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Is Chlorinated Water Safe to Drink?

Our lives depend heavily on water, especially the tap water that runs through our homes. 71% of Americans said they occasionally consume tap water. We use it for cleaning, laundry, and bathing, even if we don’t drink it. Most Americans also fret about the quality of their water. According to a recent Gallup poll, 63% of Americans say that chlorine in drinking water is something they “care a great deal” about, which is the highest level of concern since 2017.

People may consider their water quality first when considering recent water catastrophes, such as lead pollution in some areas of the United States. But less noticeable toxins in drinking water, like chlorine, can also be a problem.

Does consuming chlorine pose a risk? While drinking chlorinated water won’t harm you immediately, it could negatively impact your health in the long term. Below we will discuss chlorination, the use of chlorine in water, the side effects of chlorine in drinking water, and ways to remove chlorine from water.

What Is Chlorination?

Chlorination is the process of introducing chlorine to water to disinfect it and eradicate viruses, germs, and parasites. Various techniques can help to get drinking water with safe levels of chlorine. Small chlorine levels in water do not have adverse health effects and offer defense against the spread of waterborne diseases.

Why Is Chlorine Used?

Drinking water chlorination is a tested, highly safe, and efficient public health measure. Chlorine is a secure method of preventing hazardous microorganisms from contaminating drinking water supplies. Chlorine is not only safe to use, but it is also easy, dependable, efficient, and reasonably priced.

The techniques and tools required to chlorinate water are efficient and well-constructed, which is why people have used them for so long and in many places. A small amount of chlorine left in the water system after treatment is another significant advantage of utilizing chlorine to treat drinking water. When you get water in your tap, the residual chlorine protects you from germs and other organic impurities.

Is it Safe to Drink Chlorinated Water?

Yes, it is safe to drink chlorinated water, but the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has restricted the amount of chlorine, which is 4 mg/L, suitable for human consumption. The agency also estimates Americans consume 300–600 times the recommended daily chlorine intake. This is why many people wonder if consuming tap water can harm their health, as it might contain high levels of chlorine.

Consuming water that contains the restricted amount of chlorine does not present a severe threat due to the low quantity of chlorine in water systems. Chlorinated water could have bleach or chemical odor and flavor. These effects may differ depending on how close your residence is to the water treatment facility.

What levels of Chlorine Concentrations Are Acceptable In Drinking Water?

Drinking water can safely include up to 4 mg/L of chlorine (or 4 ppm). At this concentration, negative health impacts are unlikely to happen.

What are the possible side effects of chlorine in drinking water?

tap water overflowing glass

Drinking tap water containing chlorine can affect your health in several ways. According to respectable medical professionals and the World Health Organization (WHO), excessive exposure to chlorine by drinking or skin contact can result in serious health concerns.

Chlorine’s reaction with the minuscule organic particles in water results in the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs), including chloroform. These chemical substances have a connection to several harmful health effects. The following are some possible negative impacts of chlorinated water:

Asthma Symptoms

According to one study, swimming pool exposure to chlorine increases the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma in swimmers—regardless of whether the swimmers have ever experienced asthma symptoms or not—and whether the pool’s chlorine levels are below the range safe.

Bathing or showering in chlorinated tap water exposes you to chlorine through your skin and allows you to breathe in the chlorinated vapor. Chlorinated drinking water can make respiratory issues worse for those who already have them.

Food Allergies

Dichlorophenols utilized in insecticides and water chlorination were the subject of a recent study examining their impacts. The study discovered that people with the most dichlorophenols in their bodies also had the greatest likelihood of food allergies. Though the effects of chlorinated water and dichlorophenols in pesticides may be comparable, the latter was not the focus of this investigation.

Congenital Abnormalities

A study of over 400,000 people revealed that pregnant women at the time of their exposure to trihalomethanes in chlorinated tap water had a higher risk of having children with one of three congenital disabilities: ventricular septal defects, cleft palates, or holes in the heart, or underdeveloped brains.

Should I remove chlorine from my water?

Yes, you should consider removing chlorine from water. Since excessive exposure to chlorine can lead to multiple health problems, therefore, purifying the water is necessary.

After you test your chlorine levels, here is a thorough list of techniques you may use to remove chlorine from your regular drinking water so you can prevent the risks associated with drinking water that has chlorine.

DROP Whole House Cartridge Filter

Carbon Filtration

Under-the-sink carbon filtering is the most popular type and helps to eliminate chlorine, volatile organic compounds, poor tastes, and odors. A whole-house water filtration system is another option, and it is connected to the house’s existing pipes as soon as the city water supply enters the building. It ensures that every drop of water entering the house is filtered, allowing residents to use chlorine-free water for drinking and showers.


It is one of the easiest ways to remove chlorine from water. Since chlorine is exceedingly volatile, it will quickly evaporate  – just let the water stand if you don’t want to pay money to remove it. Despite taking much longer, this approach is almost as successful as filtering.

DROP Reverse Osmosis System

Reverse Osmosis

Residential reverse osmosis (RO) systems are among the most efficient household drinking water systems available today, and they can indeed remove chlorine.

The best-tasting, highest-quality drinking water is accessible using an advanced reverse osmosis system certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) to remove impurities. Most reverse osmosis systems are in the kitchen and provide years of crystal-clear, filtered water. They are an affordable, healthful alternative to purchasing bottled water, and they are reasonable to maintain.

Chemical Neutralization

Chemical neutralization is an additional method for removing chlorine from water, and it entails putting additional chemicals in the water. Potassium metabisulfite is probably the best chemical to employ for chemical neutralization. The tablet will efficiently neutralize the chlorine after dissolving it in the water before evaporating. This method is excellent for removing chlorine and chloramine. The technique is also quick, and it should be able to remove chlorine in just a few minutes.

The Bottom Line

Even though water systems add the necessary quantity of water disinfectants to the public water supplies, you should check the chlorine level in your tap water and avoid using too much chlorine in your daily water use. It is advisable to remove chlorine and chloramine from water in some way to prevent significant health risks and long-lasting adverse effects of chlorinated water. Local health departments often track chlorine exposure and its effects on health. Moreover, they ensure that the households receive allowable chlorine levels in the tap water.

The above methods might not wholly rid water of chlorine, chloramine, or their by-products. Nevertheless, these are very efficient ways to avoid the harmful effects of high chlorine and chloramine levels.


  • https://www.drinking-water.org/treatment/how-to-remove-chlorine/#How_to_Remove_Chlorine_From_Water
  • https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/chlorination.html
  • https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/chemical_terrorism/chlorine_general.htm
  • https://waterandhealth.org/safe-drinking-water/chlorinated-tap-water-benefits-and-risks/
  • https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/water_disinfection.html
  • https://www.safewater.org/fact-sheets-1/2017/1/23/what-is-chlorination
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