FDA: Label products containing chloramine
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Many water companies around the U.S. are replacing chlorine with chloramine to disinfect city tap water. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. The EPA says chloramine is safe but admits they have done no studies for health effects on chronic exposure to chloramine at levels typically used in city water.
After three years of red, burning skin rashes and severe abdominal cramps, I figured out our tap water was making my son and me sick but didn't know why. I heard about chloramine from a water filter salesman, researched online, and found the website of Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (CCAC) at www.chloramine.org/. I looked at the list of skin, digestive, and respiratory symptoms others across the country are complaining about, and our symptoms were on the list. The website has had about 150,000 views. It is common knowledge that people can be sensitive to ammonia in hair dye. Why wouldn't people be sensitive after bathing in water with added ammonia?
Another chloramine symptom is red, itchy cradle cap and hair loss. The first picture above shows a man's scalp after chloramine was introduced into the Champlain Water District in Vermont in 2006. The second picture shows what his scalp looked like in 2007 after he started showering in an area where chloramine was not used. You can see more before-and-after chloramine skin rash pictures at CCAC's website. This man and other citizens in the Champlain Water District testified to EPA and CDC officials about their chloramine symptoms: http://www.vce.org/chloraminevideos.html.
The town of Hannibal, Missouri started using chloramine, and citizen groups fought it and were able to get the town to vote to go back to using chlorine. Citizens in Charlottesville, Virginia and Grand Isle, Vermont protested chloramine coming into their towns and stopped it. The whole state of Tennessee has chosen to not use chloramine.
After experimenting, my son and I discovered that every time we are exposed to water with chloramine our symptoms flare, but like other symptom sufferers, we do not react to water with chlorine. We had to move our family from a town that uses chloramine to a town that uses chlorine. In 2011 my son and I were on our local TV news because of chloramine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jmgo3VjX4o.
It is a monumentally difficult job protecting ourselves from chloraminated water in all drinks, food, pharmaceuticals, supplements, and toiletries. For nine years I have phoned lots of companies to find out if chloramine is in their products. Many companies tell me that it is impossible to say because their products are made in so many different places. Some never call back or tell me the information is proprietary (up to the company if they tell because they are not required to tell). Also, they say ingredient suppliers can change at any time, so they can not give a definitive answer.
Needless to say I have made many mistakes thinking products were safe (chloramine-free), and we have continued to have reactions to chloramine. With every accidental exposure our symptoms have gotten worse.
In addition to our other horrible symptoms, my son has recently begun passing blood when he ingests something with chloramine in it. This is a well-known complaint among chloramine symptom sufferers. Why should my son and I continue to suffer because the EPA and FDA are not doing their jobs? How am I supposed to keep my son safe if he needs medicine, and I do not know if the medicine has chloramine in it? If either of us ever needs to go to the hospital, I would only feel safe if my son and I were given IV bags that have never had chloramine in the water (Chloramine is harder to filter than chlorine. It can only be reduced, not removed). If IV bags have chloramine, the bags should be labelled as well.
Citizen groups have fought chloramine in Vermont, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Texas, and California. Erin Brockovich and her water expert Bob Bowcock have gone across the country helping groups fight chloramine and its health effects. A registered nurse from McKinney, Texas spoke at a city council meeting about her family's skin rashes caused by the chloraminated water in the city. She is a member of a facebook group called Safer Water, North Texas. This group has over 13,000 members. This is a video of her speaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtXsL6LVOtE
The FDA issued a warning about WEN hair products because of many complaints of skin rashes and hair loss due to some type of unknown sensitivity. Similarly, because of hundreds of complaints around the country about chloramine sensitivity, the FDA should at the very least require chloramine to be labelled when it is in products. The EPA has completely ignored citizen groups' letters detailing horrific symptom complaints. CCAC and People Concerned About Chloramine have documented hundreds of people who have complained about chloramine health symptoms. CCAC continues to get calls daily from people all over the country asking for help with chloramine symptoms.
With every accidental chloramine reaction my son and I have, I get to wonder what damage is going on in our bodies. Please support my petition to tell the FDA to label all products containing chloramine. Also, if you or a loved one has reactions to chloramine, please write about the symptoms in the comments section when you sign the petition. Thank you.
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