The serious health risks of chlorinated water for drinking and bathing.
Many years ago, when I first started out, I used to write a regular article entitled “Domestic Demons”. I felt that the time was right for me to resurrect this.
A domestic demon is something which is lurking around your home and not serving your health in any way, shape or form, and in fact could be doing quite a lot of harm to you and your family.
The first Domestic Demon under my spotlight is CHLORINE.
A few years back, I remember a fellow Mancunian questioning why my mother had a water filter. Surely Manchester water was one of the cleanest, he said. The thing is, there is CLEAN and then there is CLEAN.
For many decades, we have been brainwashed into thinking that everything needs to be sanitised to within an inch of its life, to prevent attack from bacteria and germs. We therefore fill our homes with a plethora of anti-bacterial soaps, germ-killing toiletries and household cleaners to arm ourselves against these invisible enemies. This is the first sort of “CLEAN” – the sanitised, chemical-laden sort, which is what the most people identify as healthy!
The other sort of “CLEAN” is my sort of clean, and means natural and untarnished, without a trace of man-made chemicals.
Chlorine plays a big part in our modern sanitised world. It’s used in our water supply as well as being added to swimming pools. Its purpose is to kill or inactivate harmful microorganisms, such as those which cause typhoid, dysentery, cholera and giardiasis.
Our water travels miles of pipes to reach our homes, It is recycled round and round, to and from each of our households, so you can imagine how much treatment is necessary. The mind boggles!!!
We have come a long way since the days of water-borne diseases, thanks to water sanitation, but modern water treatment comes with its own problems too, and may be contributing heavily to many of the modern diseases.
The Serious Health Risks associated with Chlorine.
Chlorine (and in some cases chloramine as well) is used as a disinfectant in our water supply. The trouble is that it combines with organic compounds in the water to form toxic compounds known as disinfection by-pTHroducts (DBPs), the most prevalent being Trihalomethanes (THMs). Chloroform is a common THM. Long-term exposure to these chlorination compounds have been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, including bladder and colon, as well as reproductive problems.
In swimming pools, Chlorine reacts with organic matter such as sweat and urine to form more chloramines!!
Chlorine kills bad bacteria (let’s face it that is why it is used in the first place!) so it should be no surprise to learn that it also strips our gut of its good bacteria. As 80% of our immunity resides in our gut, this is bad news indeed, not only for our immune and digestive systems, but for our health in general, which relies heavily on both these systems working optimally.
It also creates free radicals and destroys Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. Free radicals can cause havoc anywhere in the body, causing cellular damage, inflammation (including arteries and joints – think cardiovascular disease and arthritis), amongst others.
Chlorine also strips sebum, a natural oil found in our hair and skin. Sebum is a lubricator, so too much chlorine can leave both hair and skin dry. Sebum also helps to maintain the correct pH balance of the skin, and acts as a protective barrier. When chlorine depletes the sebum, our skin is left more sensitive, and more vulnerable to bacterial infection. Chlorine also contributes to premature signs of aging over time.
When we think about chlorine in water, we tend to focus on our drinking water, but surprisingly we are exposed to far more whilst bathing or swimming in public baths!! Apparently, absorption of chlorine during a 10-minute shower is greater than the amount in 8 glasses of the same water! SCARY-ISSIMO!!
Read on ………
When we drink a glass of tap water, our digestive tract and kidneys can to a certain extent do some partial filtering (although it would be far better if they weren’t put under so much stress). Taking a warm shower or bath, however, opens us up to a whole new level of exposure to chlorine.
Warm / hot water transforms our skin into a sponge; it opens the pores, thus increasing absorption via the skin. Chlorine vapours in steam are also easily inhaled and enter our bloodstream. A double whammy!!
Chlorine is a known strong irritant to sensitive tissue, such as the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs (think asthma).
So, taking a shower becomes quite a health hazard, as well as drying out your skin and hair, and aging you to boot.
What can you do?
Get savvy!! Do your research.
Filter your water – for drinking AND bathing.
I recommend Nikken filters: The Waterfall and portable Water Bottle (for drinking) and the Ultra Shower for bathing. Have a look at my HEALTHY WATER page on my website.