We pay a lot of attention to the quality of our drinking water, but rarely take the time to consider the water we bathe in. Given that our skin can ingest certain chemicals even more effectively than our digestive system, it’s time we start to worry about what’s coming out of our shower head.
Most unfiltered water contains chlorine, which is added to water to disinfect, decontaminate, and kill bacteria that could be harmful to us. As you can imagine, chlorine does not only kill harmful bacteria; much like antibiotics, it also has the potential to kill our bodies’ beneficial bacteria.
This isn’t the only problem with chlorinated water. Our very own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains:
“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.”
Studies done on the health effects of drinking chlorinated water have shown that communities using chlorinated drinking water experience an increased risk of kidney, rectal, and bladder cancers. Other health risks associated with ingesting chlorine include birth defects and low birth weights in newborns, spontaneous abortions, a greater risk of asthma and weakened immune function.
It’s already bad enough that many of us are drinking toxic water, but those of us drinking chlorinated water are almost definitely also bathing in it, which may be even more harmful to our intestinal flora than drinking it. This is because when we shower, warm water opens our pores, making our skin literally more ‘porous,’ and causing it to absorb even more chlorine than it would otherwise.
In fact, during a 10-minute shower, the amount of chlorine our skin ingests is the equivalent of drinking 8-10 cups of water. On top of that, being under a stream or in a bath of chlorinated water causes us to inhale the chemical, which carries it straight to our blood stream!
It should go without saying that you can’t go without bathing, so what options do you have? Invest in a shower filter! Filtering the water you bathe in is just as important—if not more so—than filtering the water you drink.
If this is not an option for you, or until you get it set up, the best way to reduce your chlorine exposure is to:
· Take shorter showers
· Take colder showers, as the hot showers will open your pores more, causing you to absorb more chlorine
· Turn off the water while soaping, shaving, shampooing, etc, so that you are exposed to less of the chemical
As a bonus, these measures will also help conserve water!
-The Alternative Daily