink our tap water. I certainly hope that the EPA will grant a waiver and the San Francisco Public Utilities District will go back to using chlorine as a disinfectant. A study needs to be done to determine whether or not chloramine is safe. Until such a study is complete, we should not be exposed to this potentially dangerous chemical.
This article appeared in the print edition of the Mountain View Voice. I'm sure that Palo Alto residents are interested in this issue. Let's have an article in the Weekly!

Thank you.

Beth Nord
Palo Alto


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Posted by Ellen Powell, People Concerned About Chloramine
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 24, 2007 at 11:45 am

I, too, am glad to see this good article by Daniel DeBolt. Thank you very much. We got chloramine put into our water here in Vermont in 4/06. I cannot drink, cook with, bathe or shower in, brush my teeth with chloraminated water without having a reaction. I have not showered or bathed at home since last August, when I finally gave up because I was getting pains in my chest that disappeared after I started showering in non-chloraminated water. The only thing I use my tap water for anymore is laundry, running the dishwasher (at night when I can get away from it) and the toilet. I am camping out in my own home!!!!

We have 200 people in our 68,000-person water district we know of who are suffering from skin, respiratory and/or digestive symptoms since the chloramine went in. We are working hard to get officials to listen to us and get this "pestilence" (as a member of an Oklahoma group refers to it) out of the water.

P.S. Apparently I have to put in a neighborhood in order to make the "submit" button work. So I put one in. To make sure it's clear, I live in Vermont.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2007 at 8:32 pm

The claim against Chlorine was specious, just one more aspect of the anti-chemical mania.


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Posted by GiveMeABreak
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2007 at 10:08 am

From the article:
"One-third of the country has already converted to the disinfectant, Kula said. Water agencies, meanwhile, say some places have used chloramine since the early 1900s with no reported problems."

The folks complaining about this are the same ones who think that fluoride shouldn't be added to the water because its a communist mind-control plot!




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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2007 at 4:14 pm

The folk objecting to chlorine are the ones responsible for 3000 cholera deaths in Peru when chlorination was halted because of wild exagerations of the effect of chlorine byproducts.


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Posted by Linda Corwin
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 27, 2007 at 8:33 am

Thank you for the in depth article on chloramine. There needs to be more information in the press about chloramine so that people like Walter will realize that we are not against chlorine, it is a much better disinfectant than chloramine and has been tested extensively for its effects on human health. One has to drink a high concentration of chlorine disinfection by-products before there is a small chance of experiencing health problems. Chlorine can be easily filtered out using a basic charcoal filter but chloramine needs extensive and expensive combinations of filters which will only remove most of it.
The rant that chloramine has been used since the turn of the century is specious. It was initially used at at a dose of 0.8 mg/l but now it is being used at a dose of 2.5 to 3.0 mg/l. This is a higher level of chemical than was used for chlorine disinfection.
Recent studies in Japan showed a connection between chloramine and stomach cancer. Studies of disinfection by-products found in chloraminated water found some that are much more dangerous to human health than any formed by chlorine.
Chloramine itself drys skin and mucous membranes causing an allergy-like response. However, allergy medications do not get rid of the symptoms.
Citizens Concerned About Chloramine are asking for a return to chlorine disinfection until proper studies can be done on the ramifications of using chloramine. We very much appreciate Congresswoman Eshoo's efforts to facilitate the meeting between the SFPUC, EPA and CCAC.
Linda Corwin,
Vice President, Citizens Concerned About Chloramine
I live in Pacifica (Please put a choice of "out of town" in your neighborhoods list -thanks)


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Posted by ray siery
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2007 at 6:34 am

Based on EPA's final rule for Disinfectants and Disinfection By-products, the Maximum Residual Disinfection Level Goal (MCLG)and the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL for both chloramine and chlorine is 4 mg/L. Further, there are 3 forms of chloramines that are monitored by the utilities to ensure effective formation of beneficial chloramine: monochloramine, dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride (a.k.a. trichloramine). The chloramine MCLG is based on monochloramine content. Monochloramine is considered most effective (in some scientific work more effective than chlorine) at reducing formation of trihalomethanes (THM) and haloacetic acids (HAA). These are regulated by-products.


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Posted by DontLetTheFactsGetInTheWay
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Linda Corwin:
"One has to drink a high concentration of chlorine disinfection by-products before there is a small chance of experiencing health problems"

Now the facts:

- In 1979, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted a regulated limit on the amount of THMs (chlorine disinfection by-products) allowable in drinking water, a limit which now stands at 80 parts per billion (it was 100 parts per billion initially, but was lowered to 80 after health concerns grew).

- Why the limit? Because THMs cause a significant increase in the risk of cancer - specifically bladder and colorectal cancer. THMs are also suspected to damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. High levels of THMs may also have an effect on pregnancy - a California study found that pregnant women who drank large amounts of tap water with high THMs had an increased risk of miscarriage.

So Linda, is 80 parts per BILLION really a "high concentration" and should cancer, liver/kidney/central nervous system and miscarriages be brushed aside as mere generic/minor "health problems"?


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Posted by ray siery
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:24 am

Check out the presentation of impact of chloramination on SanFran's Hetch Hetchy water 3 yrs after switching from chlorine. This was presented at the Amer. Water Works Assoc. (AWWA) conference this past June. Go to sfwater.org. It shows a chart of customer complaints and what customers can do to neutralize the chloramine if they're sensitive to it.


