Sunday, 2 May 2010

Dangers of Chlorine in Drinking and Shower Water

Chlorine is a toxic chemical that has been used to disinfect drinking water supplies for nearly 100 years. It is economical and kills many bacteria including those which cause typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.

Unfortunately, it is also a poison that has many adverse affects on the human body. Chlorine reacts with naturally occurring substances, such as decomposing plant and animal materials, normally present in the water to create trihalomethanes (THMs). These THMs trigger free radical production in the body, are highly carcinogenic, and cause cellular damage.

Drinking chlorinated tap water may cause scarring of the arteries. Once the arteries are scared, LDL cholesterol can attach itself to the artery walls leading to arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

Cancer of the kidney, bladder, and urinary tract are more common in certain cities, because chlorine in excess of government standards is added due to the water supplies are so polluted.

For instance, Mississippi drinking water (taken from the highly polluted Mississippi River) contains approximately 63 carcinogenic compounds that are created when chlorine combines with pollutants such as methanol and carbon disulphide present in the water.

It is not uncommon for municipal water supplies to have chlorine levels higher than those recommended as safe for a swimming pool.

Drinking chlorinated tap water is only part of the problem. More chlorine is absorbed through the skin, and inhaled in the steam from one bath or shower than is taken in from drinking five glasses of tap water. The heat and steam from the shower opens the pores allowing a high rate of absorption of chlorine and other chemicals. Steam from a hot shower can contain up to 20 times the concentration of chlorine as tap water.

The inhalation of chlorine and other chemical vapors are a suspected cause of bronchitis and asthma. A report in the American Journal of Public Health links chlorine to increases in certain types of cancer, skin irritations and asthma and stated that "up to 2/3 of the harmful exposure was due to skin absorption and inhalation of chlorine in shower water."

The U.S. EPA recently stated, "Due to chlorine and showering, virtually every home in America has a detectable level of chloroform gas in the air". Chloroform is strong respiratory irritant.

Chlorine strips the natural protective oils from hair and skin, casing drying and aging. Skin can dry out and become itchy and flaky. Chlorine is also the biggest trigger of eczema - a group of skin conditions that vary from mild forms characterized by dry, hot, itchy skin to more severe forms where the skin becomes broken, raw and bleeds.

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