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Locals take chloramine fight to EPA

Original post made on Sep 14, 2007

In an effort to help dozens of Peninsula residents, including 30 from Mountain View, who say their sensitivity to chloramine has caused skin rashes and respiratory problems, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is pulling strings to allow them to speak with the Environmental Protection Agency's state office.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 24, 2007, 12:00 AM

Comments (2)

Posted by Denise Johnson-Kula
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Thank you Daniel DeBolt and the Mountain View Voice for your great article on the serious problems with chloramine in our water! You deserve credit for taking the time and making the effort to dig deeper into the facts about this complex but important issue. Hundreds of people have come forward who have demonstrated that their skin, respiratory and digestive symptoms are due to the chloramine in their water through cause and effect testing. This is no small feat since avoiding all one's tap water is very difficult, time consuming and expensive. These individuals must not shower or bathe in their chloraminated tap water, cook with it or drink it. They cannot wash their clothes in it(since it leaves a residue in the laundry that can irritate the skin) or run appliances like dishwasers or humidifiers(due to respiratory sensitivity to chloraminated water vapor). They cannot eat out or buy food prepared anywhere chloramine is used. For all their basic needs they must use only bottled spring water or water from distant areas that still just use chlorine disinfection. This is the only way people with chloramine sensitivity can stay symptom free. There are no easy soloutions like filtration(chloramine cannot be completely removed even with very expensive filtration). Most doctors do not know about chloramine or its effects and cannot properly diagnose symptoms since there are no skin, respiratory or digestive(including food exposure) studies on chloramine. Medical treatments offer little or no relief and can be dangerous long term -like steroids. The best treatment is to avoid the offending agent -in this case chloraminated tap water. Many individuals cannot manage to do this and continue to suffer. Those of us who do are burdened to the breaking point. Some of us, like me, have no choice because our symptoms are life threatening. The vast majority of the public are still unaware of chloramine even here in the bay area. The 400+ identified chloramine sufferers represent just the tip of the iceberg. Those who are not affected by chloramine in the short term can sometimes easily dismiss the sufferings and experiences of others. Even if they dismiss us they would do well to consider the work of Dr. Michael J. Plewa and other EPA researchers who have identified and studied the new nitrogen-containing disinfection by-products(DBP's) created by chloramine. These new DBP's are much more toxic than the currently regulated DBP's of chlorine. They are in California water supplies as well as many other water supplies across the country where chloramine is used. And since these new N-DBP's are so toxic, Dr. Plewa recommends that water agencies switch back to chlorine. There is no longer any excuse for waiting. We need our lawmakers to help our health departments and water utilities to see reason and stop the use of chloramine. We are grateful to Anna Eshoo, Ira Ruskin and others who have taken up this cause. They are true public servants. And we thank the Mountain View Voice for keeping the public informed about this critical issue. Many people were able to make the chloramine connection to their stubborn health problems after reading one of your articles. Now they are symptom free! Water is a basic necessity of life. We need to be better stewards of our precious water supplies.

Posted by Jan Frederiksen
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Thank you so much for covering this important issue. I live in Belmont and ever since chlormine was added to my tap water by the SFPUC I have had skin and respiratory problems. Every time I bathe or shower now I get dry itchy skin and a runny nose. (Sometimes I cough and sneeze too.) The itching is so intense I'm up all night scratching which deprives me of my sleep. Even when I do the dishes or breathe vapor or steam from chloraminated water, my nose runs. The tissue in my nose is so dry now that I've started to have frequent nose bleeds as well. The more I am exposed the worse the symptoms are getting.
I have always been very healthy, and have no symptoms if I use only bottled spring water or water treated with chlorine. But it is hard to avoid tap water especially for showering. I love going out of town where they do not use chloramine because I can bathe or shower as long as I want wihout getting sick at all!
The situation for those of us who are affected by chloramine is serious. We need relief. We are extremely grateful to Anna Eshoo, Ira Ruskin and the Mountain View Voice for working to protect our health. Even people who don't have symptoms now should be alarmed that the disinfection by-products of chloramine are MUCH more toxic than the ones made with chlorine.
We need choramine out of our water now for the good of everyone!

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