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Pregnant Women and Others Can Easily Avoid Risks Associated With Chlorinated Water, According to Water Quality Association.

LISLE, Ill. -- Chlorination of public drinking water may lead to harmful chemical byproducts such as chloroform, trihalomethanes, and haloacetic acids flowing from home taps according to a study released by the Environmental Working Group and the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.

The January 8 study reports that such byproducts in drinking water may put pregnant women at a higher risk for miscarriages, neural tube defects, and reduced fetal growth. At the same time, physicians universally recommend that pregnant women drink plenty of water.

The issue is complex. Chlorination of public drinking water ensures that consumers have safe drinking water according to the Water Quality Association. "Together with filtration, chlorination is one of the greatest public health advancements of this millennium," notes WQA Executive Director Peter Censky. Unfortunately, however, chlorination does introduce potentially toxic contaminant byproducts.

In addition to the risks to pregnant women, chlorination byproducts have been shown to elevate the incidence of bladder cancer. EPA estimates the maximum health benefit of their new THM (trihalomethane) standard -- reduced from 100 ppb to 80 ppb -- as a potential reduction of 2,332 cases of bladder cancer per year. EPA currently estimates 9,300 bladder cancer cases per year due to THM contamination of drinking water.

There is a solution to the dilemma however. "Consumers can have the best of both worlds when it comes to their household water supply. Municipal water treatment systems must continue to use essential chlorination processes to safeguard against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Fortunately, there are several at-home devices that cheaply and simply remove possible chlorine byproducts," Harrison notes.

In addition to safeguarding pregnant women and potential bladder cancer victims from than 100 potentially toxic chlorination byproduct compounds, commonly available home filtration units can also remove the unpleasant tastes and smells associated with chlorinated water.


Contact: John B. Ferguson, Communications Manager - Executive Editor of Water Quality Association, +1-630-505-0160 x509, Fax +1-630-505-9637,

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Date:Jan 11, 2002
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