SKIN IRRITANT: Chlorine Levels High In DM Water

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Has your shower been smelling like a swimming pool?

For the last month, Des Moines Water Works has been treating its water with a historically high amount of chlorine.

The amount of chlorine used to treat the water is double crews have had use to treat water in the last two decades.

Des Moines Water Works Operation manger, Ted Corrigan, called it an inconvenience for those who have to endure the smelly water.

Not only is the water unpleasant to taste but some say the chlorine levels are irritating their skin.

“We thought it was hives at first. We thought we were allergic to our water,” says Des Moines resident, Heather Fox.

She claims the water left behind a red, bumpy rash on her and her children.

“I feared taking baths everyday so we spaced them out every two days.”

Dermatologists say it doesn't take long for symptoms of irritated skin to surface. After a long dry winter, Dr. Joshua Wilson, says the skin already lacks moisture. Add a chemical, like chlorine, that dries out your skin and irritation is likely to happen.

“Daily exposure for a number of days in a row or for however long this lasts for could cause more severe rashes,” says Wilson.

Wilson advises people to avoid hot long showers and to stay away from excessive hand washing.

Des Moines Water Works say the water is safe to drink. Crews hope to have the problem solved in one to two weeks.


  • Kristin Schulz

    In regards to Des Moines faucet water, this morning I was talking about how I have hive like bumps all over my chest and face. I thought it was from my meds until I came across this news article on Facebook. I have very sensitive skin and this is unacceptable! Also, I have been taking antihistamines to see if they help. So people who have swimming pools don’t even need to waste their water. Just grab some soap . Its pretty much the same. Smells the same. Do we need to resort to buying the dechlorinator that you put in fish tanks ? I have four frogs in two fish tanks that has to live in this water. I have been giving them extra dechlorinator so they don’t get sick. I get that the chlorine is for the city water treatment but we should’ve been told first.

  • Patti Guy Sheeler

    I would like to take a sample and send it in to another state to find out if it is really safe to drink. I mean seriously, if it is causing external irritation, what could it be doing inside of you.They always say to not drink the swimming pool water because in excess, it can cause death in infants and yet, now it is safe to drink? What is so different this year that the chlorine levels had to double?

  • William Denison

    Hello everyone from out of state!! This is just more proof never to come to Iowa.Our waterways make the proplems in coal country pale in comparison. Thanks GOV.Branstad for turning Iowas lakes and rivers into sewers.

  • John

    It is ridiculous. I had to take my 6 year old boxer to the vet with kidneys that were not functioning due to the chlorine in the water. $300 later she will be alright, but maybe I should send the bill to D.M. water works. We are now giving our pets filtered water at the recommendation of our vet.

    • Ishmale Whale

      If it did that to your dog, think what it can do to infants and children. And since this problem has been publicized, any parents of children who become ill from the water “could” be gone after by DHS for child abuse…”Don’t blame the water works, you knew the problem and chose to expose your children to the risks…” I live in a rural town with a city well. The required water reports always warn of excessive fluoride in the water and can pit/damage children’s teeth. Invest in a cheap under the counter five stage reverse osmosis system ($300 or less) for drinking water. Mine turns my 650 parts per million of dissolved garbage from the tap to 30 parts per million. No need for less than that unless you do salt water aquariums as you need some minerals and salts in the water for human consumption.

  • Cybrill

    My husband came home yesterday with an itchy, hives-like rash on his legs and hands. Today it’s everywhere!! It’s awful and he’s miserable!!

  • Jim H

    There’s no way it’s safe to drink water with this much chlorine added to it. I can barely stand showering in it because it smells so bad, there’s no way I’m drinking it!

    “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.”
    – U.S. Council Of Environmental Quality
    “The Chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution, chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!” –Dr. Robert Carlson, Highly respected University of Minnesota Researcher

  • William Denison

    We here in Iowa not only refuse people the meds they want and or need but we make people drink posion water for another mans greed.

  • Ishmale Whale

    The chlorine levels are excessive, but also don’t forget about the added fluoride which is considered a toxin in other countries. My area the fluoride is naturally occurring, but other cities purposely add fluoride to the water.

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