EU Taking Action Over THMs in Irish Drinking Water

The European Commission is expected to take infringement proceedings against Ireland due to the level of trihalomethanes (THMs) found in drinking water, according to an article in the Irish Times. It will now be necessary to deal with the chemicals, which have been linked to cancer.

The chemicals known as THM’s (Trihalomethanes) are disinfection by-products and occur when water is treated with chlorine (used to purify the water) which is common in most water schemes in Ireland . THMs are the result of a reaction between the chlorine used for disinfecting tap water and natural organic matter in the water. At elevated levels, THMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes. In Ireland, THM’s have been known to occur in some counties where the surface water to be treated, is sourced from areas close to boggy or peat soils. The vegetation and organic matter in these water supplies reacts with chlorine to form Trihalomethanes.

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