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Home>Water University>Water Contaminants>Chlorine Taste and Odor

Chlorine Taste and Odor


Test your water for chlorine taste and odor with the Culligan TK-2 Test Kit.


This is a fact sheet about a chemical that may be found in some public or private drinking water supplies. It may cause health problems if found in amounts greater than the health standard set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Chemicals can be released to the environment as a result of their manufacture, processing, and use. EPA has developed information summaries on selected chemicals to describe how you might be exposed to these chemicals, how exposure to them might affect you and the environ- ment, what happens to them in the environment, who regulates them, and whom to contact for additional information. EPA is committed to reducing environmental releases of chemicals through source reduction and other practices that reduce creation of pollutants.

WHAT IS CHLORINE, HOW IS IT USED, AND HOW MIGHT I BE EXPOSED?

Chlorine is a highly reactive gas. It is a naturally occurring element. Chlorine is produced in very large amounts (23 billion pounds in 1992) by eighteen companies in the United States. US demand for chlorine is expected to increase slightly over the next several years and then decline. The expected decline in US demand is due to environmental concerns for chlorinated organic chemicals. The largest users of chlorine are companies that make ethylene dichloride and other chlorinated solvents, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorofluorocarbons, and propylene oxide. Paper companies use chlorine to bleach paper. Water and wastewater treatment plants use chlorine to reduce water levels of microorganisms that can spread disease to humans.

Exposure to chlorine can occur in the workplace or in the environment following releases to air, water, or land. People who use laundry bleach and swimming pool chemicals containing chlorine products are usually not exposed to chlorine itself. Chlorine is generally found only in industrial settings. Chlorine enters the body breathed in with contaminated air or when consumed with contaminated food or water. It does not remain in the body due to its reactivity.

WHAT HAPPENS TO CHLORINE IN THE ENVIRONMENT?

Chlorine dissolves when mixed with water. It can also escape from water and enter air under certain conditions. Most direct releases of chlorine to the environment are to air and to surface water. Once in air or in water, chlorine reacts with other chemicals. It combines with inorganic material in water to form chloride salts. It combines with organic material in water to form chlorinated organic chemicals. Because of its reactivity chlorine is not likely to move through the ground and enter groundwater. Plants and animals are not likely to store chlorine.

HOW DOES CHLORINE AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT?

Effects of chlorine on human health and the environment depend on how much chlorine is present and the length and frequency of exposure. Effects also depend on the health of a person or condition of the environment when exposure occurs.

Breathing small amounts of chlorine for short periods of time adversely affects the human respiratory system. Effects range from coughing and chest pain to water retention in the lungs. Chlorine irritates the skin, the eyes, and the respiratory system. These effects are not likely to occur at levels of chlorine that are normally found in the environment.

Human health effects associated with breathing or otherwise consuming small amounts of chlorine over long periods of time are not known. They are currently under investigation. Some studies show that workers develop adverse effects from repeat inhalation exposure to chlorine, but others do not. Laboratory studies show that repeat exposure to chlorine in air can adversely affect the immune system, the blood, the heart, and the respiratory system of animals.

Chlorine causes environmental harm at low levels. Chlorine is especially harmful to organisms living in water and in soil.

WHAT EPA PROGRAM OFFICES REGULATE CHLORINE, AND UNDER WHAT LAWS IS IT REGULATED?

__________________________________________________________________________
EPA OFFICE
LAW
PHONE NUMBER
__________________________________________________________________________
Pollution Prevention & Toxics
Toxic Substances Control Act
(202) 554-1404
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
Regulations (Sec. 313)
(800) 424-9346
Toxics Release Inventory data
(202) 260-1531

Air
Clean Air Act
(919) 541-0888

Solid Waste & Emergency Response
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) / Resource Conservation and Recovery Act / EPCRA (Sec. 304/311/312)
(800) 424-9346

Water
Clean Water Act
(202) 260-7588


A technical support document can be requested from the TSCA Assistance
Information Service, (202) 554-1404.


WHAT OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES OR GROUPS CAN I CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ON CHLORINE?

__________________________________________________________________________
AGENCY/GROUP: PHONE NUMBER
__________________________________________________________________________
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: (404) 639-6000
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists: (513) 742-2020
Consumer Product Safety Commission: (301) 504-0994
Food and Drug Administration: (301) 443-3170
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): (800) 356-4674
Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Check your local phone book under U.S. Department of Labor


Some people who use drinking water containing chlorine well in excess of EPA's standard could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose. Some people who drink water containing chlorine well in excess of EPA's standard could experience stomach discomfort.

Note: This fact sheet is part of a larger publication adapted from U.S. EPA publication: EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.


Some of our Systems that will Reduce Chlorine Taste & Odor in Your Water:

Culligan FM-15 Facuet Mount Drinking Water System
Culligan HSH-C135 Shower Filter System
Culligan SB-3 Water Bottle
PuROTwist-4000 Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System
Culligan WSH-C125 Shower Filter System


Some of our Filters that will Reduce Chlorine Taste & Odor in Your Water:

C1-20 Carbon Replacement Filter
CBC-20BB Carbon Replacement Filter
CBR2-10 Carbon Replacement Filter
CC-10 Carbon Replacement Filter
Culligan 1000R Undersink Replacement Filter
Culligan C2 RV Replacement Filter
Culligan D-40 Undersink Replacement Filter
Culligan D-250A/Pentek P-250A Undersink Replacement Filter
Culligan FM-15R Faucet Mount Replacement Filter
Culligan IC-101L Replacement Fridge Filter
Culligan WHR-140 Replacement Shower Filter
EPM-20 Carbon Replacement Filter
GAC-5 Carbon Replacement Filter
GAC-20 Carbon Replacement Filter
NCP-20 Carbon Replacement Filter
Omnipure Q5633 Replacement Filter
SB-1R Water Bottle Replacement Filters
SB-2R Water Bottle Replacement Filters
TSCAG-10 Carbon Replacement Filter