Murder in the Water Filter

~* Second Prize Winning Entry in  Indiblogger’s “Crusade Against Chlorine” Contest

Glass of WaterThere is a major defect in the way our brains are wired, ‘our‘ encompassing most of us. Give us a thing that has been smoothly percolating down from generation X to generation Y and the odds of its reappearance in generation Z are as high as anything you might bet. Even more so if the thing pertains to a relatively low-key, mundane activity… such as Drinking Water Purification.

Ask the dumbest kid in your block what is used to filter water and he will rattle off …”Chlorine”… It comes cheap, is easily available and don’t the big MCD guys swear by it? Well, unless you are prepared to face an onslaught of cancerous cells in your body, I strongly feel you better do a double take.

Chlorine has been the friendly, neighbourhood bleach for your water ever since the 1800s. What started as a cleanser for swimming pools quickly became the fantastic new vacuum cleaner in the aqua-world. It had been an established fact even when they initially brought Chlorine into mass use, that high concentrations of the element could bring disastrous results.  “We will dilute and dilute the woes away…” said the experts, enamoured with the cheap solution to the world’s filtration problems. Moreover, they said, pools have gallons of water and there would hardly be Chlorine enough to create a menace.

With time, the same swimming pool cleanser made its way to your water filter, in concentrations that have been proved to be 12 times over the recommended limit. Are you really comfortable with drinking swimming pool water presented to you in a neat little glass?

To make matters more interesting, swimming pools use Chlorine in disguise: a chemical called TCCA (Trichloroisocyanuric acid), which amicably dissolves in water to release Chlorine and Cyanuric acid. Give these by-products some melamine-laced utensils from your kitchen and the potent little mixture formed can hit a debilitating arrow straight to your kidney. The dangers are so extreme that the US Environmental Protection Agency has banned the use of TCCA for household water purification. The good souls in India, however, continue to give the TCCA makers their money, at the cost of your pair of kidneys.

It is such a sad state of affairs that in our so-called technologically advanced world, all we can do with our water is clean it using the same chemical that they killed people with in World War I. Whatever happened to safety standards? Oh, they possibly dissolved with the Chlorine.

When a family member is diagnosed with cancer, we fret and cry and blame the destiny-maker for the uncalled for terminal disease, but what we fail to muse over is how our continued ignorance could have been the trigger behind the ruin. When water and chlorine come together, they parent many organic by-products – some of which have been clearly known to cause cancer of the bladder, breast and rectum. In fact, another among the many ugly faces of Chlorine is its clandestine hardening of the arteries. Enough to give you a sudden heart attack when you were getting down from the cab to attend your junior’s annual school function.

If you are the one with raised hands shouting ‘I have never been ill all these years!’ or are a part of the water treatment plant at MCD and murmuring ‘These newfangled ideas will be our undoing’, I will pray with folded hands that your casualness doesn’t one day turn you into, err, casualty.

Thankfully, there are a number of options available to push chlorine out of your happy bubble.

What You Should Do:

* Get your home a Reverse Osmosis filter. They come with inbuilt Carbon Filters that remove chlorine. You don’t need electricity and the ones who tell you these waste a lot of water, probably have terrific life insurance.

* Tell your family, friends and neighbours. Save a life; do your good turn of the day. Ask people what water purifier they use and get them informed about the fatal aftermath of letting Chlorine run its course.

* Take some time out to learn more about the subjectBejon Misra’s “Healthy You Foundation” can be a great beginning and ally in helping you safeguard your home. His crusade against chlorine, documented in his white-paper here, can save many lives.

The ugliest of all queues in our bee-busy world is probably the one lined outside the hospital. If getting a water filter right can help cut down on disease, it surely isn’t asking for too big an investment.

— —

This post was written as a part of Indiblogger’s Crusade Against Chlorine contest. Joining hands with Bejon Misra, Indiblogger has firmly decided to de-chlorinate our world. 

If you liked this post (or wish to read more of the crusade), do vote for it here.

*Image from


49 thoughts on “Murder in the Water Filter

  1. Pingback: Ferreting out fossils for the 7×7 Award « Saddi Delhi

  2. Hi Deboshree..first of congrats on winning the second prize…brilliant article…u deserve it & what an insight into the kind of water we are drinking w/o even a drop of thought.!!

    • Vinayak – thanks a LOT! 😀 😀
      I’m delighted you liked the article. Oh yes, the theme called for some research and that too on a seemingly mundane subject… I am glad the insight paid some, err, dividends. 😀

    • Thanks P.
      Yes, while researching the subject I was indeed shocked at how much we take little things for granted…few people even bother about filter once it’s up and about.

  3. Hey! Yours too a well researched post….the only point I would like to raise is against the RO thing, they are too expensive for general public and yes they actually waste more thn they actually clean….Well, may be in coming time we’d have a system well within reach of general mass as well as at par with standards…

    • Thanks a lot for dropping by Punit!
      Yes, RO filters are a bit on the expensive side but a family that decides to invest in a water filter at all will not mind going the extra edge when it’s health that’s at stake. What is the point after all in harbouring a slow poison at home for the sake of a few notes and coins?
      The wasting of water part is being worked on and I am sure that, like you said, things will get smoother with time. 🙂

  4. Looks like my mom was right. Again. She has resolutely refused to let a water filter cross the threshold, preferring to boil water instead.

    My vote goes for you too. Good luck, Deboshree

  5. Informative!! Apart form cancer another one high up on the list is that of thyroid-Hypo-hyper both types have their roots in the water that we drink. In urban India thyroid malfunction is one of the fastest growing ‘disease’.
    Don’t have the necessary data to support it presently.
    Voting for ur post right now.

    • Thyroid malfunction is indeed a serious issue. Thanks for bringing that to notice. In a land where water-borne diseases are so prevalent, we could never be too careful.
      Thanks a lot Bhagya! 😀

  6. A very educative post.Thank you for sharing it.
    I wish I can vote for you, but I don’t like to sign up first. Good luck on the contest…hope you win it cause your post is really good.

  7. Deboshree, now I am scared. I use a water purifier at home but I am unaware of the chemistry involved. 😦 😦 I think I threw away the class 10 chemistry books a bit too early 😦 So, an osmosis filter will now have spot number one on my shopping list. A very informative article. I liked it and I’ll vote for it 🙂

    • Chhavi – you have no idea how much I detested inorganic Chemistry. Organic wasn’t too bad though. 😀 I am glad you have decided to rethink your choice of a water filter…that achieves for me the purpose of this post.

      Thanks a lot! 😀

  8. very informative! I have always hated the taste of filtered water.. maybe that’s why. I’m researching reverse osmosis filters right away 🙂 Thanks for adding that in!

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