To protect our drinking water from disease-causing organisms, or pathogens, municipal water suppliers add a disinfectant to our water supply. Chlorine is the most widely used chemical for water disinfection and has significantly reduced the incidences of waterborne diseases in the United States and many other countries worldwide by killing most microorganisms and providing our families with much safer drinking water. However, new questions have arisen about the health effects from bathing, showering and swimming in chlorinated water and, most importantly, drinking chlorinated water.
The Chemicals We Drink and Shower In Every Day
We have all experienced the outward effects that chlorinated water can have on our bodies. Chlorine can turn our skin dry, itchy and red while removing the natural oils covering our hair resulting in a loss of hair shine and flexibility causing dry porous hair. What’s more, chlorine is not only absorbed by our skin, but inhaled from the steam and spray during our showers where it reduces oxygen transport in our lungs and can go directly into our bloodstream accelerating aging from free radical damage and causing the destruction of valuable vitamins needed by our bodies. Also, according to the EPA, some people who use drinking water containing chlorine well in excess of the maximum residual disinfectant level could experience irritating effects to their eyes and nose and could experience stomach discomfort.
But unfortunately, chlorine itself is not the only problem associated with showering, bathing and drinking municipal water. Disinfectants such as chlorine react with the many naturally occurring organic and inorganic compounds found in our water supplies to produce undesirable disinfectant by-products, such as trihalomethanes (THM’s) and haloacetic acids (HAA’s) which may pose health risks. Several human studies have investigated the relationship between exposure to chlorinated drinking water and cancer. These studies were not designed to assess whether chlorine itself causes cancer, but whether THM’s or other organic compounds occurring in drinking water as a result of chlorination are associated with an increased risk of cancer. An American Journal of Public Health study showed an association between bladder and rectal cancer and chlorination by-products in drinking water! Additionally, as outlined in the EPA’s List of Drinking Water Contaminants, long term exposure to THM’s and HAA’s can also result in liver, kidney or central nervous system problems and an increased risk of cancer.
How Can We Improve the Quality of Our Water?
Finding alternatives to the large-scale addition of chlorine and other chemicals to municipal water supplies is important, but it will not happen overnight. Therefore, it is critical that we take matters into our own hands and act now to save our water at the individual level. The best option available for improving water quality and safety is to install a personal filtration system that removes chlorine and other byproducts before they can reach the faucets in your home. There are many different filtration system options, all of which function slightly differently and fit specific household needs. Working with a water expert, you will be able to find the right filtration product and price point for you.
Radiant Life offers a range of products to address the presence of chlorine and disinfection by-products in our municipal water supplies including Shower Filters, Bath Filters and Whole House Water Filtration Systems. Our whole house water filtration systems are all outstanding systems featuring a long filter life (7+ years) and requiring no regular maintenance. One properly sized tank will address chlorine, chloramines, fluoride, trihalomethanes (THM’s), haloacetic acids (HAA’s), and heavy metals among other contaminants before they enter your home’s plumbing while retaining essential minerals. To attain the best water possible, specifically for your kitchen drinking water, we would recommend our top of the line 14-Stage Water Purification System with triple purification. This system will completely purify your drinking water and remineralize it.
We are here to help. Please feel free to call our Water Division at (888) 593-9595 Option # 3 with any questions you may have or if we could assist you in placing your order.
Photo: The Last Shower/ Courtesy Flickr