Chlorine Dangers Today
There are 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 by products), or THMs. These chlorine by products trigger the production of free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic. The Environmental Defense Fund warns that, “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.“
Chlorine is a pesticide and its sole purpose is to kill living organisms. When we consume water containing chlorine, it destroys cells and tissue inside our body. Dr. Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher whose work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up, “the chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution” and adds that “chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!”
One of the most shocking components to all of these studies is that up to 2/3s 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. The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream.
When we drink contaminated water the toxins are partially filtered out by our kidneys and digestive system. Chlorine vapors are known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs; it was used as a chemical weapon in World War II. 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.
Removing Chlorine From Water
The good news is that chlorine is one of the easiest substances to remove from our water. For that reason it logically should serve it’s purpose of keeping our water free from harmful bacteria and water borne diseases right up to the time of consumption, where it should then be removed by quality home water filtration.
No one will argue that chlorine serves an important purpose, and that the hazards of doing away with chlorine are greater than or equal to the related health risks. The simple truth is that chlorine is likely here to stay. The idea that we could do away with chlorine any time in the near future is just not realistic. It is also clear that chlorine represents a very real and serious threat to our health and should be removed in our homes, at the point of use, both from the water we drink and the water we shower in.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM