With the publication of recent research on the link between bladder cancer and THM’s in public drinking water supplies in Ireland, it’s important that households consider the benefits of installing a water filter in their home.
Research carried out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Europe, shows that up to 5% or more of bladder cancers in Ireland and some other EU countries could be attributed to the use of disinfectant products like chlorine in the chlorination of drinking water. Chlorine appears to be the most widely used disinfectant used in the purification of drinking water by public water utilities. However, when surface water (from rivers or lakes) is used for public water supplies, free chlorine can react with organic compounds (such as vegetation) in the water creating byproducts known as THM’s (Trihalomethanes), which are associated with bladder cancer.
It should be noted that there is no unequivocal evidence that THMs cause bladder cancer, only a link and that the health benefits of water disinfection and chlorination far outweigh a small increase in the risk of bladder cancer.
However, as Ireland is one of nine countries that exceed current average THMs levels in drinking water according to the research, it could lead to an increase in the number of bladder cancer cases unless measures are adopted to optimise water treatment and disinfection without compromising the microbiological quality of drinking water. Households could include additional filtration such as point-of-use water filters or a whole-house water filter systems in their homes, or even a simple filter jug would help remove the chlorination by-products.
As public water supplies are generally very high quality in most parts of Ireland already, installing a quality under-sink water filter (point-of-use) or whole house water filtration system will purify the water even further and provide long term protection as well all the health benefits of drinking pure clean water.
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The EU Commission has opened an infringement case against Ireland for failure to ensure that drinking water for over 500,000 Irish consumers is safe from a chemical known to be linked to cancer and other health issues.
The Commission sent the formal notice letter to Ireland for failing to fulfil its obligations under the European Union Drinking Water Directive by allowing excessive levels of Trihalomethanes (THM’s) in some Irish drinking water.
According to the Commission, the Irish authorities had “not taken appropriate actions” to reduce THM values. The Commission is also pursuing the Irish state for failing to notify consumers of the health implications as required under the EU Directive. For households worried about THMs and other chemical contaminants in their drinking water, a quality under-sink water filter or filtration system will purify the water for drinking and provide long term protection and peace of mind…more
The use of chlorine to purify drinking water is common in rural water schemes throughout Ireland and is essential to ensure safe drinking water. However, if organic matter is present it can react with the chlorine to form trihalomethanes or (THMs). This is often the case in Ireland, as most of our drinking water comes from surface-water sources, such as rivers, lakes and streams, that often have high levels of vegetation or organic matter.
In a report published by the Irish Times, it shows that some studies have suggested a link between cancer and long-term exposure (over years) to THMs, and also that THMs can have an effect on reproduction. According to the Irish Time article, there is some evidence that THMs cause cancer in animals. As a result, they are classified as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. In Ireland, THM’s have been known to occur in some counties where the surface water is sourced from areas close to boggy or peat soils. This means that some areas of West Limerick such as Athea, Ashford, Tournafulla could be affected. The vegetation and organic matter in these water supplies reacts with chlorine (which is used to purify the water) to form Trihalomethanes.
What are THMs? Trihalomethanes (THM’s) occur when water containing natural organic matter or vegetation is treated with chlorine to purify it. The result is a disinfection by-product known as THMs. At elevated levels, THMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes.
For anyone living in the affected areas or who anyone worried about THMs and other chemical contaminants in their drinking water, a quality under-sink water filter or water filtration system will purify the water for drinking and provide long term protection and peace of mind. Read More…