When chlorine has evaporated it leaves salts behind. To repeatedly add
chlorine to one's soils does leave a residue that increases with time,
until eventually the soil could be harmed.
There is nothing harmless about adding chlorine to water, it's merely
that the bacterial agents & amoebas & funguses & sundry microbes that
we would be exposed to without the city treating the water would be
vastly more harmful. This is for human & animal exposures; the same
relative risk to benefit factor falls more to the risk side in the
garden which is not susceptible to the waterborne diseases that we
mammals are. To add even more chlorine to tap water after it reaches
us, then put it on the garden, seems to me a bad idea. Since the
garden is not at risk of typhoid or cholora & suchlike, to expose the
garden to further salts unecessarily can't help the garden, & might
Here are some of the health risks to chlorinated water -- the reason
so many either filter their water with EPA approved filters, or buy
purer water in five gallon containers for the water cooler:
1) Chlorine kills soil microbes without which plants cannot access
nutrients in the soil.
2) Binds with other chemicals in the soil creating toxins with unknown
risk factors. Some of the risk factors that ARE known are pretty
extreme. Bonded chemicals ir Chlorination Byproducts in tapwater are
associated with birth defects from drinking it while pregnant, & with
miscarriages. Infant neural tube defects DOUBLE from drinking
chlorinated water. Miscarriages rise to 15.7% in women who drink
tapwater with chlorinatation byproduct, from the 9.5% for women who do
not drink tapwater.
3) EPA estunates that chlorinated tapewater causes 9,300 cases of
bladder cancer nationwide each year. There are studies that show a
probable link to breast cancer & brain cancer as well, but bladder
cancer is fairly well documented. It is not the chlorine per se but as
with birth defects it is the chlorination byproducts. Cities monitor
the byproducts & adjust treatment methods accordingly, something that
is circumvented by further chlorination at home. Unfortunately
whenever studies are undertaken on the chlorination byproducts, it
turns out a great many communities don't have updated resources to
monitor & correct this properly, so that millions are put at increased
risk. One broad assessment discovered that in & around Philadelphia,
Washington DC, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, & Newark NJ, well over
one-thousand water systems had dangerous contaminant levels from
4) Chlorination is frequently overused in order to avoid healthy farm
practices & proper waste disposal. The idea has become "we'll
chlorinate this sess pool of cowshit then it'll be safe to let it run
off into the nearest lake or river come the next rain." This puts
harmful CPBs back into the watersheds from which we obtain our
drinking water with increasing levels of poorly monitored CPBs. All
too often the cheapness of "let's zap it with chlorine" induces
disposal behavior that kills wildlife & people. See CONSIDER THE
SOURCE: FARM RUNOFF, CHLORINATION, AND HUMAN HEALTH published by the
Environmental Working Group, Washington, D.C.)
5) As tropical fish hobbyists have long known, chlorine in tap water
kills fish. It kills amphibians much more readily, even in amounts
that would seem inconsequential, though consequential enough to kill
you if you're a frog or salamander.
6) If frogs & salamanders don't seem canary-in-the-coal-mine enough
for you, consider that death can occur in kidney dialysis patients who
are susceptible chloramine-induced hemolytic anemia either by drinking
tapwater with chloramine in it, or from being hooked up to dialysis
equipment that has been cleaned with treated water. Most chlorinated
water does not include chloramine, but enough do that hospitals have
learned to be on-guard. Some municipalities switch to chloramine
treatment as a method of lowering other CPB components when these have
built up to dangerous levels due to chlorination -- hospitals have to
be warned when this occurs.
7) There are better methods of treatment, but not cheaper ones.
Ozonization is being used in some cities now, to avoid the cancer risk
& other problems with adding chlorine to the water. Because the
chlorine manufacturers are having their customer base eroded, they
have begun a world-wide propoganda campaign to make the EPA look
ignorant for setting safe maximum exposures too low for the chlorine
sales forces to increase their sales, & to make all ecology-minded
people look like commy pinko radicals. The primary argument "for" is
a good one, but the propoganda wants to mute your awareness of the
"against" lest the public demand one of the better but more costly
methods of insuring safer water.
