For centuries chlorine has been a common disinfectant for water. Chlorine can rid water of contaminations such as bacteria, virus’ and cyst. Chlorine may be great for disinfection, but it can cause some side effects. When used as a disinfectant chlorine may leave dangerous byproducts in the water.
Chlorine is an extremely strong oxidizing agent, which means that it can cause other substances to lose their electrons. When most living organisms come in contact with chlorinated water they sub sequentially die. Because of this chlorine is often added to water as a disinfectant.
Why is it dangerous?
Coming into contact with chlorinated water, through washing or swimming, can lead to burning eyes, and dry hair and skin. When chlorine encounters certain organics, a reaction occurs. This reaction can lead to dangerous byproducts called DBP’s. DBPs have also been linked to liver and kidney problems, developmental disorders, and respiratory issues. A common DBP is Trihalomethanes, is known to cause cancer. Chlorine is dangerous because it can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. When used for agriculture, plants watered with water containing chorine may not be as green. Food cooked with chlorine water may have a strange taste.
Chlorinated water has a distinct smell, and taste. Pools are often treated with chlorine, so if tap water that smells and taste similar to pool water, it can be assumed that water has come in contact with chlorine. Chlorine levels can also be measured using chlorine test strips, tablets, and solutions. There is also a tool called a colorimeter that can be used to measure chlorine levels in water.