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World Population Day

Filter Company Relies on Misleading Claims to Sell Home Water Filters - Chlorin Div

In a campaign timed to coincide with October 2007, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a web-based company claims that its PINK water filter products reduce women’s breast cancer risk by removing chlorine from water. The company’s claims are not supported by facts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that chlorine levels meeting current drinking water regulations do not pose any known or expected health risks. No U.S. government health agency considers chlorine to be a potential carcinogen.

The company supports its claim by citing a small 1992 study that examined breast cancer and women’s exposures to the banned substances — DDT/DDE and PCBs. These compounds are not related to water chlorination. Additionally, since the 1970s, their production has been prohibited. This 1992 study cited by the water filter company was followed by several larger studies probing a potential link between breast cancer and these substances. After four years reviewing all the relevant studies, the National Academy of Sciences, one of the premier scientific organizations in the U.S., concluded in 1999 that research does not support an association between DDT/DDE and PCBs and breast cancer.

But back to chlorinated water…Chlorine is added to drinking water to help protect public health by destroying disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites. Before cities began treating drinking water with chlorine — starting with Chicago and Jersey City almost a century ago — cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and dysentery killed thousands of U.S. residents annually. Today, the vast majority of U.S. water systems that disinfect their water use some type of chlorine-based process, either alone or in combination with other disinfectants. Only chlorine-based disinfectants provide “residual disinfectant” levels that help protect treated water as it journeys from the treatment plant to the tap.

EPA regulates chlorine levels in drinking water to pose no risk of adverse health effects. Not to the breast or to any other organ of the human body.

The Water Quality Association, which represents manufacturers of home water treatment products, states in its Code of Ethics that statements “which deceptively disparage publicly or privately supplied water…. shall not be used.”

Breast cancer is an emotional, devastating and potentially life-threatening illness. Baseless claims as to its causes can only serve to confuse and frustrate the public.

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