Did you know that chlorine is a highly efficient disinfectant, and is added to public water supplies to kill disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, that commonly grow in water supply reservoirs, on the walls of water mains and in storage tanks.
Since its so efficient at killing microbes, it makes intuitive sense that drinking chlorinated water can create imbalances in your intestinal flora. We know that chlorine will kill many of the good bacteria and microbes that live symbiotically with us in our gut. These good bacteria help us digest our food and help keep us healthy.
So, not only is it dangerous to drink chlorinated water, but it’s even more dangerous to shower or bathe in it. That’s because your skin is your largest organ, and it’s natural ability is to absorb both nutrients and toxins. Think about how harmful taking a shower can be without using a shower head filter.
Chlorine from drinking water can enter your body in several ways, including ingestion. You also inhale chloroform, a byproduct of chlorine, when you take a hot shower or bath. According to an article from Science News, researchers found increases in chloroform in study participants’ lungs of about 2.7ppb after a 10-minute shower. Warm water also further opens pores, so the combination of what your skin absorbs and your lungs inhale during a 10-minute shower is greater than the amount you would ingest drinking eight glasses of water from the tap. In fact, studies at the University of Pittsburgh found less chemical exposure from ingesting chlorinated water than from showering or washing clothes in it. The study found that, on average, absorption through the skin was responsible for 64 percent of waterborne contaminants that enter the human body.
There is a lot of well-founded concern about chlorine. When chlorine is added to our water, it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes (chlorination byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts trigger the production of free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic. “Although concentrations of these carcinogens (THMs) are low, it is precisely these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States”. The Environmental Defense Fund simply states 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.
Dr. Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher whose work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, 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!”
Breast cancer, which now affects one in every eight women in North 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.”
One of the most shocking components to all of these studies is that up to 2/3s of our harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while showering. A warm shower opens up the pores of the skin and allows for accelerated absorption of chlorine and other chemicals in water.
The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water (due to the fact that) because 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. “Chlorine gas is highly toxic to lung cells when inhaled. Chlorine and chlorine gas can aggravate respiratory conditions and high concentrations of chlorine can lead to numerous health complications. Chloroform may be released to the air as a result of its formation in the chlorination of drinking water, swimming pools and showering. Human exposure to chloroform may occur through drinking water and showering where chloroform is formed as a result of the chlorination of naturally occurring organic materials found in water supplies.” (EPA statement.)
When we drink contaminated water the toxins are partially filtered out by our kidneys and digestive system. Chlorine vapors are known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs, it was used as a chemical weapon in World War II.
The inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children… 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.
Scientists have graded the Hydrogen atom as 1 for molecular weight and have discovered that any molecule below 3000 can enter the skin, below 750 can enter the skin cell, and below 150 can enter into the bloodstream. This discovery is being used increasingly with the introduction of transdermal patches like Nicotine, HRT and pain relief. They are popular because entry through the skin bypasses the stomach where many drugs can be altered by the stomach acid.
In other words, anything that has a low enough molecular weight can be absorbed by the skin. Anything with a molecular weight below 150 can enter directly into your bloodstream from the skin! Guess what the molecular weight of chlorine is? 35.4
No wonder that study at the University of Pittsburgh found that you are more at risk from showering in chlorinated water than you are from drinking it. The health benefits of having a shower filter are clear. Why aren’t you using one?