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Haloacetic acids (HAAs)

haloacetic acids water filter testing filtration bottle pitcher under sink haas haas3 haa4 haa5

Haloacetic acids (HAAs) are a type of chlorination disinfection by-product that are formed when the chlorine used to disinfect drinking water reacts with naturally occurring organic matter in water. Haloacetic acids and Haloacetonitriles (HANs) are a relatively new disinfection by-product of modern water treatment methods.

Haloacetic acids are a collection of several different compounds. The sum of Bromodichloroacetic Acid, Dibromochloroacetic Acid, and Tribromoacetic Acid concentrations is known as HAA3. The sum of Monochloroacetic Acid, Monobromoacetic Acid, Dichloroacetic Acid, Trichloroacetic Acid, and Dibromoacetic Acid concentrations are known as HAA5. HAA6 refers to the sum of HAA5 and Bromochloroacetic Acid concentrations. HAA6 and HAA3 together make up HAA9.

Water facilities that derive their water from surface water (lakes, rivers, reservoirs) are likely to produce water with higher levels of disinfection by-products than facilities that draw water from groundwater. The natural characteristics of a surface water source and the characteristics of the associated watershed greatly influence water quality, including the potential formation of Haloacetic acids.

The natural factors that are key parameters to influence water quality are hydrology, topography, geology, soil, vegetation and climate. The formation of HAAs has been reported to be a function of precursor concentration, chlorine dose, chlorination pH, temperature, contact time, and bromide ion concentration.

Health Effects

Haloacetic Acids can destroy tissues of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tracts. Breathing Haloacetic Acids could cause a burning feeling, coughing, wheezing, sore throat, and shortness of breath. You could also have a headache or nausea. Breathing high amounts of HAAs can cause death from severe damage to the throat, lungs and breathing system. Swallowing large amounts of HAAs can be fatal because the compounds severely burn the mouth, throat and stomach. Other harmful effects are sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea.

The levels of Haloacetic Acids found in drinking water are well below levels that would be harmful. Some people who drink water containing Haloacetic Acids at higher than normal levels over many years may have a higher risk of getting cancer. Skin contact can cause redness, pain and severe burns. Eye contact can cause blurred vision, redness, pain and severe burns. Long-term exposure to HAAs causes liver and kidney problems. Persons with lung disease may experience more harmful effects.

Haloacetonitriles (HANs) are toxic nitrogenous drinking water disinfection byproducts and are observed with chlorine, chloramine, or chlorine dioxide disinfection. As a chemical class, the HANs are more toxic than regulated carbon-based disinfection by-products, such as the Haloacetic acids (HAAs). The toxicity of nitrogenous drinking water disinfection byproducts may become a health concern because of the increased use of alternative disinfectants, such as chloramines, which may enhance the formation of nitrogenous drinking water disinfection byproducts, including HANs.

Epic Water Filters has not tested our filters for the removal of HAAs but we have tested our filters for HANs, which are more toxic. 

Haloacetonitriles (HANs) Testing
Epic Smart Shield 98%
Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher 96%
Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher 96%
Epic Outdoor Adventure Water Bottle Filter 96%
Epic Urban Water Bottle Filter 98%