Increasing levels of chlorine and sodium in drinking water are becoming common in the U.S. These two salts make drinking water too salty and sometimes unable to drink. Although chlorine is a disinfectant, higher chlorine levels in drinking water can cause serious health issues. According to Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) report, higher doses of chlorine in water can cause eye irritations and stomach issues.
This article will discuss everything you need about chlorine in drinking water. It covers the safe limit of chlorine in drinking water, its benefits, harmful effects, and how you can test for it.
Safe Limit of Chlorine in Drinking Water
4-milligram parts per liter or 4 parts per million chlorine level is considered safe in drinking water. At this level, harmful health effects are unlikely to occur. For chloride, 60 parts per million/60 milligrams per liter is the safest level in drinking water, according to EPA. For people suffering from kidney stones, 30 milligrams per liter is the safe limit for chloride in drinking water.
Benefits of Chlorine in Drinking Water
Chlorine works as an electrolyte that helps balance acids and bases in drinking water. Chlorine is an essential ingredient of chloride compound and a known ingredient in bleach. Chloride is naturally found in waters due to weathering of rocks, precipitation, movement of geological formations, etc. Chloride is found in public water systems due to the usage of chlorine to treat water.
Chlorine in the drinking water works as a sanitizing agent and improves water quality. It is beneficial in the following ways.
As a characteristic cleaner, chloride disposes of dangerous microorganisms entering our bodies. It might likewise support the immune system as well to prevent any disease.
Keeps up Body’s Fluidity
Sodium chloride holds moisture and helps control the water that goes through cells when inside the human body. So, it helps the cell to work functionally well.
Helps with Digestion
Chloride deals with the creation of hydrochloric acid, which is a vital part of the breakdown of food. Hence, it promotes digestion.
Adverse Effects of Chlorine in Drinking Water
Too much or too low chlorine levels in drinking water causes severe health risks in humans. This will not only create an unpleasant taste but also risks your health. Here are the few negative effects of chlorine in drinking water.
- Causes vomiting and diarrhea
- Dry and itchy skin
- Increases blood pressure
- Damaged pipes and appliances
- An unpleasant water taste
How to Test Chlorine in Water?
Various effective ways are proposed to test chlorine in drinking water. Here are the most common methods used for testing chlorine in drinking water.
1. Test Kits
Various test kits are available in the market to test free chlorine, residual chlorine, and total chlorine. Using test kits to check the chlorine levels in water is surely the safest and easiest method. Here are a few famous test kits and strips used for this purpose.
A liquid chemical, Orthotolidine is the main ingredient of these kits. To check the presence of chlorine, this kit is used. If the color of the kit changes to yellow, it will indicate the existence of total chlorine in the water. Take water in a tub and add a few drops of the chemical solution to it. If the color changes, it means chlorine is present in the water.
Note: This kit doesn’t measure free chlorine.
A tablet known as DPD is used in this technique. This technique is simpler and less expensive that tells the presence of chlorine in water through color changing. When you add this tablet to water, it changes the color of the water to pink if chlorine is present. It provides accurate results about the presence of chlorine in the water.
Using chlorine test strips is another convenient yet effective way of checking chlorine in drinking water. Take a strip from the kit and dip it into the water you want to check. You can also hold your strip under running tap water to check the test’s accuracy. After a few minutes, remove the strip from the water and compare the strip color with the chart provided in the kit. This method helps check the amount of chlorine in water by comparing it with a reference chart.
Digital calorimeters are the most accurate and safest way to test chlorine in the water. Two methods are used in digital calorimeters. In the first method, DPD tablets are used to indicate the presence of chlorine by color changing. In the second method, a vial is inserted into the calorimeter. Through emitting wavelengths, the intensity of color change is indicated. A digital calorimeter is a great choice for fast and accurate results.
6. Certified Lab Testing
You can opt for certified lab testing if test kits and calorimeters don’t produce accurate results. You can get information about the exact and total chlorine in drinking water through lab testing. Send your drinking water sample to the laboratory and get your results about chlorine presence and percentage in water within a few days.
Besides chlorine detection, lab tests also report common city water contaminants.
Chlorine in drinking water acts as a sanitizing agent and kills harmful bacteria and other contaminants. Chlorine, above or below the recommended levels, can be dangerous for human health. You can test chlorine levels in your drinking water through water testing kits, calorimeters, and certified labs.