Why Filtering Your Shower Water is Critical

Why Filtering Your Shower Water is Critical

Tap water (the water you shower in) is becoming increasingly contaminated. A 3-year study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found over 300 contaminants in tap water across the U.S. Three hundred unique contaminants. They state that “more than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount.” (That’s not very comforting!)

It’s not just the contaminants in water that are concerning, however. The chemicals that are used to disinfect water from these contaminants are jeopardizing your health, too.

Chemicals Used to Disinfect Water

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) – includes Teflon
  • Disinfectant Byproducts – include trihalomethanes (THMs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and haloacetic acids (HAAs). THMs include chloroform and bromodichloromethane, both known cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Heavy metals – arsenic, lead, and mercury are also common contaminants

“There is 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 byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts 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.” (GHC)

Do these sound like elements you want to be drinking and showering in each day? I don’t think so!

Many of us know that drinking pure water is important for our health. But have you thought about the water you shower in and bathe your children with?

You’re probably thinking… “You want me to filter my shower water?  That is overkill.”  If you’re thinking this then keep reading!

Why Even Your Shower Water Should be Pure

Drinking water is not the only water with chlorine, fluoride, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and other contaminants, our shower and bath water is too! Did you know that in a quick shower, the average person absorbs more chlorine, VOCs, and disinfectant byproducts than by drinking a gallon of tap water?

And while we’re not drinking our shower water, we’re absorbing it. Your skin is your largest and most permeable organ, which means it absorbs the substances it is exposed to (why it’s so important to use natural & nontoxic skincare and cosmetics!) Your skin absorbs even more when you’re in a hot shower, as the warm water opens your pores.

We’re also inhaling harmful chlorine fumes (these disappear with a filter!) during a shower, which enter the bloodstream through our lungs.

Think about the amount of time you spend in the shower each day and the cumulative affect that this has over years and years of exposure. You’re continually being exposed to chlorine and other harmful chemicals found in tap water. It is estimated that with dermal exposure and inhalation, virtually 100 percent of the contaminants are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

This is the main difference between drinking polluted water and showering in it. Filtering your drinking water is certainly important, but filtering your shower and bath water is also important!

Related: How to Purify Indoor Air Naturally

How Children Are Affected

Children are especially affected by polluted shower and bath water. In fact:

“Children are most at risk…. As the EPA acknowledged in a June 30, 1998 report, ‘Children have a greater surface-area-to-body-weight ratio than adults, which may lead to increased dermal absorption.”

Since children spend so much time in bath water, they are being continuously exposed to chlorine, disinfectant byproducts, and more! Filtering bath water is a great way to reduce their exposure to these chemicals, which leads me to…

What You Can Do

While whole house water filtration systems are the best way to ensure safe water in your home, they are a huge investment (starting at $1500). If you can’t invest in one right now, don’t worry! You can still have safer water for your shower & bath without spending a small fortune, by installing a shower filter and using a bath filter. (Safe water for under $100? Yes, please!)

Shower Filter

The Berkey Shower Filter removes 95% of chlorine and reduces other contaminants. I was shocked at the results when I installed it. It completely removed the chlorine fumes (gross!) that I had become aware of after learning about the chlorine levels in shower water. I also realized after about a week that my hair and skin were not as dry after taking a shower (since the filter removes chlorine which is drying). If these weren’t reason enough, it increased my water pressure significantly, which I was not expecting at all!

Bath Filter

There are several types of bath filters. While you could technically just fill the tub with your filtered shower water, it’s probably more convenient to have an actual filter. You’ll want to look for one that removes chlorine and chloramines (chloramines are chorine + ammonia typically used to treat water) This Crystal Ball Bath Filter removes up to 100% of chlorine and 25-30% of chloramines.

You can also just use a 1,000mg tablet of Vitamin C, which removes 99% of chlorine and chloramines.

Filtering your shower and bath water is critical for your health and the health of your family. After all, unless you decide to give up showers, there’s really no other way to avoid the chemicals that shower and bath water expose you to. It is one of the steps to a nontoxic home that I discuss in my ebook, A Beginner’s Guide to A Nontoxic Home.

Healthfully Hannah Shower Water and A Beginner's Guide to A Nontoxic Home

Already enjoying the library? Awesome! Access the library here and use the password I sent you to login!

Ready for your shower water to be pure? Have you tried any shower or bath filters? Let me know in the comments!

Sources and Further Reading:
EWG: Over 300 Pollutants in Tap Water, Study Finds Hundreds of Contaminants
Is Your Water Safe?, Tiny Concentrations of Teflon Chemical…
Natural Resources Defense Council: Arsenic in Drinking Water
Pubmed: Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity
CDC: Disinfectant Byproducts
Global Healing Center: Chlorine, Cancer, and Heart Disease
Dr. Mercola: Drinking Water is Becoming Toxic and Scarce

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is the founder of Healthfully Hannah and is a nutrition professional empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Get in touch with Hannah right here.

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31 thoughts on “Why Filtering Your Shower Water is Critical”

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  1. One of the things we have done to lower the toxicity of our home if get rid of all plastics that touch food. We still have lids for our glass food storage containers made outhe of plastic. And my food processor. But that’s it.

