Can Adding Lemon To Water Make It Safer To Drink?


Texas A&M School of Public Health researchers tackle the challenges associated with using chlorine to purify water.

Clean drinking water is vital to human life. In the United States, the chemical chlorine has played a major role in removing harmful bacteria, viruses and other pathogens from drinking water since the early 1900s. However, using chlorine to disinfect drinking water has its downsides.

“Chlorine not only attacks pathogens, it also attacks other constituents present in the water, such as bromide, iodide and natural organic matter,” said Virender Sharma, professor and director of the Program on Environmental Sustainability at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. “When chlorine attacks these other constituents present in the water, the reaction produces potentially toxic disinfection byproducts.”

Long-term exposure to these disinfection byproducts via daily tap water ingestion has become a public health concern. However, previous studies have shown that there are ways of decreasing the levels and concentrations of disinfection byproducts in drinking water. One such way is by boiling or heating tap water to higher-than-room temperature. Another strategy is to add lemon to tap water.

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