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Posted by WillNotGiveYouABreak
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2007 at 5:57 pm

I would like to respond GiveMeABreak's comment, "The folks complaining about this are the same ones who think that fluoride shouldn't be added to the water because its a communist mind-control plot!" By GiveMeABreak's comment, the implication is clear. If you have any concern about water fluoridation, you are paranoid about a "...communist mind-control plot!" I disagree with GiveMeABreak's smear. The following top scientists are adamently against water fluoration for good reason: Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Laureate scientist; Dr. J. Willaim Hirzy, Senior Vice President EPA Headquarters Union; Doug Everingham, former Federal Health Minister for Australia. To read about the health implications of water fluoridation, go to Web Link, and investigate the EPA Union position paper opposing water fluoridation at the EPA Union's own website Web Link. Based on a long history of poor drinking water standards in our country, folks are not crazy to be concerned about chloramine, fluoridation, MTBEs, and many other toxins that are deliberately put in our drinking water. You are not paranoid if they are really out to get you!


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Posted by Elizabeth F Cole MD
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Agree chlorine is a better water disinfectant in general at this time. (However, chloramine is said to of greater efficacy in situations of gross septic contamination on an emergency level.) As for the cancer threats from the trihalomethanes austensibly caused by chlorine, chloramine itself has been reported by worthy scientists to produce them in several sites in US and this depends on the geologic substrate/native flora there where native water is susceptable before it meets the local municipality. Regarding damage to pipe structures in homes and public buildings, it is known that chloramine can cause copper pitting within pipes, leaking of water into the structure, subsequent mold damage to the buildings, each of which is unique and poorly understood by most owners. With certainty, some individuals have respiratory, eye, and skin sensitivity to chloramine. There are complex reasons why, individual's susceptablilty as well as chemical alterations able to affect populations by area. I am not sure what else results during the future, but reality is, that something we don't know is happening and that research funds for these studies is not is on the web. Ask questions of it. (Osha, also a fed govt agency did report that chloramine is one of the most frequent causes of industrial accidents, janitors for instance.) Formidable to the health of all populations individually and culturally is chloramine's capability of releasing lead from anywhere along the entire pipeline from the municipal water supplier, meters,especially in one's own home, workplace, recreation area. Lead leaching from pipes, water meters, plumbing in the building is most dangerous,least known of all, and depends upon multiple factors to detect, use of proper testing techniques at multiple outlets in homes. Water fountains, especially at playgrounds, schools, and other public facilities receiving attention have been found all over the US to cause elevated lead levels in users. Home damage repair is not paid for by the EPA! or your municpality,some munipalities have not tested accurately even about release of lead though their own systems. And there have been many instances of false testing, con artist testing. Aging pipes, their connectors, even "new" ones,in spite of laws forbidding their use can release unacceptable levels of lead and copper, depending on their location within buildings, how much water passes though vs lying stagnant, temperature, and other factors. Yes, use your search engine, and find out that the EPA has lied to the public, still thinks of blaming lead paint and gasoline, that lead poisoning in children is from kids eating dirt (!)especially those with lower income and social status. And it has steadfastly insisted blood lead levels acceptable far higher than the best science insists. EPA never wavering, no response. Again, industry through government wins over science. Children, developing humans, certainly are damaged by lead more than adults, but the effects on adults are known but largely ignored...re heart, blood pressure, liver, and other organ systems including the most sensitive, the nervous system, intellect, the most important factor in our culture. Even adults lose IQ from lead ingestion. Aquaria have lost valuable remnants of extinct species by changing water to chloraminating sources. When any other animal is killed by any given substance, you'd better know what you are doing, LEARN, RESEARCH, insist. Search on the web and you will find the best scientific arguments possible,just ask the questiond, but not from information given out by the the EPA. This is a very very important issue. chlorine and ammonia are produced by the oil industrials. And know, If you want it changed, it will cost local taxpayers a lot of money to have it changed with the changes required within your local water facility equipment, they people you pay your water bill to. Expect that, and accept it. The changeover back to chlorine can be quite difficult for the first while . It is not easy.
I think it is time to stop the EPA from requiring use of chloramine, allow localities to educate themseleves and decide, knowing that it is not a free ride and that changeover must be done carefully.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AllABushClintonCommieThePopePlot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:09 pm

"You are not paranoid if they are really out to get you!"

Who's "they" - Bush, Clinton, the Commies, maybe even the Pope????


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ray siery
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2007 at 6:54 am

Chloramines are formed by adding ammonia to free chlorine generally at a ratio of 1 part ammonia to 5 parts chlorine. In other words, you still need chlorine to make chloramine.


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Posted by WillNotGiveYouABreak
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2007 at 4:33 pm

AllABushClintonCommieThePopePlot wrote, "Who's 'they' - Bush, Clinton, the Commies, maybe even the Pope????"

"They" includes organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Dental Association (ADA). The scientific views presented by these organizations are unproven and based on fraudulent science. For evidence of fraud, read "The Fluoride Deception" by award winning BBC film producer Christopher Bryson. If you are still not convinced, read the International Academy Of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) Position on Fluoridation Web Link. The IAOMT has an advisory committee of world leaders in biochemistry, toxicology, and environmental medicine. According to the IAOMT, "....fluoride added to the public water supply, or prescribed as controlled-dose supplements, delivers no discernible health benefit, and causes a higher incidence of adverse health effects." EVERYONE SHOULD FORCE OUR PUBLIC SERVANTS (NOT OFFICIALS) TO BAN WATER FLUORIDATION AND CHLORAMINE (Fluoride is already banned in many places in Europe).


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Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Walter,

You are correct that because of the "anti-chemical mania" that accompanied the EPA's regulating certain disinfection byproducts of chlorine (THMs and HAAs), some water distribution systems in foreign countries stopped using *any* residual disinfectant in tap water, with disasterous consequences. That is not what the EPA intended, but it is what happened.

I think you will agree that Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC) wasn't responsible for that particular "anti-chemical mania."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2007 at 5:10 pm

GiveMeABreak,

The members of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC) are not the same folks who have complained about fluoride. CCAC takes no position on fluoride. CCAC does not claim that chloramine is a communist mind-control plot. CCAC does claim that many of the people who think their symptoms are due to chloramine have personal experimental evidence to back it up. CCAC asks for legitimate scientific research.

If you are unwilling to reveal your real name, you do not deserve a break.


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Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2007 at 10:53 am

Ray,

Re your comment of 8-29-07, 6:34:

It's true that EPA's Maximum Residual Disinfection Level Goal (abbreviated MRDLG) is 4 mg/L for both chloramine and chlorine (measuring only the chlorine part of chloramine). EPA's Maximum Residual Disinfection Level (abbreviated MRDL) is also 4 mg/L for both chloramine and chlorine (measuring only the chlorine part of chloramine). (The MRDL is a limit that may not be exceeded; the MRDLG says how much less would be even better.)

The EPA says that the only reason it specified an MRDL for the disinfectant was to limit disinfection byproducts. In a way, since they also specify Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for the regulated byproducts (THMs and HAAs) directly, specifying an MRDL seems redundant.

Since chloramine and chlorine are known to make different amounts of byproducts, it makes no sense to me that their MRDLs should be the same (if byproducts are the only reason to have an MRDL).

Whenever chlorine and ammonia are mixed in water, monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine are formed. How much of each is formed depends on factors like the pH and the ratio of chlorine to ammonia. SFPUC claims that they control these factors so that almost no dichloramine and trichloramine are formed. (They don't talk about what can happen later if the pH changes.)

The EPA does not require water distribution systems to measure how much monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine are in the water. The EPA requires only that they measure the chlorine part of whatever chlorine and/or chloramines are present.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appreciative
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Sep 1, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Jeff, awesome, useful, well-written and factual posts.

Thanks


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Ray,

Re your comment of 8-30-07, 10:24:

Is this the SFPUC presentation you meant?
<Web Link;
The trouble with presentation visuals is that they don't contain the information that was presented orally. So they are hard to debunk.

It's not clear from the presentation visuals what a member of the public has to do to have his complaint counted.

The chart on slide 39 seems to say that from 2004 to 2006, SFDPH logged only 11 calls from people complaining about skin problems. However, between September 2004 and January 31 2005, SFDPH did a phone survey in which they asked SFPUC customers to tell them about skin problems they thought were caused by what was in the water. The results were reported here:
<Web Link;
The report claims that the survey was "widely publicized," but CCAC didn't find out about it until late January. Seventeen people were allowed to participate. People who weren't currently manifesting symptoms because they had stopped using the water weren't allowed to participate. I won't discuss here the validity of the survey. But the chart on slide 39 apparently means that SFDPH didn't "log" the calls pertaining to the survey.

Slide 42 names some "Customer Chloramine Removal Options." But I suspect that adding vitamin C, fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, and/or chicken stock to chloraminated water doesn't "remove" the chloramine, and whether it "neutralizes" the chloramine is at best controversial.

NSF certifies filters for chloramine reduction (not removal) according to its NSF/ANSI Standard 42, "Drinking water treatment units -- Aesthetic Effects," not its NSF/ANSI Standard 53, "Drinking water treatment units -- Health Effects." (Whose job is it to tell NSF what's a health effect and what's an aesthetic effect?) According to this source:
<Web Link;
the standard certifies that chloramine is reduced from 3 mg/L to less than 0.5 mg/L (measuring only the chlorine part of monochloramine), with fine-print exceptions. This might not be good enough to be safe for all people.

Slide 42 claims that boiling water for 20 minutes removes chloramine; slide 41 says there is confusion in the literature on this point; EPA says boiling water does not remove chloramine.
<Web Link;

In short, I think SFPUC's presentation evinces a "let-them-eat-cake" attitude.


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Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2007 at 1:11 pm

(attempting to fix the URLs in my previous post)

Ray,

Re your comment of 8-30-07, 10:24:

Is this the SFPUC presentation you meant?
Web Link
The trouble with presentation visuals is that they don't contain the information that was presented orally. So they are hard to debunk.

It's not clear from the presentation visuals what a member of the public has to do to have his complaint counted.

The chart on slide 39 seems to say that from 2004 to 2006, SFDPH logged only 11 calls from people complaining about skin problems. However, between September 2004 and January 31 2005, SFDPH did a phone survey in which they asked SFPUC customers to tell them about skin problems they thought were caused by what was in the water. The results were reported here:
Web Link
The report claims that the survey was "widely publicized," but CCAC didn't find out about it until late January. Seventeen people were allowed to participate. People who weren't currently manifesting symptoms because they had stopped using the water weren't allowed to participate. I won't discuss here the validity of the survey. But the chart on slide 39 apparently means that SFDPH didn't "log" the calls pertaining to the survey.

Slide 42 names some "Customer Chloramine Removal Options." But I suspect that adding vitamin C, fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, and/or chicken stock to chloraminated water doesn't "remove" the chloramine, and whether it "neutralizes" the chloramine is at best controversial.

NSF certifies filters for chloramine reduction (not removal) according to its NSF/ANSI Standard 42, "Drinking water treatment units -- Aesthetic Effects," not its NSF/ANSI Standard 53, "Drinking water treatment units -- Health Effects." (Whose job is it to tell NSF what's a health effect and what's an aesthetic effect?) According to this source:
Web Link
the standard certifies that chloramine is reduced from 3 mg/L to less than 0.5 mg/L (measuring only the chlorine part of monochloramine), with fine-print exceptions. This might not be good enough to be safe for all people.

Slide 42 claims that boiling water for 20 minutes removes chloramine; slide 41 says there is confusion in the literature on this point; EPA says boiling water does not remove chloramine.
Web Link

In short, I think SFPUC's presentation evinces a "let-them-eat-cake" attitude.


