Do Berkey Water Filters Reduce Monochloramine?
What is Monochloramine?
Monochloramine is a type of Chloramine, a group of chemicals made from ammonia and chlorine. The use of Chloramines in drinking water treatment has been utilized for over a century and it keeps the water quality consistent as it moves through water systems. The most common Chloramine used for drinking water treatment is Monochloramine, which is often referred to as merely Chloramine.
Chlorine is the most common water treatment chemical since it is more effective in the water treatment process since it’s faster than Monochloramine, but it is increasingly being used alongside Monochloramine due to changing regulations as Chlorine releases more harmful byproducts than Monochloramine.
Health Risks of Monochloramine in Drinking Water
Monochloramine is safe in drinking water if it’s within EPA levels. The Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) is 4.0 mg/L or ppm, so at this level or below, you won’t get sick. If anything, the disinfection of water using Monochloramine has made us healthier because we aren’t consuming much of any contaminated water.
While it is primarily safe, there are some things to be cautious about. First, it is unsafe to use monochloramine-treated water for patients doing dialysis. During dialysis, monochloramine can get into the bloodstream and cause hemolytic anemia, which can be fatal. The water is safe for these patients to drink, but it is recommended to check with your physician to confirm their machines do not use monochloramine-treated water.
Monochloramine is also harmful to fish. It can easily get into fish gills and result in death, which is why it is necessary to remove before adding it to a fish tank, regardless of if it’s freshwater or saltwater fish.
There have been some concerns about Nitrosamines found in Monochloramine-treated water, which can cause certain types of cancer. Researchers have concluded thus far that the amount is small and harmless whereas it can be readily found at harmful levels in foods such as cooked bacon and beer.
The other possibility is increased exposure to lead. Monochloramine can cause lead to spread into the water from lead pipes if they are in your system and could release other disinfection byproducts if it’s working together with chlorine. While lead is strictly monitored in water systems, there is a possibility it can be found in lead pipes connected to it or on lead fixtures and solder used within the system.
Is Monochloramine in Your Drinking Water?
There is a good chance Monochloramine is in your water. One in five Americans drink water that is treated with Chloramines and that number could continue to go up as regulations change. Check your local water quality through the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) tap water database. Or, test your water at home.
How to Minimize Monochloramine From Water
Monochloramine and other Chloramines are trickier to remove from water than other chemicals. Filtration methods like Distillation, Reverse Osmosis and Ion Exchange do not work well alone because this chemical doesn’t have a charge. The best way to approach this is through an activated carbon filter, which removes Chloramines with an intricate matrix within the filter and the carbon spurs a chemical reaction, in which the remainder of the byproducts are removed through Reverse Osmosis or Ion Exchange.
At Berkey Home, our approach to removing Monochloramine and other Chloramines is centered on our Black Berkey Filter. This filter, which is made up of over six different media types, takes Chloramines out of the water using the activated carbon within it and intricate pores that are hard to get through. When byproducts are released from the chemical reaction caused by carbon, they are removed through Berkey’s Ion Exchange process, which attracts the byproducts with an ionic charge. The gravity flow feature slows all of these processes down, catching even more contaminants and harmful metals.
That’s not all a Berkey water filter system can do. Take a look at what we offer and find the Berkey water filter system right for you.