What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is an element which is obtained from the Earth’s ocean salt. It is a highly irritating, greenish-yellow gaseous halogen. It has the chemical symbol CI and the atomic number 17 on the periodic table. Chlorine has many uses, from disinfecting to bleaching.
Chlorine in our Water
Research has shown that when Chlorine is added to our water it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes, or THM’s These Chlorine by-products trigger the production of free radicals which are carcinogenic, and cause damage to the cells of our body.
Chlorine has long been used to disinfect our water supply as it controls the growth of unwanted bacteria’s such as E.coli and Giardia. We don’t however use chlorine because it is the safest, we use it because it is the cheapest. We do have to recognise that chlorine does serve an important purpose and the risk of doing away with disinfecting our water would be greater than or equal to the related health risks. The notion that we could eliminate the use of chlorine in the near future is unrealistic. It is however also clear that chlorine is a real and serious threat to our health and well-being and should be removed from our homes, both from the water we drink and the water we shower or bath in.
How are we exposed to Chlorine?
- Drinking and eating
- Absorption through the skin
- Inhalation from the fumes that is created by Chlorine
Up to 2/3’s of our harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and absorption whilst showering. A warm shower allows the pores to open up and provides a gateway for accelerated chlorine absorption. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure due to the fact that the gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream. Chlorine vapours are a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and passages in our lungs and is suspected as a cause of asthma and bronchitis, particularly in children.
Chlorine in the shower also can have a negative impact on the health of our skin and hair as it has a drying effect and robs both of these of moisture and elasticity causing us to look and feel less vibrant and youthful.
Aside from the health risks, chlorinated water is the main cause of bad taste and odour in drinking water. Unpleasant tasting drinking water may lead to higher consumption of unhealthy beverages such as soft drinks, sugary ice teas etc.
The good news is that Chlorine is one of the easiest contaminants to remove from our water. It can be removed by a good quality water filter just prior to consumption ensuring that it still serves its purpose in removing any harmful bacteria and water borne diseases.
For eliminating chlorine to your household which includes drinking and showering water there is the option of a whole of house water filter. This filter gets attached to the incoming water before it enters your home. Where this solution is not practicable or possible an under sink or countertop water filter is another great solution for drinking water and high quality shower filters can be added to your bathroom to eliminate chlorine gas and vapours.
The cost of these can vary depending on which solution works for you, however prices for a high quality shower filter start at just $65.00 and you can purchase an under the sink highly effective chlorine removal water filter from just $180.00. Both of these options use USA products and are a relatively small price to pay in return for the enormous health benefits for you and your family.