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Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Ray,

Re your comment of 8-31-07, 6:54:

Since monochloramine is NH2Cl, it requires one atom of nitrogen for each atom of chlorine. Some water distribution systems add a little more ammonia, to avoid forming dichloramine and trichloramine. Some water distribution systems add a litle less ammonia, to avoid nitrification.

Most water distribution systems that use chloramine as the residual disinfectant still use chlorine as the primary disinfectant, because it is a much more effective disinfectant. While chlorine is being used as the primary disinfectant, it is also making THMs and HAAs (if organic matter precursors are present). If the ammonia is put in too soon after the chlorine is put in, primary disinfection is compromised. If the ammonia is put in too late, more THMs and HAAs are formed than might be wished.

Some water distribution systems prefilter organic matter precursors out of the water before chlorine is added, as a way of reducing THMs and HAAs.


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Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2007 at 1:47 pm

DontLetTheFactsGetInTheWay,

I invite you to reveal your real name, and affiliation, if any.

Re your comment of 8-29-07, 22:11:

This 2006 EPA document provides some perspective:
Web Link
None of the 4 regulated THMs or 5 HAAs is a "known" carcinogen. (Some are "likely," some are "suspected," and for some there is "inadequate" data for assessment.) EPA sets THM and HAA limits so that *if* they were carcinogenic, they would cause cancer in at most one person in 10,000, if 70-kg adults drank 2 liters per day for a lifetime.

Although a California study found that THMs might cause miscarriages, a later, more comprehensive study found it more likely that they don't.
Web Link execSum/PDFReports/91088F.pdf

Before 2004, when SFPUC was still using chlorine as the residual disinfectant, many of the communities it serves were in compliance with EPA's THM and HAA limits. If SFPUC were to switch back to chlorine, that would probably still be the case.

When Dr. Plewa recommends switching back to chorine, he's not being insensitive to the health effects of THMs and HAAs; he's saying that the health effects of chloramine's byproducts are worse.


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Posted by Jeff Hoel
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 1, 2007 at 1:50 pm

(my apologies for not getting the URLs right the first time)

DontLetTheFactsGetInTheWay,

I invite you to reveal your real name, and affiliation, if any.

Re your comment of 8-29-07, 22:11:

This 2006 EPA document provides some perspective:
Web Link
None of the 4 regulated THMs or 5 HAAs is a "known" carcinogen. (Some are "likely," some are "suspected," and for some there is "inadequate" data for assessment.) EPA sets THM and HAA limits so that *if* they were carcinogenic, they would cause cancer in at most one person in 10,000, if 70-kg adults drank 2 liters per day for a lifetime.

Although a California study found that THMs might cause miscarriages, a later, more comprehensive study found it more likely that they don't.
Web Link

Before 2004, when SFPUC was still using chlorine as the residual disinfectant, many of the communities it serves were in compliance with EPA's THM and HAA limits. If SFPUC were to switch back to chlorine, that would probably still be the case.

When Dr. Plewa recommends switching back to chorine, he's not being insensitive to the health effects of THMs and HAAs; he's saying that the health effects of chloramine's byproducts are worse.


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Posted by GoodForALaugh
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2007 at 12:12 am

WillNotGiveYouABreak:
""They" includes organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Dental Association (ADA). The scientific views presented by these organizations are unproven and based on fraudulent science."

Oh, yea, a bunch of radical extremists are those 3 groups. Aren't they part of Bush's "Axis of Evil."?

Chloramine, fluoride, what's next - that "minerals" in the water are killing us???


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Posted by Ellen Powell
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 2, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Thank you, Jeff, for the time and effort for making some clarity here.

The bottom line is that there are hundreds, and probably thousands, of people suffering from respiratory, skin, and/or digestive effects since their water districts switched over to chloramine. Go to Photo Gallery II on chloramine.org and scroll down until you see the "before" and "after" photos of the man in Vermont. He is a friend of mine. I saw with my own eyes what happened to his skin after the conversion to chloramine. I was the one who took the "after" photos of his face, chest, back, legs and head. We have plenty of others here with the same problem. And there are other eople here who cannot BREATHE since the chloramine went into the water; some with exploding digestive systems! You can't take photos of those- but they are just as severe.

It's different for people who don't get an immediate chemical reaction. You can sit around and debate this and that about chloramine- how they test for it, whether there is a test for di and trichloramines, how much chloramine in the water is too much, etc. For some of us, ANY is too much and we need it out NOW.

Given that chloramine has not been tested as a water disinfectant for skin or respiratory health effects and the studies for digestive effects are only a handful, none of which include cooking in chloraminated water, what Dr. David Ozonoff, MD, MPH Chair Emeritus, Department of Environmental Health, B.U. School of Pubic Health says is particularly important: "A close temporal relationship between the treatment change and the complaints of water users strongly suggests that one is the cause of the other." He also says, "In any event, health complaints from water users attendant upon any treatment change are a red flag and need attention."

So who's minding the store on this? People Concerned About Chloramine, Citizens Concerned About Chloramine, Vermonters for a Clean environment and other groups who are forming in NY, PA, OK, and FL- that we know of- so far. We are all working tirelessly. We want to shower at home again. SAFELY.

Those of you who don't feel any effects of chloramine had better hope that chloramine comes out of our water. We are the canaries in the coal mine. There's the incredibly important issue of disinfection byproducts. Chloramine's are a lot more toxic; it looks like chloramine can permeate cells a break DNA strands- and you can't get chloramine out of the water like you can chlorine. We are having chloramine forced on us and there's no reasonable way to get it out of the water- like I'm going to put lemon juice in the water I make my coffee with- blech! And who really knows if that works? Does it work a little? Does it take 100% of chloramine out of the water? Is neutralizing the same as removal as far as health effects go? No one knows anything about chloramine as a water disinfectant.

