This is a snippet taken from a recent interview Rick Allen did with Jena Covello for the Nateurious podcast. This is a health and awareness podcast.
Rick: So chloramines in Los Angeles are also the disinfectant of choice, so we know that they can strip lead from certain types of metallic piping.
And I guess I probably should talk for a second about why chloramines? What are the benefits? Why are we using this stuff if we know it can strip metal off of pipes and things?
Way back in the day more than 25 years ago in California, we were just using chlorine. And chlorine is very strong as a bactericidal agent to kill bacteria. And obviously, in the United States, we enjoy the benefit of killing the bacteria and managing our water sources so we’re not, you know, catching typhoid and having a bunch of disease in the water. And obviously, that’s the number one thing.
When you use simple chlorine, literally bleach. When you introduce…
Jena: Like for a pool? For a pool for example?
Rick: Yeah. When you take that and you use that by itself to kill all the bugs, if you will, in our tap water, it reacts with fecal matter and organics and decaying leaves and things. And when it does that, it creates a whole group of things that are called disinfection byproducts.
So disinfection byproducts is more than 2000 different contaminants all considered carcinogenic at different levels.
So in the scope of our conversation here, we want to understand that the EPA is setting levels for all of these different things that we know are harmful to us. They’re having to balance between keeping us as safe as they can. And the cost and the practicality of our municipality being able to get it out completely.
So that means they’re compromising, okay.
So what happens is when you add ammonia with the chlorine and put them in together, you create much less of that group of carcinogenic things, the disinfection byproducts.
So I remember way back in the day, when we made the switch from chlorine to chloramines. We were watching all the levels of disinfection byproducts. At that point, there was no legal limit for them.
So the feds came in, they said, Uh-oh, these are causing cancer in lab rats, right? We’re going to set legal limits.
Metropolitan Water here was at one and a half times the legal limit when the first new legal limits came in. By adding the ammonia, they were able to drop that to where they were at maybe half or two thirds of the legal limit. And therefore they’re now able to manage and meet the requirements that we that are set for them by the EPA.
So by going to chloramines the benefit of it is you reduce the development of all of these disinfection byproducts that are cancerous. But it creates a bunch of other issues like stripping lead from pipes.
There’s a topic I don’t know that we’ll get into it here, but it’s definitely prominent Beverly Hills. It’s prominent up and down the coast in Orange County. And it’s known as a pinhole leak problem.
And what it is, is the chloramines at the levels we have them up and down the coast now have crossed the tipping point to where when you combine them with one other thing they eat through copper pipes.
And so people are experiencing these really sneaky bad leaks, you know, and it could be leaking behind the wall for six months and you don’t know it. And it’s real slow and it’s, you know, it’s molding up everything in there when you finally find it and you got water on the floor or whatever. Now you tear the wall off and it’s just…
Jena: All mold.
Rick: …black mold. Yeah. So that’s a problem. It’s a niche of ours that we prevent those.
And that’s a problem that people are experiencing that doesn’t have much to do with health, but is extremely costly.
Jena: It does have to do with health though because then you have a mold issue.
Rick: Actually you’re right.