Taking showers can cause cancer! Twenty years ago the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed hot showers on their list of cancer sources. The main culprit was chlorine. Chlorine is a poisonous chemical, a bleaching agent. Sure, it does a great job of killing living things in our water, like bacteria and viruses. The problem is we’re living things too. Chlorine gas was used as a deadly weapon during World War I!
Chlorine is a pro-oxidant that causes free radical damage in the body, a major factor in aging and in every kind of disease. Chlorine and its by-products have been linked with various forms of cancer, neurological issues, reproductive problems, heart disease (including atherosclerosis and hypertension), decreased immunity, allergies, hypothyroidism and lung problems.
When you smell chlorine in your shower, it’s because it’s escaping into the air as chlorine gas. Since showers are usually poorly ventilated, chlorine gas concentrations can be quite high. In sufficient concentrations, chlorine gas is an irritant to mucous membranes, the respiratory tract, and the eyes. You can experience symptoms long before you smell the chlorine, and even low concentrations can cause irritation of the nose, increased dryness of the throat, cough, minor difficulty breathing and headache.
Chronic exposure from a daily bath or shower creates chronic inflammation that damages cells and tissues faster than the body can repair them. People with lung disorders, like asthma, will be more sensitive to chlorine’s irritation effects. Since children inhale more air per unit of body weight than adults, they will also be more adversely affected. Chlorine also binds with molecules in hair and skin, making hair dry and brittle and skin dry, flaky and itchy. Sometimes hair will lose its color.
Chlorine reacts with oils in the skin to form compounds associated with cancer, which can be absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body.
The skin also has a normal protective bacteria balance that is disturbed by chlorine.
At Beyond Health, we’ve got some products that can help. Our Dechlorinating Shower Filter and Dechlorinating Bath Ball can remove 90% or more of the chlorine from your shower or bath water easily and inexpensively.
Check with your local water department to see whether your public water is treated with chlorine or chloramine (chlorine combined with ammonia). Chloramine is harder to remove, and the above products won’t do the trick. The solution is to install our whole-house Home Master Water Filter System, which removes both chlorine and chloramine, and many other contaminants as well.
A warm shower or bath is one of life’s pleasures—a time to relax and unwind, not worry about contaminants like chlorine.