Day 5: Bromate
Like Chloriform, Bromate is a disinfection byproduct that is the result of an interaction between ozone (O3) disinfection and naturally occurring bromide in a water supply. Consuming bromate in drinking water can nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and can lead to kidney damage. It has been shown to cause cancer in animal studies, but with limited data on its effects on humans it is not currently classified as a human carcinogen.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Ozone was discovered to have powerful oxidizing properties that made it toxic to waterborne microorganisms. Nikola Tesla patented an ozone generator in 1896 and formed the Tesla Ozone Company in 1900. The first ozone disinfection plant was built in Nice, France in 1906. Ozone remains widely used as an alternative to chlorine disinfection because it produces fewer byproducts, it leaves no residual disinfectant behind to be consumed, and it has proven to be effective against protozoa that are resistant to chlorine. Although bromate contamination remains a risk when using ozonation, many facilities attempt to remove bromide from water prior to ozonation as a preventive measure.