Household Chlorine Dangers:
How You are Being Exposed
© 2019 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
Chlorine is one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the United States. In gas form, chlorine is poisonous and was actually used during World War I as a choking agent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can recognize chlorine gas by its pungent, bleach-like odor that sometimes hovers around indoor swimming pools.
The steam from your shower can contain up to 100 times the chemicals as the tap water itself.
Chlorine gas can be pressurized and cooled to change it into a liquid form, which is used to make countless industrial and household products including:
- Bleach (both household chlorine bleach and bleach used in the manufacture of paper and cloth)
Chlorine is also used for water treatment purposes to kill bacteria, so it’s not only likely in your drinking water, it’s in the water you use to shower and bathe with.
How is Chlorine Dangerous?
When chlorine comes into contact with other naturally occurring elements in water, it forms dangerous byproducts such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and chloroform. Studies have linked these chlorine byproducts to many serious health risks such as:
- Bladder cancer
- Heart disease
Chlorinated water itself has also been linked to increased risks of cancer, birth defects, stillbirth, and miscarriages.
How are You Exposed to Chlorine and Chlorination Byproducts?
The danger comes not only from drinking chlorinated water, but also, and even more so, from showering or bathing in the water. THMs can be absorbed by your skin, and when you shower or take a bath, the warm water opens up your skin's pores, making it like a sponge for chlorine. Meanwhile, the steam in your shower, which you readily inhale, is full of chlorine and its byproducts as well. Since your skin is the largest organ of your body, some estimates say that steam can transport into your body up to 100 times the toxic chemicals as you would get from drinking tap water.
Meanwhile, when you drink chlorinated water, some of these toxins get filtered by your kidneys, liver and digestive system. This is not so when you breathe in these chemical vapors; there is no filtering, just a direct route to your blood stream.
Take, for example, a study published in an issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study participants who drank chlorinated water had a 35 percent increased risk of bladder cancer. However, those who spent time swimming in chlorinated pools had a 57 percent increased risk, and those who took long showers or baths also had an increased risk of bladder cancer.
A more recent study published in the Environmental Health journal also found some concerning data: Pregnant women who live in areas where tap water is heavily disinfected with chlorine nearly have nearly twice the risk of having children with heart problems, a cleft palate or major brain defects as women in areas with lower THMs in the water.
The researchers pointed out that women can be exposed to THMs not only by drinking the water but also by taking a bath or shower, or even by standing near a kettle full of boiling water.
Showering and Bathing May be Your Primary Route of Exposure
In 1984 a study in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that “skin absorption of contaminants in drinking water has been underestimated and that ingestion may not constitute the sole or even primary route of exposure.”
The following factors can actually increase your skin’s absorption of THMs and other contaminants:
The more hydrated your skin (such as perspiring or immersing yourself in a pool or bathtub), the greater the absorption.
Increased skin or water temperature will enhance absorption.
Any injury (cut, wound, etc.) or skin condition (psoriasis, eczema, etc.) will lower your skin’s ability to act as a barrier against contaminants.
Skin absorption varies by region, and exposure during total immersion (such as in a bathtub or pool) may be underestimated. For instance, your forearm is thought to have an 8.56% penetration rate, compared to 100% for the genital area.
During swimming or bathing, chemicals are likely to gather near the surface of the water, where they are readily inhaled.
Children may be especially sensitive to absorption.
According to some estimates, by taking a hot shower you end up absorbing over 600 percent more chlorine and other chemicals than you would from drinking the same un-filtered water all day!
Shower Filters are No Longer a Luxury
Unless you’re planning to take your showers like THIS … a shower filter that effectively removes chlorine is a wise choice for your family.
As the risks exposure to chlorine and chlorination byproducts from your shower and bath become widely known, it’s essential to know that you can remove these toxins from the water using a high-quality shower filter. Be careful, however, as they do NOT all filter out chlorine.
Finding a shower filter that effectively reduces chlorine can be challenging. Some state they reduce up to 99 percent of chlorine from your shower's water for up to 24 months.
The wellness water filter concept was developed in the 1980s by Harusuke Naito, a renowned Japanese sports physiologist and Olympic swimming coach who wanted to produce "perfect water" for his professional athletic clients.
Haru believed that even subtle differences in water purity, surface tension and mineral content could affect body hydration, cellular function, and athletic performance. After extensive field research and study he began experimenting with various natural filtering media in an effort to produce the world's best water.
His wellness filter became known on Japan for its ability to enhance water beyond the reach of conventional water purification systems.
More Than Just Filtered Water … Some Filters Have What They Call "Enhanced Water"
The belief not only in filtering water, but enhancing it to increase its performance on or in your body. After water has been filtered to remove chlorine the ideal is to be optimized with rare Japanese minerals to enhance your showering experience.
For Example: First water sent through magnetic treatment stage to reduce ions generated to protect your skin from free radical attack and aid the body in repairing damaged skin and hair. This stage is also responsible for increasing hydration by 115% over tap water, moisturizing your hair and skin without the residue of lotions.
Once the water has passed through the magnetic treatment stage it is next passed through Taicho and Bakuhan medias. Taicho stone gives the water bacterio-static and fungi-static properties, which help your body resist undesirable bacteria and fungus. It also promotes a healthier, sanitized shower.
The Number 1 Health Spa in the world, Hippocrates Health Institute, has reportedly used these type of Wellness Shower Filters exclusively, and the Japanese Ministry of Health use this type of filter in over 100 of its hospitals. Japanese doctors even routinely prescribe the filter to their patients for general good health and to aid the body in fighting specific chronic conditions. Japanese life insurance companies have also recognized its unique qualities and now offer reimbursement programs for the filter when a patient gets a prescription from his doctor (the only filtration system ever granted this insurance status).
Whichever filter you are able to find, the key is that at the very least it removes chlorine which is the most important factor for sustaining your health.
Environmental Health, 7:23
American Journal of Epidemiology 165(2):148-156
HeartSpring.net: The Unhealthy Effects of Chlorinated Shower Water