What is chloroform?
Chloroform is a colorless liquid that has a pleasant, nonirritating odor. Although it is a naturally occurring chemical, most of the chloroform in the environment is man-made. Chloroform is used as an extraction solvent for:
– Floor polishes
– Artificial silk manufacture
Chloroform is also produced as a byproduct from a variety of industrial manufacturing plants like paper mills, refrigerants manufactures, and chemical companies.
Most importantly, chloroform is produced as a byproduct from chlorine disinfection of public drinking water.
Chloroform in Drinking Water
When the disinfectant chlorine is added to the public water system, it reacts with organic compounds found in water and creates chloroform. Chloroform evaporates very quickly when exposed to air, but when trapped inside pipes or underneath the soil in ground water, it can last for a very long time.
You are most likely to be exposed to chloroform by drinking water, breathing indoor air, and bathing in water containing chlorine.
Risks of Exposure to Chloroform
Chloroform has been found in nearly all public drinking water systems. The common ways chloroform enters our body is from digestion (drinking), inhalation (taking a shower), and transdermal (absorbs right through the skin while bathing, washing hands, etc.)
The EPA has classified chloroform as a Group B2, which is considered a probable human carcinogen. Effects of chloroform can cause
– Central nervous system depression
– Cancer of the large intestine, rectum, and bladder
– Kidney and liver tumors
– And possible death
Like many large cities in the United States, Spokane, Washington uses chlorine to disinfect public drink water. Because exposure to chloroform is a possibility through municipal water, measures can be taken to prevent this in your home.
For more information about how to safely remove chlorine from your water please call 509-381-7818 or schedule your FREE in-home water test here.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, 17 Sept. 2019, https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations#Byproducts Accessed 7 Nov. 2019.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Chloroform, Jan. 2000, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/chloroform.pdf Accessed 7 Nov. 2019.