CCAC Recommendations
CCAC recommends that chloramine be removed from the water supply. The use of chloramine as a water disinfectant should be discontinued until the appropriate scientific studies are done to test the safety of chloramine as a water treatment option.

CCAC also strongly supports the prefiltration of organic matter before disinfection that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends to control trihalomethanes (THMs). The use of prefiltration will allow us to continue to use chlorine (well tolerated for decades) as our water disinfectant thus eliminating all the harmful effects that chloramine is causing.

Note: Organic matter is a precursor to the formation of trihalomethanes, a possible but not proven carcinogen. Removing organic matter prevents the formation of trihalomethanes in the first place. This allows the use of chlorine and takes best advantage of its superior disinfection capabilities. Chlorine is much more effective at killing disease causing organisms than chloramine. Chlorine has been well tolerated for decades, is easily and inexpensively filtered out, and has been studied extensively. For a more complete explanation, see the WHO report, "Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality" (PDF, 145 KB).
Areas of Possible Study
Asthma Statistics: since many state and local public health departments keep asthma statistics, comparisons could be made to detect changes in asthma occurrence:
  • cities using chloramine vs. those using other disinfection modes
  • before and after chloramination conversion.

Dermal Survey by San Francisco Public Health Department: the SFPHD's dermal survey of only 17 people could be expanded to the over 400 people who have reported adverse health effects to CCAC from chloramine on the Hetch Hetchy Water System alone. The survey should include the respiratory and digestive symptoms, in addition to the skin symptoms. Questions to establish clear cause and effect between symptoms and exposure to chloraminated water should be included. (For instance: Did the respondent's symptoms go away when avoiding all chloraminated water? Did they return upon re-exposure?)
Public Responsibility
As agencies responsible for water treatment and public health, the SFPUC and the San Francisco Public Health Department should ask the EPA and/or an independent agency such as a university to conduct the necessary studies.



 
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