Until studies are done, it's anyone's guess. We're the lab rats in this experiment.

By the way, this website won't let me choose "other" for a neighborhood, so today I live in Adobe Meados. But I really live in Vermont.


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Posted by Gary Norris
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2007 at 12:47 pm

I hereby acknowledge at the very outset, that I am openly opposed to the injection of the TOXIC AMMONIA NITROGEN POLLUTANT into potable drinking water systems nationwide to form what I consider to be a deadly "pestilence" called chloramine; a "so called" viable alternative to the Free Chlorine Residual mode of disinfection that has and continues to protect global humanity from the devastating ravages caused by water-borne disease. As I read through the comments posted at the conclusion of this very welcomed and informative article above, I realize that because of my long career in wastewater treatment plant operations that I am able to supply some informative insight about the "suggested" use of chloramine as but ONE of many "options available for consideration" by water utilities nationwide to enable them to achieve compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA's) mandated Disinfection and Disinfection Byproducts Rules.

I am a 1976 graduate of the Water & Wastewater Technical School at Neosho, MO and a former Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager who retired in early 2004. Throughout my career in wastewater purification, I always honored and respected the USEPA. There was always an ongoing concerted commitment directed toward continuously achieving the ultimate goal of protecting the public served and the environment as a whole. I must sadly admit that my genuine admiration for the USEPA diminished considerably earlier this year when I learned about the deadly chloramine "pestilence" that my local water utility, with USEPA approval, had freely elected to impose upon the consuming public with only a minimum of information supplied before it became an extremely painful reality for all citizens served on June 18, 2007.

When I enrolled at the Water & Wastewater Technical School in October 1975, I was issued a copy of the Manual of Water Utility Operations prepared by the Texas Water Utilities Association, Sixth Edition, Copyright 1975. The text book opens with the following TEXAS WATER UTILITIES ASSOCIATION CODE OF ETHICS; with portions pertinent to the present issue being quoted as follows:

"As one engaged in providing a public water supply and treatment of sewage for the people I serve, I hold to these principles:

1. To the best of my ability, I shall conduct all operations under my control in such a manner that will, as far as the means made available permit, provide adequate services, preserve the public health and furnish protection of public property.
4. I believe that honorable competition for advancement and for opportunity to render more responsible service is an essential part of democratic civilization - upon which rests real improvement and progress. I shall not permit my ambition for advancement to cause me to act unfairly towards others associated with me.
5. I shall by all legitimate means strive to improve the public appreciation of the services rendered by myself and by any associates to the end that employment in public water and sewage works operations is recognized by all as a profession having great responsibility for the health and welfare of all people.
6. Always bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state and my community, and to give to them my unswerving loyalty in word, act and deed."

CHLORAMINE disinfection of potable drinking water supplies DOES NOT meet these admirable ETHICAL STANDARDS! Tt is a grossly unstudied mode of water purification with weaker disinfection properties that places the health and wellbeing of the population served at risk.

My initial concern following the realization that the local water utility was converting to chloramines was the very real threat it poses for increased LEACHING of LEAD into our drinking water. There is available, on-line, an extremely lengthy (462 Pages but don't be intimidated!) document provided by the USEPA entitled: 'Simultaneous Compliance Guidance Manual For the Long Term 2 and Stage 2 DBP Rules' ("GOOGLE" the title) dated March 2007. Scrool down to Page 3 of 462 which provides the PURPOSE of the Guidance Manual. As evidenced folks, there is NO MANDATORY USEPA REQUIREMENT TO CONVERT TO CHLORAMINES DISINFECTION!

Chapter 5 entitled: "Alternative Disinfection Strategies" begins on Page 127 of 462 with a description of the chloramine alternative OPTION presented first in Section 5.1 with MY VERY DARKEST FEARS CONFIRMED! in Section 5.1.2; to be detailed throughout Pages 129-138 of 462. These EXTREMELY NEGATIVE potential issues associated with the use of CHLORAMINES DID NOT leave me with any "warm and fuzzy feelings"! The USEPA's 462 Page Disinfection and Disinfection Byproducts "Bible" so to speak, fails to provide 'Recommendations for Addressing' the "assault and battery" issues that chloramine has and continues to inflict upon so many of us nationwide, not only in the San Francisco Bay, CA area.

So very many of us nationwide are indebted to the wonderful founders of the Citizens Concerned About Chloramines Web Link website for graciously providing the information about the various physical maladies we began experiencing; providing confirmation that these afflictions were not the figment of our imaginations but directly attributed to the deadly chloramine "pestilence" present in our "so called" purified tap water! The Citizens Concerned About Chloramines website is a veritable gold mine of important information and research documentation; with contact listings of caring and concerned people nationwide, dedicated to helping one another in a unified effort to get the CHLORAMINE "PESTILENCE" out of our respective water supplies!

The bottom line is as follows: The Disinfection Byproducts associated with potable water disinfection using the Free Chlorine Residual mode is its reaction with the Total Organic Carbon present in the raw water source. Enhanced removal of these pollutants by various proven treatment technologies PRIOR to Free Chlorine Residual disinfection should be the principle goal for consideration by utilities that will ultimately reduce the concentrations of the Disinffection Byproducts in finished drinking water to levels at or below the established concentrations mandated by the USEPA.

The ultimate goal in water purification, albeit for the production of potable drinking water or the responsible treatment of the resulting wastewater are IDENTICAL! I spent my entire career in wastewater purification assisted by fellow environmentalists dligently removing the ammonia nitrogen pollutant present in those waste sreams to again, protect both the public served and the environment. You constantly strive, to the best of one's ability in conjunction with the available technology, to remove the harmful organic and chemical pollutants contained therein; YOU DON"T REINTRODUCE THEM! In the final analysis,it's all "WASTE" WATER!

