As a pure chemical, chlorine is extremely dangerous to human beings. Simply stated chlorine is a pesticide, as defined by the U.S. EPA, whose sole purpose is to kill living organisms. When we consume water containing chlorine, it kills some part of us, destroying cells and tissue inside our body.
When chlorine is used as a water treatment, it combines with organic matter to form compounds called trihalomethanes (THMs), also known as disinfectant byproducts. One of the most common THMs formed is chloroform, which is a known carcinogen. Other THMs formed include the di- and trichloramines formed when chloramine is used as a disinfecting agent. These compounds are toxic when consumed, inhaled, or applied to the skin. Dr Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher whose work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency in America, sums it up by claiming, “the chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution”, and adds that “chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!”.
While our bodies can filter out much of the chlorine from our drinking water, the THMs and other disinfectant byproducts we inhale during showers and baths may be much more harmful, since the chlorine gas we inhale enters directly into our blood stream. Therefore, even if you filter your drinking water, the amount of toxins you are exposed to from your daily shower or bath, through inhalation or skin absorption, may be cause for greater concern.
Science News, published by the Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit 501 organization dedicated to expanding scientific literacy, reported that researchers found increases in chloroform in study participants’ lungs of about 2.7ppb after a 10-minute shower; combined with warm water opening pores, skin absorption and lung inhalation during a 10-minute shower showed to be greater than the amount of chlorine that would be ingested by drinking 8 glasses of the same water.
Breast cancer, which now affects one in every eight women in North America, one in seven women in Australia and the cancer that takes more lives yearly in Latin America, has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of its kind in North America, found that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”
As a gas, chloroform, attacks the eyes, skin, and lungs. The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream, as said before.
The inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, which has increased 300% in the last two decades. “Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water.” Dr. Lance Wallace, U.S.Environmental Protection Agency.
For children, a hot bath or shower with unfiltered municipal water could have dangerous effects on their development. In Belgium, a study was done to find out if there was any correlation between school children who spent time breathing the air in an indoor swimming pool and an increase in lung permeation and the development of asthma. Children who played frequently at the pool had an increased risk of developing juvenile asthma, and in some cases the symptoms were severe. They also had more damaged epithelial tissue, which is the tissue that makes up the outer layer of skin and lines the insides of the lungs. This study confirms just how harmful chlorine vapors can be for a child’s respiratory system, not just in community pools, but at home in showers and baths, too.
For women who are pregnant, chlorinated water may not only put the mother’s health at risk, but the unborn child as well. A study conducted by a team in England determined that women who drank or took showers in unfiltered water laced with chlorine and chloramine contamination resulted in various complications with the pregnancy, including spontaneous abortions, stillbirth, low birth weight, premature delivery, and a spectrum of birth defects ranging from nerve damage to weak hearts. There are still not many studies around this subject, but from the information stated above we reckon it is definitely something to consider.
You can start with taking shorter or less frequent showers, avoiding excessively hot showers (since high heat increases the amount of steam), and shutting the water off while soaping up. These techniques will help decrease your exposure if filtration or dechlorination is not an option.
Chlorine filtration is fairly simple if you use some level of technology to remove it from your shower or bath water.
Vitamin C shower filters may be a good choice for those looking for an inexpensive way to reduce the chloramine (and chlorine) content of their showers. Also, both chlorine and chloramine can be removed for bathing purposes by dissolving Vitamin C in the bath water. One 1000 mg Vitamin C tablet will neutralize chloramine in an average bathtub.
According to Patricia Farris, a doctor that specialises in dermitology, Vitamin C has lots of benefits for the skin,”But will it work with a shower filter? “Most likely not. While a vitamin C-infused shower sounds good in theory, it will probably provide very little skin benefit,” says Farris. “Vitamin C must be formulated and packaged in a very careful way in order to stabilize it and prevent it from becoming oxidized [which makes it ineffective]. If it’s just sprayed out of the shower, the majority of it will be inactivated rather quickly as it is exposed to air.” So, from our research there is no scientific evidence that Vitamin C showers work 100%.
Another form of filtering or eliminating chlorine are the KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) shower filters, these are very effective removing chlorine in high temperature. KDF is a media made primarily from copper and zinc which are the two heaviest and dense metals in the world. Because they are metals and don’t wear out, they produce a kinetic reaction that has the effect of neutralising Chlorine to very high standards.
From our research what can exhaust a KDF filter is the build-up of materials that bond the two metals together, this slows the kinetic reaction, ending their use life fairly quickly. They are also very dense which places a high degree of back pressure on the hot water tempering valve, the result of this can be the inability to stabilise the temperature of the water under the shower, meaning the tempering valve becomes confused and continues switching from hot to cold, which isn’t a pleasant situation when you are in the shower.
We invested in a Anespa DX from the company Enagic. Enagic International is certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 13485 for quality control and environmental management, the Water Quality Association Gold Seal for product certification (which not all water filter companies have, unfortunately), and rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
The Anespa effectively removes up to 99.9% of chlorine and other harmful substances from your tap water and replaces it with natural moisturising minerals. It is the first equipment that uses a double filter system and also adds minerals to the water.
For us, getting a filter that is worldwide certified and also has environmental management certifications was something that made us choose Enagic, on top of other companies, and would totally recommend to you.
The Anespa has other amazing benefits to the skin and hair, but we will talk more about those on another post :)
We really hope this lil article doesn’t stress you or make you feel unsafe, our true goal is to inform and let you know that there are ways to “hack” this situation and stay healthy.
Earth Power People.
PS: If you are interested in getting one, contact us, we will happily help you :)
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