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
- 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!)
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!
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.
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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 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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