8) Chlorinated water is associated with hardening of the arteries.
9) Chlorinated water destroys proteins in the body.
10) Asthma & allergy sufferers are more prone to respiratory distress
when drinking chlorinated water.
11) Besides ADDING cancer causing agents to water by means of CPBs,
chlorine also simply doesn't remove the vast majority of cancer
causing agents that may already be in the water. It's great for
getting rid of the bacteria, but it is NOT the end-all municipalities
have made of it, so further reason to move on to the next level of
technology that will leave the chlorine manufacturers increasingly
peevish. Many of the contaminants that remain in the water once
they've reached it include many common garden chemicals. We're just
12) some of the specific CPBs (alternatively called DPBs, Disinfectant
Byproducts) are chloroform, bromodichloromethane,
dibromochloromethane, bromoform, dichloroacetic acid & trichloroacetic
acid -- there are many other possible CPB contaminants.
13) Tapwater is dangerous to people with compromised immune systems.
14) The EPA maximums can be exceeded if the annual exposure averages
out to less. Some municipalities issue public warnings not to water
gardens when chlorine levels have been raised to take care of a
specific bacterial problem that arose in the system. More
municipalties should issue such warnings, but fail to do so for fear
of setting off too many alarms in the public consciousness.
And so on.
I'm glad water is chlorinated. I'm not terribly concerned that there
may be a half-million miscarriages each year because of chlorinated
water because there's already too many people. But I do hope for the
safety of the people who are actually here & alive. I do believe
chlorinated water has saved millions who would otherwise have died of
waterborne diseases, but I would also have some concern for the
thousands remaining who are harmed by CBPs in chlorinated water, so do
recommend home filtering, avoiding the use of chlorine products in the
home, & would hope eventually a vaster number of municipalities will
look to ozonification & other safer methods of delivering water safely
But even if we decide to trust our municipalities are getting it
right, & monitoring even the CBPs correctly, we'll be undoing their
good work by any additional home chlorination.
Whether "Garden Water Filters" such as AquaMate are all that helpful,
I don't know, but many people knowing the risks are real for human,
wildlife, & plantlife, are using such products. I just water my lawn
from the tap & hope for the best, but I sure wouldn't ADD chlorine to
the brew myself.
It is also puzzling to me that people can take such a strong dislike
to algae. Floating algae maybe, it ruins visibility, but algae is not
the devil that chemicals can be.
-paghat the ratgirl
email@example.com (paghat) wrote in
It's not the chlorine evaporating that's the problem. The problem is
whatever crap that is already in the water becomes chlorinated crap, which
is probably the residue you are talking about. Any excess free chlorine
escapes into the air eventually. Don't know how chloramines (if your city
uses them) differs.
Personally, I filter my water because of any heavy metal or other not
necessarily chlorine crap in it.
The city of Chesapeake Virginia was sued due to something in the water that
allegedly caused a lot of miscarriages. I believe it was excess chlorine
that reacted with organic crud already in the water to form
trihalomethanes. It's not something you want in your kool-aid.
It's been a long time since I've had fish, but if you leave the water out
in the open for a like a day or so, the chlorine dissipates enough for the
fish to tolerate it. That might be for regular fish, not necessarily
tropical. It's bad for fish and amphibians because they use the dissolved
oxygen in water for respiration. When there is chlorine in the water,
that's tantamount to forcing them to breath chlorine.
The first four, going by name, are trihalomethanes (THMs).
I don't think it's too bad to clean out the algae in a fountain with the
ocassional bleaching, but to systematically home chlorinate the drinking
water, that's not something I would do. If algae are a problem, there's
probably organic matter in contact with water somewhere. Find out where
they are getting their nitrogen and stop it. (of course if they've
developed a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria, then you
are screwed, sorry).
Even if the water is not for drinking, the chlorinated by-products are
going to end up some where.
Because algae is wet and slimy, like mucal nasal discharges, only more
green, whereas chemicals are 'pure', 'refined' and quite sanitary in their
nice clean delivery containers.
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