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Chlorine!? Isn’t That for Pools? By Cindy Dittfield

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

If you don’t have a water filtration system in your home, you are, in fact, consuming some chlorine from your water. Here in Northern New Jersey, water coming from your tap has already flowed through your local water treatment plant and chlorine has been added to your drinking water. Realizing this statement may send some of our readers into a tizzy, we wanted to provide you with some pertinent information and options that will settle your nerves.

Why Is Chlorine Being Added to My Drinking Water?

In the late 1800s Alexander Hamilton envisioned the city of Paterson as the nation’s first industrial zone with many dye houses and locomotive works. At the time, tens of thousands of immigrant workers were flocking to the city to find their dreams and settle their extended families. With the onset of this population explosion came many diseases. One of the catalysts for spreading disease was sewage from the city. At the time it was common practice to dump the sewage into Passaic River, which was also used as their drinking water supply.

At the turn of the 20th century, the water-born plagues of typhoid fever and cholera were prolific in the city. Enter, Dr. John L. Leal, a Patersonian. Dr. Leal was hired, as the city’s physician, and part of his duties were to inspect and clean the homes of those who passed from these contagious diseases.

Dr. Leal identified that by using chlorine bleach to clean the surface areas of an infected home, he was able to combat the common, fatal diseases of the time. Once he began to use chlorine bleach to clean, he began to see positive results in the spread of the diseases.

He was convinced that by adding trace amounts of chlorine to the drinking water, it would have the same benefit and effect as it did on surfaces. He began his trials and within a short time, the number of people contracting these diseases was cut in half and eventually the diseases disappeared all together. Dr. Leal went on to be a pioneer in what our water treatment facilities are today.

The Practice Still Lives On

While, we have eliminated these awful water-borne illnesses, our towns are still adding trace amounts of chlorine to our water. For the most part and unless there’s a glitch in the treatment center, there is not egregious amounts of chlorine in the water; however, there are new studies that are opening up discussion about long-term ingesting of chlorine may cause physical ailments. Check your town’s water reports if you would like further information.

For clarity, chlorine begins to smell or taste in the water at 2 parts per million and the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) allows for 4 parts per million. So for the most part, you and your family shouldn’t have concerns.

That Being Said…

Today we are our own advocates, and we take matters into our own hands as much as we can. Living today with all the available technology, we take our responsibilities as consumers very seriously because we can essentially learn anything and everything we need to protect ourselves and our families. If chlorine in your water is a concern, then the best course of action and certainly to maintain control over your own water-drinking scenario, a home water filtration system is ideal for you. Not only can you rest assured that any trace minerals or bacteria are being collected, but your water will be chlorine free.

~ Cindy Dittfield, writer for Passaic Bergen Water Softening


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