When I asked an extremely knowledgeable environmental engineer to provide me with some semblance of moral logic that might possibly justify the introduction of the ammonia nitrogen pollutant into a potable drinking water system, I was provided with the following FAMOUS LAST WORDS: "Everything considered, to add AMMONIA to finished drinking water could rightly be construed as COUNTER INTUITIVE!" End of discussion!


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 3, 2007 at 10:34 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by NotGoodForALaugh
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm

About GoodForALaugh's comment, "Oh, yea, a bunch of radical extremists are those 3 groups." All I stated was, "The scientific views presented by these organizations are unproven and based on fraudulent science." I did not state that people at the CDC, ADA, and WHO are "radical extremists" or part of Bush's 'Axis of Evil.'" Just as some people at the EPA mean well, I am sure some people at the CDC, ADA, and WHO mean well also. As I mentioned in a prior post, the EPA's own union of scientists strongly oppose water fluoridation. Watch a top EPA scientist testify before congress about the dangers of water fluoridation Web Link. The EPA's union represents at least 7000 professionals. Am I a crazy conspiracy theorists for echoing the views of 7000 EPA professionals? Toxins in public drinking water are a serious public health problem and not "GoodForALaugh." If you were a victim of Chloramine or fluoridation, you would understand that being poisoned is no laughing matter. I have no connection with the folks of the CCAC, nor do I claim to represent their views. I happen to strongly support CCAC's opposition to Chloramine.


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Posted by Observer of The Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2007 at 5:00 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by JustWondering
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2007 at 11:38 pm

I have a simple question for the fluoride/chloramine fearers out there:
If these are both indeed the toxic nightmares that you make them out to be, why is it that no legitimate, mainstream environmental or public health non-profit - Sierra Club, NRDC, PIRG, heck even Greenpeace - taken up the charge???
Put it another way - if they don't believe you, why should we?


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Posted by ray siery
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2007 at 1:33 pm

To Jeff,
per 9/1/07 10:53 am comment: point taken. However, I must say that utilities do take extra pains to ensure that the chemistry is just right to effect an ideal balance of monochloramines to others. It's costly to make any change in operation. Just because EPA doesn't regulate it doesn't mean the EPA or utilities aren't understanding of the chemistry involved. They do have public safety in mind when performing their important duties.

per 9/1/07 1:11, you have the correct presentation. It's certainly not a comprehensive exposition of the topic, it simply shows what another utility is doing. It is my understanding that you can "dechlorinate" tap water with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and to some extent, dechloraminate. Essentially you're substituting a chlorine or amine for another component assuming the right conditions.

per your 9/1/07 1:31 entry, it takes two nitrogen atoms or 2 ammonia molecules to one of chlorine to form monochloramine. You might be thinking in terms of equivalents. There is a time element involved to the addition of ammonia but it takes longer to disinfect by chloramines versus chlorine. The initial chlorine demand of the water must be compensated for prior to adding the ammonia in the final treatment. Filtering for organic matter prior to treating chemically is an excellent idea to my mind but I'm not sure of costs involved.


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Posted by ray siery
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2007 at 2:41 pm

To Jeff,

per my comment on your 9/1/07 1:31 entry: I stand corrected, it's as you said one nitrogen atom to one chlorine. I was thinking of the gas which is a dimer.


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Posted by Concerned About Fluoride/Chloramine
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2007 at 5:57 pm

In reference to your great question:

"Why is it that no legitimate, mainstream environmental or public health non-profit - Sierra Club, NRDC, PIRG, heck even Greenpeace - taken up the charge???"

In matters concerning human toxicology, the EPA Union is more of a credible source than the Sierra Club, NRDC, PIRG, and Greenpeace. The EPA's official position may differ from the EPA Union, but the fact remains that a large number of scientists at the EPA oppose water fluorodation. The EPA sets the standards for environmental enforcement and regulations. The scientists at the EPA are as legitimate and mainstream as it gets. A maraine biologist at Greenpeace is generally not going to be a expert in the field of human toxicology. Why has no legitimate public health agency done anything about water fluoridation or Chloramine? Should we expect our public servants to come to our rescue? Look at our broken health care system and watch the movie "Sicko" by Michael Moore. In western Europe, most countries banned water fluoridation Web Link. That dispells the myth that an anti-fluoridation stance is illegitimate or not mainstream (at least from a worldly perspective). Looking from an historical perspective, Ed Bernays, father of public relations, promoted water fluoridation. In my view, he could sell anything to anyone. He also promoted cigerettes for the tobacco industry.


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Posted by NoConcernWarranted
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2007 at 12:19 am

"The EPA's official position may differ from the EPA Union, but the fact remains that a large number of scientists at the EPA oppose water fluorodation."

How many scientists and who are they - and don't say it's all 1700 of that union you refer to. The fact is, it's really just one "scientist" - Hirzy - who is a union leader and has been pushing this stuff relentlessly for years now while trying to imply that all his members believe all the wacky stuff he says.

And I'll go back to my original point - if any of this stuff was even halfway credible, the enviros would be all over it. Thus, their silence speaks volumes.


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Posted by ConcernWarranted
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

If what you wrote were true, why did Congress listen to Dr. Hirzy's testimony? Would not Congress just consider Dr. Hirzy a lone nut and ignore him? Since Congress did have to listen to Dr. Hirzy, his voice speaks volumes about the dangers of water fluoridation. If what you wrote is true and Dr. Hirzy was acting alone, why wasn't Dr. Hirzy sued for misrepresenting the views all the EPA Headquarter union members? Even if you can prove that Dr. Hirzy acted alone in his testimoney, you would still be incorrect about the silence of the enviros speaking volumes. Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, do not have the labs, expertise, or the research grants to study the human toxicity of water fluoridation. On questions about the toxicity of water fluoridation, groups such as Greenpeace, would defer to EPA studies. I know it may be difficult for you to accept that water fluoridation is poisoning 180 million people. From a historical perspective, it should not be difficult to believe. How many tabacco executives testified before congress that nicotine is not addictive and how many millions died as a result?