    I had NO IDEA you could buy a shower filter. So glad you shared about it!

    1. Hi Carissa! Yes! Thankfully you can get a filter just for the shower rather than whole-house filtration systems. I love mine! I’m so glad to hear that you have made the switch to glass food storage- that is one of the main topics I suggest when helping readers transition to a nontoxic home!

  2. A few things that I have done to have a healthier home are to ditch plating in the kitchen, we use cloth napkins and dish towels and do not buy paper products, I have cleaned up my beauty routine and have always used organic soaps in my kiddos. We drink out of reusable glass bottles and eat as healthy as we can. I would love to add filtering my shower water to my list of ways to have a less toxic home!

    1. Wow- you are doing a fantastic job, Alexis! That is wonderful! I also use a reusable glass bottle- so much better for you and the water tastes better too 🙂

  3. I have not tried a shower filter but have wanted to for awhile. Currently, I use baking soda and vinegar to clean, non-toxic laundry detergent and diffuse essential oils instead of using air fresheners with synthetic fragrance in an effort to have a healthier home so a shower and bath filter seems like a great next step. Fingers crossed.

    1. Hi Jillian, diffusing essential oils is one of my favorite ways to purify indoor air, too! I even included it in my lineup of ways to naturally purify indoor air! Using a shower filter is a great way to reduce unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals, and your hair and skin feel so much better with it!

  4. I am using more natural non toxic household cleaners to clean the house and it’s been such a improvement!

    1. Awesome, Elaine! It is so important to choose safe cookware and something that a lot of people aren’t aware of. I wrote all about the importance of nontoxic cookware in my eBook “A Beginner’s Guide to A Nontoxic Home”.

  5. One step I’ve taken towards a non-toxic home is switching to cleaning my home with just baking soda and vinegar and not using any chemicals at all even air fresheners or candles. My family and I were exposed to black toxic mold and we are all affected so having a non-toxic products in our home is super important in our house .

    1. I am so happy to hear that, Jennifer! That’s a huge step toward a nontoxic home. Air fresheners are often one of the primary culprits of toxic indoor air. Have you ever tried diffusing essential oils in your home? I wrote about it, here. It is one of my favorite ways to purify indoor air naturally and it can be very beneficial as well 🙂

    1. Hi Melanie, glad to hear you’re already using a filter for your drinking water- so important. Yes, having a shower filter is one of the simplest ways to create a nontoxic home. Let me know if you end up using one 🙂

  6. I’ve recently added lots of beautiful, air cleaning plants and just added a RO system in the kitchen (I wish I could do the whole house, but it’s just not something I can do right now). A shower filter was next on my list. The water in my town is soooo heavily chlorinated. It’s awful! I visited a friend who has a shower filter for a few weeks, and I noticed a big improvement in my skin and hair almost immediately!

    1. Hi Heather- that sounds amazing. I love that plants really do purify indoor air 🙂 That is so great that you noticed a difference in your hair and skin when using a shower filter- one of the many benefits for sure!

  7. To cut down on toxicity in our home, I have started making my own cleaning products. My kids also now only use stainless steel in in their school lunch boxes.

  8. One of the things we have done to move towards nontoxic living is ditch the plastic. In our food stuff, dishware, and even toys.

    1. I’m so impressed- toys can often be overlooked but since kids spend so much time with them, it’s an important topic. Happy to hear about your progress, Brittany!

  9. Wow, that is some scary stuff. I have a 6 month old and my partner is always telling me he doesn’t want him bathing too long because of the chemicals in the water. I’ve always been curious about buying a water filter for the shower but assumed they were not within our budget. We started buying all our drinking water from the store recently, too! We made the switch to non-toxic cleaners long ago but the more we do to better our environment, the more we learn about how toxic it can be! Even just painting a bedroom or bringing in new furniture can pollute the air quality of your house so we are very cautious about what comes in to keep the air clean! Great article!

  10. Wow. That is scary! I have a 6 month old and now I’ll be very cautious at bath time! We’ve been trying to get the paint smell out of our home forever! We rent and the landlords used some really strong chemical paint so to go more “green” and healthy, we bought air purifier bags. Just throw them in a room and they supposedly suck up pollutants and all kinds of nasty stuff. Thanks for the post! Very informative!

    1. Hi Haley! Thanks so much for sharing all the steps you’ve taken toward a nontoxic home. It is especially important since you have a little one at home. That’s great that you use air purifier bags, I do as well! I also have several other tips for naturally purifying indoor air– hope you enjoy!

  11. One of the things I’ve done to a toxic free home is to buy an essential oil diffuser. Purifying our home is a work in progress. As for beauty for the most part is toxic free.

  12. A few ways I’ve switched to a nontoxic home are using essential oils instead of room spray, changing all plastic Tupperware to glassware, adding plants to my room for clearer air, using a nontoxic beauty line for my face set and makeup set, and cleaning with baking soda and vinegar! Thank you so much for the chance!!

    1. Wow, Lucie! It sounds like you have made a lot of progress in creating a nontoxic home. That is wonderful! I love essential oils and storing food in glass. Plants are another favorite for pure indoor air, which I wrote about here.