5 Ways a Shower can harm you

Showering is part of our daily routine but many of us do not realize that it might harm us. This is because our shower water contains chlorine and other harmful chemicals that affect our health.

Chlorine is a chemical element with disinfectant properties that eliminate bacteria and contaminants. As such, it is used to sanitize our public water supplies such as tap water, shower water and swimming pools.

However, long-term exposure to chlorine has adverse effects. These effects include:

1. More chlorine tends to be absorbed into your body through your skin and inhalation while showering

As compared to drinking non-filtered tap water, a large amount of chlorine tends to be absorbed into our bodies through our skin while we are showering. Research has shown that the concentration of chlorine in the blood increases by 2 to 7 times after showering (Nuckols et al., 2005). Whereas consumption of non-filtered tap water only causes a slight elevation in concentration of chlorine in the blood.

This is especially so if you take hot showers, which allow for the increased absorption of chlorine through the open pores on the skin. In addition, during hot showers, chlorine and other contaminants are vaporized and enter our bodies via inhalation. The inhaled chlorine by-product, also known as chloroform then goes directly into our blood stream, making it difficult to get rid of. On the other hand, when we drink non-filtered tap water, a certain portion of the chlorine is filtered out by our kidneys.

2. Respiratory issues can be exacerbated or brought about by exposure to chlorine

As mentioned above, chlorine and other harmful substances are vaporized during hot showers. Subsequently, they are inhaled into our lungs before entering our blood stream. As such, this causes chronic, repeated disruption of the lung epithelial barrier and facilitates the penetration of allergens (Bernard A et al., 2003). In other words, the vaporized chlorine irritates the tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs. The individual then becomes more susceptible to developing various respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and other lung, nose as well as throat conditions.

People with existing respiratory health problems will also experience aggravated symptoms when frequently exposed to chlorine during showering. This occurs not only during the process of showering itself but also during other indoor activities at home as well. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), indoor air concentrations of chloroform may rise for short periods of time due to volatilization from hot water during showering (World Health Organization, 2004). These increased levels of chloroform are then dispersed throughout the home environment, thus affecting indoor air quality as well as one’s respiratory health in the long run.

3. Skin irritations may occur due to chlorine and other chemicals in your shower water

Showering in non-filtered, chlorinated water can result in dry, irritated skin. This is because chlorine and other chemicals in the shower water strips your skin of its natural oils, making it dry and itchy. It can also damage the outer skin layer/barrier, hence triggering inflammation and allowing for the penetration of irritants (Ewence A. et al., 2011). Other existing skin conditions such as eczema/atopic dermatitis may also be aggravated by these irritants, thus worsening the symptoms.

In addition, long term exposure to chlorine and chemicals brings about various signs of ageing such as dull skin, wrinkles and fine lines. To cope with these signs, many people often turn to spending more on medical and cosmetic products such moisturizers and cream.

4. Chlorine causes dry and damaged hair

Washing your hair in non-filtered, chlorinated water can strip the natural oils and moisture in it, thus causing dry and frizzy hair. Chlorine and other chemicals also irritate the scalp, making it red and flaky.

5. Chlorine is associated with cancer

Trihalomethanes (THM) are by-products formed when chlorine is added to water that contains natural organic matter (Madabhushi B, 1999). Known to have carcinogenic effects, THM brings about the production of free radicals in the body and causing cell damage.

In addition, based on numerous studies, it has been found that there is a link between exposure to chlorinated water containing THM and the risk of developing bladder, rectum and colon cancer (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). In fact, long-term THM exposure is associated with a twofold bladder cancer risk (Villanueva C et al., 2007). The types of exposure include drinking chlorinated water, showering, bathing or swimming in chlorinated water.

Before you decide to reduce the frequency of showering or even stop showering entirely (For the sake of the people around you, we sincerely hope not), you will be glad to know that there is a simple solution to deal with the harmful effects of chlorine in your shower water.

All you need to do is to install a Shower Filter!

Benefits of Using StarWellness Anions Shower Filter:

  • Reduces chlorine and harmful chemicals present in shower water
  • Prevents skin irritation or rashes caused by chlorine in shower water
  • Improves respiratory health
  • Helps to keep hair soft, sleek and moisturized
  • Reduces dependency on costly skin lotions or moisturizers
  • Promotes overall health
  • Protects the skin or hair of your pets from chlorine in shower water

To find out more about how the StarWellness Anions Shower Filter can enhance your well-being, read our brochure here.

References:

Nuckols J, Ashley D, Lyu C, Gordon S, Hinckley A, Singer P (2005) Influence of tap water quality and household water use activities on indoor air and internal dose levels of trihalomethanes.
Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257647/

Bernard A, Carbonnelle S, Michel O, Higuet S, Burbure C, Buchet J-P, Hermans C, Dumont X, Doyle I (2003) Lung hyperpermeability and asthma prevelance in schoolchildren
Retrieved from http://oem.bmj.com/content/oemed/60/6/385.full.pdf

World Health Organization (2004) Chloroform
Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/cicad/en/cicad58.pdf

Ewence A, Rumsy P, Rockett L, Davey A, Williams H, Dancy S, Cork M (2011) A review of skin irritation and tap water quality
Retrieved from http://dwi.defra.gov.uk/research/completed-research/reports/dwi70-2-257.pdf

U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2011) Report on Carcinogens
Retrieved from http://www.iaff.org/HS/PDF/12th%20Report%20on%20Carcinogens%20-%202011.pdf

Madabhushi B (1999) What are Trihalomethanes?
Retrieved from http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/ndwc/articles/qanda/otsp99_q_a.pdf

Villanueva C, Cantor K, Grimalt J, Silverman N, Tardon A, Garcia-Closas R, Serra C, Castaño-Vinyals A, Marcos R, Rothman N, Francisco X, Kogevinas M (2007) Bladder Cancer and Exposure to Water Disinfection By-Products through Ingestion, Bathing, Showering, and Swimming in Pools
Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/165/2/148/98015/Bladder-Cancer-and-Exposure-to-Water-Disinfection

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