Toxic THM Chemicals Found in Unsafe Drinking Water Across Ireland

unsafe drinking water

Toxic THM Chemicals Found in Unsafe Drinking Water Across Ireland

Latest news indicates that ~5% of Ireland is being exposed to unsafe drinking water with high toxin levels. This comes after EU courts ruled that Ireland failed to keep carcinogenic chemicals out of water supplies.

 

EU’s Unsafe Drinking Water Complaint 

The start of 2024 has seen European Courts rule that Ireland has failed to restore drinking water quality to acceptable levels. This is after an initial complaint filed over 2 years ago by the European Commission. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this issue directly affects the drinking water for 240,000 people nationwide. 

Counties affected include: Clare, Cork, Donegal, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow. The drinking water contains high toxin levels, surpassing the acceptable EU threshold. The toxic chemicals in question are trihalomethanes or THMs.

What Are THMs? 

Chlorine is often used for water disinfection to good effect. But, chlorine disinfection can form chemicals known as THMs. Before treatment, water often contains tiny particles of organic matter (e.g. dirt, twigs and leaves). To make the water safe to drink, chlorine is added during the disinfection process. However, THMs can form when chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water. 

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Health Concerns of Unsafe Drinking Water Containing THMs

A recent paper has highlighted the potential dangers of THM exposure. In examining the risks posed by THMs, a link was made between these these chemicals and:

  • Cellular damage (cytotoxicity), 
  • DNA damage (genotoxicity) 
  • DNA mutations (mutagenicity) – a potential precursor to cancer development. 

 

Having said this, a HSE report on the issue has stated: 

“The benefits of using chlorine to treat our drinking water are much greater than any possible health risk from THMs.”

Tackling the Issue of Unsafe Drinking Water

The EU rulings and link between THMs and health concerns has led to a response from Uisce Éireann. They have highlighted how they are working to remove the risk of elevated levels of THMs in Irish water. The programme targeted water supply zones where the risk of THMs is highest and aims to: 

  1. Remove as much organic material as possible
  2. Control the concentration of chlorine in the water

 

When issues of unsafe drinking water such as this arise, it highlights the importance of monitoring. Regularly checking the quality of your water can make sure it is safe to drink. Here at Southern Scientific Services we offer accredited water quality testing to ensure water is free from toxic contaminants, including THMs. 

 

Follow the link to learn more about our THM in water test today! 

 

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H2.0 – Revealing the Future of Water Quality.

Water Quality Advancements for the Future. With the world progressing at breakneck speed, our water quality in water sources faces some challenges, but there is a silver lining: new and existing technologies could provide potential solutions to upgrading the water quality. In this article, we will delve deep into the

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