Municipalities around the world have used chlorine to make water safe for drinking for decades. Chlorine kills deadly bacteria and viruses including those that cause life-threatening diseases like typhoid fever, dysentery and cholera.

Chlorination is not only the most effective way of making water safe for drinking; it is also the most economical method. Other methods like ozonation are far too expensive and far less effective.

The amount of chlorine used in the water treatment process is too small to pose any danger to health, even if the water smells of chlorine. However, chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water such as decaying leaves, and forms a group of chemicals known as disinfection by-products. The most common of these by-products are trihalomethanes (THMS) that include chloroform.

Some studies have found a link between long-term exposure to high levels of chlorination by-products and a higher risk of cancer.

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