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Haloacetic Acids in Drinking Water: What to Know

Haloacetic acids are a chemical that forms in public drinking water as a byproduct of water chlorination. Since  high levels of Haloacetic acids have been linked to cancer, many homeowners are on the lookout for this disinfection byproduct. If you want to to eliminate this risk from your home water supply considering investing in whole house water conditioning.

Haloacetic Acids in Drinking Water: the Basics

Think about a glass of ordinary tap water— poured right from your tap. Refreshing, cool, and healthy.  Your water looks clear, but it may contain Haloacetic acids and other waterborne contaminants.

As we — and other water quality experts — always say, in order to enjoy the clearest, healthiest water, you need a whole-house water filter.

Haloacetic acids could be in your tap water.

Let’s talk about Haloacetic acids in particular.

When the chlorine used to treat the public water supply combines with organic material, disinfection byproducts, including Haloacetic acids, are formed. Those disinfection by products can end up in the clean water you drink and use every day. Think about these disinfection byproducts as being like stray bugs and leaves that fall into a chlorinated pool — just a little more serious.

Read on for all the facts about Haloacetic acids, other disinfection byproducts, and complete water filtration.

You know that Haloacetic acids are a major disinfection byproduct from chlorine water treatment. Now let’s dig a little deeper.

The first thing to know is that these disinfection byproducts are closely monitored by local governments to ensure they remain below safe levels.  Years of drinking water at unsafe levels of Haloacetic acid is linked to causing cancer — hence the focus from water quality experts and the EPA.

When levels of disinfection byproducts exceed the EPA limit, the municipal authority normalizes the levels by reducing the amount of chlorine in the water.

Haloacetic Acids Formation in Drinking Water


Isn’t the goal of water treatment to keep harmful things out of our water?

Absolutely. Chlorine is a necessary part of the water treatment process as it kills dangerous, waterborne bacteria and viruses. Just as chlorine is necessary to make public water healthy, random organic material, like leaves or plants, can’t be prevented from entering the water supply. That means that these disinfection byproducts will continue to be a factor that needs to be monitored and protected against.

Haloacetic acids form when leaves combine with chlorine.

What is the EPA limit for Haloacetic Acids in Your Drinking Water?


The EPA sets strict limits for anything considered remotely hazardous. The EPA limit for Haloacetic Acids is 0.060 mg/L

Effects of Haloacetic Acids in the Drinking Water?

The complete effects are not fully known.

The leading belief is that long term exposure to high levels can cause cancer. However, the only studies into the toxicity of Haloacetic Acids involve animals — not humans.

In experiments conducted on mice, mice exposed to high levels of Haloacetic Acids were more likely to develop liver cancer.

Since humans were not studied, no one can guarantee the effects of drinking water containing unsafe levels of Haloacetic Acids and other disinfection byproducts.

Haloacetic acids may be in the water you drink.

All the same, people don’t like taking chances with their health.

Protecting against these disinfection byproducts is just one of many reasons homeowners choose to invest in water filtration.

How to Remove Haloacetic Acids from the Drinking Water

Even if the municipal water contains contaminants and disinfection byproducts, you have the ultimate control over what ends up in your drinking water.

We offer professional-grade filters to remove all disinfection byproducts from your home’s water.

Our whole house filters attach to your home’s water line to clean all water entering your home. The water you drink, cook with, and use to shower will be as pure as bottled water.

Learn more about the benefits of water filtration with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.

Haloacetic Acids: Wrap-Up

Now you know a little more about disinfection byproducts and you know why and they end up in your water supply.  You also know about the risk and that the municipal government works to keep you protected from bacteria, viruses, and disinfection byproducts.

Take a second and think back to that ordinary glass of tap water. You can have absolute certainty that it’s as clear and as healthy as it looks. You can be absolutely certain that every glass of water you drink is as pure and healthy as the most expensive bottled water.

Whether disinfection byproducts exceed safe levels or whether they cause cancer, it won’t matter. You’ll have 100% certainty that you’re protected.

Contact us to discuss water filtration and all of your plumbing needs.

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