Disinfection Byproducts


What Are Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs)?

All the water that comes through your tap goes through a disinfection process for your protection. Municipal water treatment facilities generally use either chlorine or chloramine to destroy or inhibit the spread of microbial contaminants in the water, such as bacteria, viruses, or cysts, before the water is distributed to the community. This disinfection process is considered a vital and effective means to provide safe and healthy drinking water on a large scale. Unfortunately, when disinfectants like chlorine or chloramine interact with other compounds in water, they can form other chemical compounds called disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

The term “disinfection byproducts” is a broad category that includes several specific subsets of contaminants, including trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs), bromate, chlorite, halonitromethanes, haloacetonitriles, haloamides, halofuranones, iodoacetic acid, and nitrosamines. While some of these DBPs have not been fully examined, some of the more well-known DBPs, such as THMs and HAAs, are regulated by the EPA to limit the allowable amount in your tap water.

The four primary THMs include:

  • Chloroform
  • Bromodichloromethane
  • Dibromochloromethane
  • Bromoform

The five primary HAAs (sometimes referred to as the HAA5) include:

  • Monochloroacetic acid (MCA)
  • Dichloroacetic acid (DCA)
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
  • Monobromacetic acid (MBA)
  • Dibromoacetic acid (DBA)

Chloramine is the second-most-commonly used disinfectant in US municipalities after chlorine. Chloramine had been found to produce its own set of DBPs, such as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a possible carcinogen, as well as the toxic iodocetic acid.
The emergence or presence of DBPs in the water supply depends on a variety of factors. Higher amounts of dissolved organic matter or biofilm within the pipes may contribute to increased DBP formation, as well as the types of organic and inorganic matter in the source water. Chlorine and chloramine create different types of DBPs, and higher levels of their usage can contribute to higher incidents of DBP formation. The temperature and pH of the water supply may also affect the formation of DBPs.
While not specifically related to drinking water, chlorinated swimming pools have been found to contain DBPs, such as trihalomethanes – primarily chloroform – both in the water and in the air above swimming pools. Urea and sweat from swimmers can react with chlorine to form trichloramine, imparting an unsavory odor to chlorinated swimming pools. The presence of THMs in and around chlorinated swimming pools is suspected to be a contributing factor to an increase in asthma among regular swimmers.

How Does Multipure Protect You from Disinfection Byproducts?

Multipure's solid carbon block filters use a combination of mechanisms to treat a broad spectrum of potential contaminants in your drinking water.


Why Do I Need to Remove Disinfection Byproducts from My Water?

Although the EPA endeavors to make sure the amount of DBPs in your drinking water is at safe levels, high levels of DBPs have been linked to bladder cancer, poor reproductive health, and other health issues. Both trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids are known to be hazardous to human health, making it prudent for consumers to seriously consider disinfection byproducts water filtration for their homes. While research is still ongoing, it is certainly a worthwhile precaution to make sure you and your family ingest as few DBPs as possible.

Order Your Disinfection Byproducts Water Filter System Now

If you are interested in a system to protect your drinking water from DBPs or other contaminants, please check out Multipure's Drinking Water Systems below or contact your local Multipure Independent Builder for more information.