Your everyday chlorine exposure

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Do you know most people expose themselves to chlorine on a daily basis? That’s even if you don’t go near a swimming pool.

You might have read my previous post ‘Do you really know what you are drinking?‘ where I discussed in detail some of the issues with our current drinking water and why we drink Zazen filtered water in our house.

In the previous post, I discussed how chlorine we ingest through drinking has the potential to adversely affect our gut flora. But chlorine is a bigger concern when we shower.  When water is heated (as occurs when you shower unless you have them cold!), some of the chlorine and its by-products are turned into vapour, one of which is chloroform. In fact, chlorine has a very low boiling point (-34 degrees celsius) so its always going to vapourise when you shower. Additionally, depending on where you live your water disinfection may be via chloramination (chlorine + ammonia). This may be even more damaging than chlorine as it can release ammonia as another toxic by-product. I think chloramination has been phased out in Melbourne and surrounds but its worth checking your respective water supply to see if you are affected by this.

Not only is the chlorine absorbed via direct contact with your skin (the biggest organ in your body), it is also inhaled and directly enters your bloodstream via your lungs. Some research suggests that a 10 minute hot shower delivers more chloroform into your body than two litres of chlorine treated water in a day.

If you are interested in reading in more detail about chlorine and showers, here is an excellent, referenced article on this exact issue.

So we also have a Zazen raindrop shower filter in our house. In addition to filtering out the chlorine, this shower filter can also reduce up to 99% of water-soluble metals such as lead, mercury, nickel and chromium.

Unfortunately with young children the shower filter doesn’t work when they are still having baths. When I started to look at options for removing chlorine from the bath water, it was a little more complicated. Bath filters and bath filter cups exist to attach to taps but the tap we had wasn’t suitable for these. Other products such as crystal bath balls also exist that you can put in the water each time to neutralise the chlorine. Whilst investigating filter options, I discovered the fact that Vitamin C neutralizes the effect of chlorine in our water. For those interested in the chemical reaction and by products like I was, it’s here. In fact, its as easy as putting a tablespoon of either powdered ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate (both forms of Vitamin C) in the bath tub a few minutes prior to putting your child in. More recently, I have discovered this amazing bath softener that not only contains ascorbic acid but also dead sea mineral salts. This has the added benefit of assisting with common skin ailments that tend to affect so many children these days.

So that pretty much covers our main forms of chlorine exposure. Well except hand washing exposure but that is really minor in comparison. I plan on getting a whole of house water filter on our next house so I’ll let you know when I do and why I chose what I did.

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