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Posted by ILoveFluoride
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 7, 2007 at 10:25 pm

"If what you wrote were true, why did Congress listen to Dr. Hirzy's testimony? Would not Congress just consider Dr. Hirzy a lone nut and ignore him?"

Congress let all kinds of nuts have there say on a daily basis for a variety of political reasons.

"If what you wrote is true and Dr. Hirzy was acting alone, why wasn't Dr. Hirzy sued for misrepresenting the views all the EPA Headquarter union members?"

He WAS repremanded for doing just that. And everything that comes forth from the "union" on this has his name on it - its his baby!

"Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, do not have the labs, expertise, or the research grants to study the human toxicity of water fluoridation. On questions about the toxicity of water fluoridation, groups such as Greenpeace, would defer to EPA studies."

Enviros NEVER have the labs, expertise or $$$ to study anything themselves - and there have been PLENTY of times when they've questioned EPA studies.

"I know it may be difficult for you to accept that water fluoridation is poisoning 180 million people."

You got that right - me and everyone else out here!

"How many tabacco executives testified before congress that nicotine is not addictive and how many millions died as a result?"

So now you're equating "dentists" with tobacco executives and implying that people will die from water fluoridation. Oh boy - don't you get it - Dr. Strangelove was FICTION, not a documentary!


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Posted by ConcernWarranted
a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2007 at 6:19 pm

"Congress let all kinds of nuts have there say on a daily basis for a variety of political reasons."

Let us get real. Congress will only hear what they want to hear, unless forced to whitewash something that is controversial. If Hirzy was just a nobody, they would have ignored him.

"He WAS repremanded for doing just that. And everything that comes forth from the "union" on this has his name on it - its his baby!"

What do you think happens to whistle blowers? Of course, he got reprimanded, but again, was he ever sued for misrepresenting the views of a large group EPA scientists?

"Enviros NEVER have the labs, expertise or $$$ to study anything themselves - and there have been PLENTY of times when they've questioned EPA studies."

Yes, I agree there have been times the enviros have questioned the EPA. It is good you realize that the EPA has the labs, expertise, and the dollars.

"You got that right - me and everyone else out here!"

Everyone? Really? You failed to mention millions of western Europeans who banned water fluoridation.

"So now you're equating "dentists" with tobacco executives and implying that people will die from water fluoridation. Oh boy - don't you get it - Dr. Strangelove was FICTION, not a documentary!"

I was not equating dentists with tobacco executives. Most dentists mean well, but have been mislead by outdated, fraudulent science. Many biological dentists now know that fluoride is highly toxic and take precautions. Biological dentists not only have a background in dentistry, but are degreed in biochemistry and other sciences.


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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Woodside
on Sep 29, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Having suffered severe rashes, shortness of breath, watching a grandchild be born with the same rash on its face and then having two incidents o "blue baby" syndrome-probably because chloramine increases nitrogen which decrease the oxygen supply to the heart-,I was very depressed to not have been given a say or to be given respect
at all of the many meetings that I and the Menlo Park group attended in good faith, and armed with scientific research. All this began shortly after the SFPUC decided to dose our water with chloramine on February 2004. Regardless of the fact that additional studies done by top EPA researchers, show that the secondary disinfection by-products formed from chloramine treated water are considered lethal toxins, which they know are killing people,and cause spontaneous abortions.

The question is, how moral is the agenda 21, UN mandate requiring "Zero Population Growth",which reflects the ideology contained in the Stanford Farms Population Bomb social workers for manking beliefs that there are too many people for too few resources?


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Posted by Ellen Powell
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 1, 2007 at 4:57 pm

Dear WillNotGiveYouABreak,

Are you also known as RealityCheckPlease on almanacnews.com?

Apparently before a conspiracy-theory comment had even cooled here on paloaltoonline, RealityCheckPlease copied and pasted it it under Debolt's article on almanacnews.com to make the point that we who suffer from health effects of chloraminated water are all a bunch of kooks, which begs the question: who are you really and what is your affiliation? If you are just a Joe Citizen why are you spending so much time and effort to discredit us? It appears "the lady doth protest too much".

Do you dare to put your real name and your affiliation down here so that we know who we are dealing with?

I am not afraid to say who I am: Ellen Powell. I founded People Concerned About Chloramine (PCAC) in Vermont, where we have 210 people who are suffering from health effects from chloraminated water. These symptoms are the same as the symptoms being reported in the San Francisco Bay area and 19 other states and Scotland- to date. This is not a coincidence. Further, we in VT have 50+ of our 210 who have demonstrated cause and effect by going off the chloraminated water, to see their symptoms go away. And they do. Every person who has done this sees their symptoms go away.

I have spoken to CCAC members and read through their website and I know that neither CCAC nor PCAC support conspiracy theories. We are interested in science, not conspiracy theories. We have our hands full with the suffering that is happening due to chloraminated water. Who's got time for conspiracy theories?

It seems to me that, for some reason, you are expending quite a lot of time and energy trying to discredit people suffering from chloraminated water so this thing can be "nipped in the bud". I think you're too late in your efforts. The bud is turning into a flower. There are hundreds of us sufferers across the country who are finding each other through the wonderful internet, and I have no doubt that before this is over, it will come to light that there are thousands or even dare I say possibly millions across the USA, all suffering the same symptoms from the (yet-UNSTUDIED for respiratory and skin effects) health effects of chloramine in our tap water (not to mention digestive problems as well).

