Disinfection Byproducts: What to Know

Oct 09 , 2023

Disinfection Byproducts: What to Know

Clean water is an essential building block of our daily lives. It’s a vital resource that’s treated and sanitized (unless you’re using well water) so that it’s safe for us to drink and use.

But like all good things, there’s a small catch: disinfection byproducts, or DBPs. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t fret – KWF is happy to give you all the info you need to make an informed decision.

What are disinfection byproducts (DBPs)?

Let’s start with a familiar substance: chlorine. This is the superhero of the water treatment world. It rids our water of nasty germs, ensuring it’s as sterile as possible and safe to re-enter the water treatment cycle. However, even superheroes have their kryptonite. When chlorinated water comes into contact with decaying plant matter, like fallen leaves or other organic materials, it can create DBPs.

This phenomenon is a concern for water systems that pull from open sources, like lakes and rivers. These sources are often littered with organic materials and may not be noticed until it’s too late. Some DBPs that might form include technical-sounding names like trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs), chlorite and bromite. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps a close eye on these compounds, setting limits and mandating water quality tests to monitor DBP levels.

How can DBPs harm your health?

Don’t panic. While the idea of DBPs may sound scary, remember that chlorinating our water is a foundational, widely accepted practice in water treatment. It’s a shield against severe, contagious diseases like cholera and typhoid that have claimed countless lives in the past. And because of the EPA’s monitoring, it’s unlikely that you’ll be exposed to more than trace amounts of DBPs, if any at all.

However, it’s always good to be informed and aware. DBPs can pose health risks. They might adversely affect your liver, kidneys or even your nervous system. And in some cases, they have been shown to increase cancer risks. How might you encounter them? Exposure can happen by drinking or bathing in contaminated water, or inhaling steam in places like a steam room or your own bathroom. However, not all activities and tasks involving water are affected. If you’re brushing your teeth, cooking with water, washing fruits and veggies, or doing laundry, these are all ways in which we use our water that can expose us to some of these adverse chemicals and byproducts.

If you’re worried about DBPs, what can you do to minimize them?

Awareness is the first step. Let’s talk about what you can do to keep yourself safe from DBPs.

  • DBPs can be absorbed through the skin. By taking shorter showers and baths, you not only reduce your exposure, but also save on your water bill.
  • Ventilation is key. Steamy showers can be lovely, but the steam can contain concentrated amounts of DBPs, which you can then inhale. Make it a habit to open a window or switch on the vent before you shower.
  • If you’re out and about in nature, don’t drink water directly from natural water sources. You should stick to bottled water or use an appropriate filter to ensure it is safe for consumption.
  • Invest in quality. If peace of mind is what you’re after, consider purchasing a water filter. This is where King Water Filtration can step in. Our filtration systems utilize components that have been certified by the NSF, guaranteeing their ability to remove THMs and other disinfection byproducts.

The King Water Difference

To protect you and your family’s water, there’s no better filtration system on the market than King Water. Whether for a city or well system, our filters eliminate contaminants ranging from turbidity and chlorine to heavy metals and PFAS. We have systems that require zero maintenance and are backed with up to a 20-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee, making them an easy choice to complement the other actions listed above. To get started, fill out our contact form or call us at 1-855-957-2166, and we’ll set up your free consultation. You can also purchase King Water Filtration systems through The Home Depot.

While disinfection byproducts might sound alarming, it’s essential to remember that with a good water filtration system, you can keep disinfection byproducts at bay altogether. By being informed and taking simple steps, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: clean and safe water. Stay hydrated and stay safe.