Have you thought about your exposure to chlorine in the shower and bath? We tend to pay attention to clean eating and using non-toxic personal care products. But there are problems with showering and bathing in chlorinated water.
I would say that all municipal water systems use chlorine as a disinfectant. It is becoming clear that the byproducts of this practice are toxic and may affect your health, especially those with gut dysbiosis, leaky gut and other gut issues.
The most obvious issue with bathing or showering in chlorinated water is the fact that the skin has a microbiome that needs to be nurtured, not bombarded with anti-microbials. There are trillions of beneficial bacteria on the skin that protect us that are killed by chlorinated water.
Subjecting the skin microbiome to an anti-bacterial, like chlorine, is similar to taking an antibiotic internally.
It is an assault on your microbiome.
It will kill all the bacteria, not just the trouble makers.
Chlorine is absorbed through the skin faster than if you are drinking chlorinated water.
Furthermore, there is the issue of inhalation of the fumes from the chlorine in a shower – which is chloroform.
Inhalation is another method of getting toxic fumes right into the blood stream and to the gut.
Anyone with asthma or allergies should never subject their lungs to chloroform, especially under the conditions of a hot water environment, which opens up the airways, allowing even more chloroform to reach deep into the lungs.
The skin is indeed an organ.
The skin is an organ of excretion and as such, it is a visual record of what is going on inside the gut.
If there are problems with digestion of food, food allergies, or problems with elimination, there will be a visual image of that reflected in some way, through the skin.
If you are on a healing protocol you must remember that the creams, lotions, soaps, and water, that you put on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream.
If these products are made of chemicals, that can and will affect your health and your ability to heal.
When chlorine is used to treat water, it combines with organic matter in the water to form byproduct compounds called Trihalomethanes (THMs). According to this study from Environmental Health Perspectives,
THMs have been associated with negative health effects such as cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes. Now a study by government and academic researchers adds to previous evidence that dermal absorption and inhalation of THMs associated with everyday tap water use can result in significantly higher blood THM concentrations than simply drinking the water does. (Source)
Of course we need to disinfect the water supply and chlorine is an expedient substance to use.
However, we then need to remove the chlorine.
While you may spend more time swimming or hanging out in pool of chlorinated water than you do in the bath or shower, the results of this study,published at PLos One, is disturbing.
Researchers found that toxic compounds, called disinfection by-products (DBPs), are formed in chlorinated pool water. They used rats in a 12 week “swimming program” to mimic how humans train in a swimming pool.
The researchers concluded,
… The 12-week swimming training in chlorinated pool water did induce some disease symptoms, an impairment of training effects and a significant change in the metabolic profiles, although the growth and behaviors of the experimental animals were not affected. The bloody noses, bloody eyes, lackluster fur and hair removal reflected the direct irritation of the DBPs to the respiratory tract, eyes and skin because these organs were in direct contacted with the DBPs. However, possibly because of the protection from nasal mucous, the respiratory tract showed some adaptability to the DBPs. Thus, the eyes and skin might be the organs that require greater attention for permanent damage.
We may not be rats, but it is clear that there are several different categories of toxins in chlorinated water that can affect mammals in a negative way.
For anyone on the GAPS diet, Dr. Campbell McBride always states that one should not be swimming in chlorinated water and to also not be exposed to any chlorine in the bath or the shower (as well as drinking water).
Because the chlorine will kill the beneficial bacteria in all the various microbiomes of the body – skin, mouth and gut.
Researchers found that people with the highest levels of metabolites of dichlorophenols in their urine also had greater chances of having a food allergy.
Tap water is chlorinated with a chemical called dicholorophenol. This chemical is also in pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.
The researchers based their findings on the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, of 10,348 people between 2005 and 2006. From this group, 2,548 people had detectable levels of dichlorophenols in their urine and were used for the study.
Of the 2211 people actually used for the study, 411 had food allergies and 1016 had environmental allergies.
According to allergist Elina Jerschow, M.D., M.Sc., ACAAI fellow and lead study author,
When researchers have compared bacteria from the bowel in healthy kids versus bacteria in the bowel from kids that have lot of allergies, they’ve noticed a big difference.
Our research shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy… this chemical is commonly found in pesticides used by farmers and consumer insect and weed control products, as well as tap water.
The filter I am using is the Clearly Filtered Shower Filter for chlorine. I will disclose that I received a free filter to sample, however, I wouldn’t write about the product if I didn’t think it was good.
I definitely know that it is filtering the chlorine – we have a lot of chlorine in our water and I can smell it when I take a shower. The most definitive time will come in the summer when the county adds even more chlorine and you often feel like you are in a chlorinated swimming pool! I will update in a few months!
Even without taking out the chlorine, it is a great shower head. It has 7 settings from mist to full force and everything in between. It was a snap to install and it made me realize how bad my previous shower head was. It also takes out rust and other odors.
Clearly Filtered also offers a hand held version.
The filter is said to last 6 months and the replacements are not expensive – it is well worth the money to have fresh clean water coming out of the shower head – not water laden with chlorine.
For the bath, I would get this one. I have not tried it, but the reviews are good.
My next project, is to get a whole house filter. I would probably go with the whole house water filter at this company. I know the company and they stand behind their products.