This message is mostly the same message I wrote to Mr. RealityCheckPlease at almanacnews.com because I have a feeling you both are one and the same.

P.S. This page won't let me submit unless I select a neighborhood or school community- it will not let me select "other". However, I live in Vermont.


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Posted by WillNotGiveYouABreak
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2007 at 3:50 am

Dear Ellen Powell,

You are mistaken. Like you, I am very much opposed to Chloramine in our water. I did not post any comments about fluoridation on another website. I am not known as RealityCheckPlease, nor do I believe in conspiracy theories. I believe in conspiracy realities based on science. In prior post, I mentioned a noble prize winning scientist who is against water fluoridation. I posted links with scores of scientific articles. I tried to make it clear that I did not represent any of the views of CCAC. In a prior post, I stated, "I have no connection with the folks of the CCAC, nor do I claim to represent their views. I happen to strongly support CCAC's opposition to Chloramine."

For this message board, I responded as NotGoodForALaugh, WillNotGiveYouABreak, and ConcernWarranted. Someone I know is greatly impacted by Chloramine and asked me to respond to GiveYouABreak's comment, "The folks complaining about this are the same ones who think that fluoride shouldn't be added to the water because its a communist mind-control plot!" I wanted to refute the notion that harmful effects fluoridation is a conspiracy theory.

For some reason, you are still not convinced that water fluoridation is harmful. If you are drinking public water, you had better be convinced or your health will deteriorate. I do not want that to happen which is why I spoke out! You wrote that water fluoridation is a "conspiracy theory," but you did not debate me on the facts. Please, just check the facts before making such a comment.

It is not me writing that fluoridation is harmful. Nine hundred and eighty professionals petitioned Congress to have fluoride removed Web Link. Alaska's capital city just voted a resounding no to water fluoridation Web Link.

You asked about who I am. I am excerising my right to privacy and staying anonymous. I have no affiliation with any group. Instead of asking me personal questions, it would be more productive to debate me on the facts. This post should not be about you or me. It is about the harmful effects of Chloramine. Water fluoridation is very important also (180 million people are being harmed by fluoridation).



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Posted by WillNotGiveYouABreak
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2007 at 7:58 am

Correction (the word "just" got dropped...guess I was tired) - "It is not me writing that fluoridation is harmful." I should have wrote, "It is not just me writing that fluoridation is harmful."


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Posted by Gregory
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2007 at 9:47 am

To WillNotGiveYouABreak, after reading all the above posts, I think Ellen was referring to the person calling himself GiveMeABreak. This person has been posting nasty and substanceless comments under several different names. While CCAC takes no position on fluoride I would rather not have it in my water either. It is not like using a disinfectant which is a necessity. If some people think they need fluoride, let them take it in the form of a suppliment. However fluoride is easy to filter out compared to chloramine. I know, I have tried many expensive filters that were supposed to work for chloramine but didn't. Also, even short term exposure to chloramine can cause great harm. I have family members who have severe skin and respiratory problems when they use chloraminated water. They cannot use the tap water at all, not even for bathing! In my opinion, the situation with chloramine is extremely urgent - a top priority!


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Posted by WillNotGiveYouABreak
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Dear Gregory,

Yes. If some fools want fluoride in their water, let them take fluoride pills, but do not poison our entire water system (same goes for chloramine). As for which is more urgent--removal of fluoride or chloramine, it is difficult to say. I see horrible effects for both chloramine and fluoridation. One can argue some people are allergic/hypersensitive to topical fluorides Web Link.
Like chloramine, fluoride is very difficult to remove by filtration. You can buy filters that will reduce fluoride, but these filters use aluminum. Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, if you use allunimum to remove fluoride you are trading one toxin for another.
I think the only way of getting fluoride out cleanly is either through distillation or by a special type of reverse osmosis that uses deionization. High tech companies use reverse osmosis and deionization for their clean rooms. Based on my web searches, I found one company that sells a product that uses reverse osmosis and deionization, but it costs $979.00. The product is The PWS™ BEV 300 sold at Web Link. I already distill my water, but I am also thinking of purchasing the PWS™ BEV 300. If anyone has any experience with this product, please comment. Thanks.

If your group is successful in getting chloramine removed, I hope chloramine is not replaced with something worse. I am a afraid of a "bait and switch." I know your group is primarily focused on removing chloramine, but I caution your group not to lose sight of the "big picture." A healthy awareness of chloramine, fluoride, and ALL water additives/toxins is warranted.


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Posted by Gregory
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2007 at 5:29 pm

Unlike fluoride, chloramine cannot be distilled out of the water. The process of distillation also makes the water more acidic. This leads to the formation of even more toxic forms of chloramine in the distilled product (like di-chloramine). Several people that CCAC has heard from tried to distill their water to rid it of chloramine only to find that it caused them even worse symptoms. After they had that distilled water tested they understood why.
There is no filtration that completely removes chloramine no matter how much money one is willing to spend. People who cannot use chloraminated water because it causes them serious health impacts are stuck using bottled spring water or water from distant areas that still contain only chlorine for all their needs.
The respiratory effect of chloraminated water is life threatening for some - I have actually seen this firsthand. This situation is no joke and it is not right! A simple five minute shower should not be a life endangering event, but now because of chloramine it is for some people. Even the severe digestive problems and extensive skin rashes that lead to open bleeding sores which do not heal can be life threatening.
This is why I consider the immediate removal of chloramine from our water an urgent priority.
Finally CCAC does not want any other improperly tested disinfectant used in the place of chloramine. Instead CCAC recommends using prefiltration to lower the disinfection by-products that the EPA is regulating so that chlorine can be used in place of chloramine.
See www.chloramine.org for more information on CCAC's recommendations.


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