Health Effects of Chlorite in Drinking Water

Drinking water is mostly obtained from deep wells or underground reservoirs. Considering the location of the source, the presence of unwanted substances could not be denied. That is why it needs to undergo treatment to make it potable. When you are directly obtaining drinking water from such sources, you should use a camping water filter to treat the water. In the case of water distributed through the public water supply system, water treatment is done by applying chlorine dioxide to the water supply. The natural process accomplished by the said chemical filters out pollutants, especially germs which usually affect the taste and odor of ground water.

The sanitary effects of chlorine dioxide or chlorite on water last only up to 48 hours or two days. This is longer than the effects that plain chlorine can provide. The time that it takes for chlorine dioxide to ensure sanitation of the water is only up to the water’s extraction and transport. However, chlorite which is its residue, helps keep the water clean for a longer period until such time that it is distributed to the final user–that is, the ones who will be drinking the water. There is a standard amount set by proper authorities. This standard should be strictly followed to avoid causing harmful effects to the human body whenever the chemical is applied in excessive amounts.

Some of the most common side effects of chlorine dioxide and chlorite are nervous system impairment, anemia, and brain damage. It could also cause irritation of some vital parts of the digestive and respiratory systems including the stomach, esophagus, and mouth. Chlorite, being a residue of chlorine dioxide, dries up the said body parts where its particles are absorbed. A person over-exposed to chlorite for a long period of time may experience chest pains, breathing problems, and even water-retention in the lungs. Brain development among fetus and babies is affected to different extents.

Just like chlorine, chlorite plays a detrimental role in body metabolism especially if it is present in excessive amounts. Over exposure to it makes skin dry, flaky, and irritated. It also damages the protein present in the hair, thus making the hair dry and brittle. In worst cases, chlorite absorbed by the body in excess have been linked to cancers (e.g., of the bladder, liver, stomach, rectum, or colon), heart disease, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.

If you want to avoid ingesting chlorite along with your drinking water, you can use a home water purifier for your household drinking water and a camping water filter for potable water when you go on camping trips.

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