In recent times, a growing number of municipalities have started adding ammonia to the water supply. They are doing this for two reasons. One reason is to replace chlorine, which some scientific studies suggest chlorine is carcinogenic. The other reason is that adding ammonia changes the chemistry of chlorine so that it continues to serve as a disinfectant but lasts longer. The new chemical is called chloramine. By definition, chloramines are harder to remove than chlorine.
Research published in 2007 by Dr. Michael Plewa indicated that the disinfection byproducts (DBPs) created from the use of chloramine are much more toxic than the DBPs of chlorine. Studies also indicnte that chloramines can increase the amount of lead in water, particularly when the treated water runs through older lead pipes.
Chloramine DBPs are currently not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. As far as we can determine, there still have been no scientific studies done to determine the risks to epidermis, respiratory, digestive or epidemiologic systems. There also seem to be no allergy tests for chloramine. Nonetheless, this chemical is being formed in the water supply of people all over the country. As a young man, the Big Splash at friendsofwater.com worked in the Dermatology Department of Mass General Hospital in Boston. One thing he learned was that you must study something for years in clinical settings before you can make definitive statements about health effects. But over those years, that doesn't mean that harm isn't being done!
Health problems experienced by many people from exposure to chloramines include: severe skin rashes; dry skin; scaling skin; erupting, oozing skin; skin described as having chemical burns; skin outbreaks 'like hives'; swollen ears; extreme fatigue; hacking coughs; sneezing; nasal congestion; itchy eyes; burning eyes; swollen eyes; raspy throat; peeling fingernails; stomach aches; yeast infection; and ammonia toxicity from consumption, especially for those with liver, kidney or urea cycle diseases. Many many people have reported that stopping exposure to chloramines led to dramatic improvement in health conditions within days.