While our bodies can filter out some of the chlorine from our drinking water, the THMs and other disinfectant byproducts we inhale during showers and baths may be much more harmful, since the chlorine gas we inhale enters directly into our blood stream.
The amount of toxins you are exposed to from your daily shower or bath, through inhalation or skin absorption, may therefore be cause for concern. Scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) analysed the presence of the chemicals in the tap water in 26 EU countries and Spain has the 4. highest concentration of THMs in EU with 10,9%. Compared in Denmark the number is 0,1%. THMs is the main suspect behind 1 in 20 bladder cancer cases and thought to affect reproduction as well.
Research has demonstrated that the cancer risk associated with chlorinated water may actually be due to showering and bathing, rather than drinking the disinfected water. This suggests that many health risks of chlorine may be specifically related to dermal and inhalation exposure. In fact, the chloroform dose from a single, ten minute shower is equal to, and possibly greater than, that from the average two liters of water ingestion on a daily basis.
Up to 2/3 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.
Chlorine vapors are known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs. 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.
Chlorine in shower water also has a very negative cosmetic effect, robbing our skin and hair of moisture and elasticity, resulting in a less vibrant and youthful appearance. Anyone who has ever swam in a chlorinated pool can relate to the harsh effects that chlorine has on the skin and hair. What’s surprising is that we commonly find higher levels of chlorine in our tap water than is recommended safe for swimming pools.
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