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  • Chloroform is a volatile liquid, part of a group of chemicals known as trihalomethanes, or THMs for short. It is a potent substance known for playing a key role in chemical reactions.

Is the water you consume every day as safe as you think? While tap water may appear pure, it can sometimes harbor hidden dangers. One such danger is chloroform; a byproduct of water disinfection and a key chemical in various industrial processes.

The presence of chloroform in drinking water is a concerning issue, but, fortunately, it's one that can be addressed. This article will equip you with the knowledge to identify and understand the risks associated with chloroform in your drinking water. Your journey towards safer, healthier water begins here.

What is Chloroform (CHCl3)?

Chloroform, with its rather intriguing chemical aliases - trichloromethane, methane chloride, or methyl trichloride - is part of a group of chemicals known as trihalomethanes, or THMs for short.

As a volatile liquid, chloroform has carved a niche for itself in the industrial world thanks to its talent for dissolving stuff and playing a key role in chemical reactions. Here are some of the noteworthy uses of chloroform:

Solvent for Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals: Chloroform serves as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry. It helps dissolve a range of substances, especially alkaloids, fats, resins, and rubber.

Chemical Synthesis: It is used as a reagent in chemical synthesis. Chloroform is an essential component in the production of fluorocarbon-113 (a refrigerant and important industrial solvent) and other fluorocarbons.

Production of Teflon and Related Materials: It is used to produce polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), better known as Teflon, and other fluoropolymers.

Laboratory Use: Chloroform is often used as a solvent in the lab due to its ability to dissolve a wide variety of organic compounds.

Dyes and Pesticides: In the past, chloroform was also used in certain dye manufacturing processes and as a fumigant or pesticide, although these uses have become less common due to health and environmental concerns.

Anesthetic: Chloroform used to be widely used as an anesthetic, but after studies linked it to liver injury and cardiac sensitization, it's no longer used to the same extent in this capacity.

Chloroform is a potent substance that doesn't seem to fit with the image of a refreshing glass of water, does it? It's surprising, then, that this chemical often finds its way into our everyday drinking water.

Contamination Facts







The main route of chloroform into our water supplies is through the water disinfection process. When water treatment facilities use chlorine or other disinfectants to clean the water, these disinfectants can react with organic matter in the chlorinated water. This reaction forms compounds called disinfection byproducts (DBPs), one of which is chloroform. This process is quite common and can potentially affect any water source treated with chlorine-based disinfectants.

But water treatment isn't the only source of chloroform. Industrial operations that use chlorine can produce chloroform-contaminated waste. This pollutant can seep into our groundwater or rivers, adding to the overall levels in our water supplies.

Using chlorine-based products at home, like bleach or swimming pool disinfectants, can also contribute to this problem as they break down into chloroform, which can then find its way into our water system.

It's a surprising reality, but chloroform isn't the only chemical we should be worried about in our drinking water. Other substances, like fluoride, are introduced intentionally for public health purposes but have raised their own health concerns.

Health Effects of Chloroform Exposure

The ways chloroform can enter your body are surprisingly commonplace: breathing air, consuming food, or ingesting chlorinated drinking water. You can also be exposed through skin contact, meaning even taking a bath or shower in water containing chloroform may allow the chemical to enter your body. A hot shower can also lead to inhalation of chloroform if the heat causes it to evaporate.

Once inside your body, chloroform doesn't stay localized. It's swiftly carried by your blood to all corners of your body, including areas like your fat, liver, and kidneys.

The primary areas of your body that experience the harmful effects of chloroform exposure are your central nervous system (brain), liver, and kidneys. Short-term exposure to high levels of chloroform in the air can cause symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and headache.

Long-term exposure through breathing, eating, or drinking can lead to hepatic liver and kidney damage, while direct contact with large amounts of chloroform can cause sores on your skin.

While we don't know for certain if chloroform causes reproductive issues or birth defects in humans, studies on animals suggest this could be possible. The CDC warns elevated levels of chloroform led to miscarriages and abnormal sperm in rats and mice. [2]

And there's another concern: a possible link between chloroform and cancer. Studies involving people who drank chlorinated water found a potential connection between chloroform and colon and urinary bladder cancers. [2] In animal studies, cancers of the liver and kidneys developed after long-term exposure to high levels of chloroform in food or water. While we don't have definitive proof that long-term exposure to chloroform in drinking water would lead to liver and kidney cancer in humans, these animal studies have led the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to classify chloroform as a probable carcinogen.

The complexity of health effects connected to chloroform emphasizes the urgency for us to scrutinize what lies in our water and take necessary measures to guard against these silent threats.

Clearly Filtered Products that target Chloroform

Removal Rate

Water Pitcher Filter


Under the Sink Filter


Refrigerator Filter


Water Bottle Filter

> 99.91%

The pervasive nature of this trihalomethane compound and its potential to affect our health underlines the urgency to address this issue.

We encourage you to take the time to learn about the contaminants in your local water supply, and find out how chloroform in water supplies might be impacting your family. , We can work together to create a healthier future by advocating for better water quality, and using the best available water treatment technologies in our homes.

Now that you know the hidden dangers lurking in your tap, why not take the next step? We encourage you to learn more about chloroform and how to reduce it in your drinking water. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it could very well be the key to reduced chloroform exposure. Read our article on effectively reducing your chloroform exposure through effective water filtration technologies.


1. National Research Council (US) Committee on Toxicology. Emergency and Continuous Exposure Limits for Selected Airborne Contaminants: Volume 1. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1984. CHLOROFORM. Available from:

2. Public Health Statement for Chloroform

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