Nearly every day we read how a new chemical, toxin, pharmaceutical drug, radioactive residue or parasite is contaminating our water supply, and especially our drinking water.
In fact, a 3-year Environmental Working Group study found that 85% of the U.S. population’s water is laced with over 300 contaminants. But what you may not expect is that the very substance added to purify your water, chlorine, is actually causing the most harm of all.
It’s gotten to the point where every time you turn on your faucet, you’re committing an act of faith!
If you’re one to buy bottled water by the case, you have different issues like the BPA-ridden plastic bottles, the lack of strict regulations, and even heavy metals in some of the most popular brands. And some bottled water is actually just tap water, so you’re still not escaping the chlorine in your drinking water.
In the early 1900s when chlorine was first added to make drinking water safe for consumption, it was deemed a miracle. It killed bacteria and viruses that had previously made water-borne illnesses a constant problem for drinking and bathing.
Unfortunately what has long been overlooked are the potential (and very dangerous) health risks that everyday exposure to chlorine can have on our health.
Here are the top three ways chlorine in your drinking water is harming your health:
1. Chlorine Kills Good Gut Bacteria
Flash forward to today and bacteria in our drinking water has become smarter. Many of the water-borne parasites once prevented by chlorination like Giardia and Cryptosporidium have developed varying levels of resistance to chlorine and it’s become much less effective.
As a disinfectant meant to kill bacteria in the water, consuming chlorine does exactly that in your GI tract, wiping out good gut bacteria like lactobacilli. Without these beneficial bacteria the immune system suffers and many studies have now linked poor gut health to mental health problems in children. One recent study found a correlation between temperament and the presence of good bacteria, in addition to attributing poor gut health to illnesses like bowel disease, asthma, obesity and allergies. To keep your gut in balance, we suggest not only avoiding chlorine in your drinking water, but also using a high quality probiotic powder consisting of at least 10 billion beneficial bacteria daily. Repopulating your GI tract with probiotics can help to ward off bacteria and parasites (both water-borne or otherwise), yeast overgrowth and allergies.
2. Chlorine Acts as an Estrogen Mimic
What’s worse is the hormone scramble chlorine performs in your body; whether chlorine is absorbed through your skin in the shower, or from drinking water. When it’s in our bodies, chlorine becomes a xeno (or false) estrogen. Xenoestrogens contribute to estrogen dominance which can result in both female and male cancers and many other health concerns like hair loss, fatigue, lack of libido, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, insomnia and PMS. It also leads to vitamin deficiencies like zinc, magnesium and B vitamins (which have their own lengthy list of health problems).
3. Chlorine Causes Weight Gain
Drinking or showering in chlorinated water can play a part in weight gain on several fronts. As a toxic chemical, chlorine displaces the iodine in your thyroid leading to hypothyroidism and unwanted side effects like weight gain and hot flashes. And since your liver is busy eliminating excess estrogens, it is less likely to do a good job performing other integral functions like burning fat. Chlorine also kills antioxidants like vitamins E and A that normally protect your good fats from damage. Without this protection, you can become deficient in essential fatty acids omega-3, 6, and 9 which then contributes to, you guessed it, more weight gain! In order to help support your liver, you may want to add a natural liver support supplement like Liver-Lovin Formula to your daily regimen. Ingredients like artichoke and chlorophyll can help the liver clean out heavy metals, chlorine, and other toxins that may be stuck in your system.
And, that’s not all.
As chlorine reacts with water’s natural organic compounds, it creates even bigger problems for our health. Disinfectant byproducts (DBP) like trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) are linked to reproductive problems, like stillbirths in animals and humans, and pose a great risk through skin exposure from pools and showers in addition to your drinking water. One form of THMs is chloroform—the chemical used to knock people out—so it shouldn’t seem like a stretch when we say exposing yourself every day to chlorine can cause kidney, liver and nervous system damage!
Protect Yourself From the Dangers of Chlorine in Your Drinking Water
While water treatment alternatives like ultraviolet and ozone do exist, chlorine is a “necessary” evil that most of us here in the US simply aren’t able to avoid in our drinking water.
But, the good news is, a basic filter in your home is all it takes to protect your family from chlorine and its harmful effects. A high quality ceramic filter can remove more than 99% of chlorine and 95% of chloramines, chloroform and byproducts like THMs.
If you do nothing else, start in the shower first. Chlorinated water is most toxic when you’re taking a shower as you breathe the toxic fumes into your lungs. A shower filter takes seconds to install and is extremely affordable. Bathtub filters can protect the water you and your family soak in as well.
The best way to ensure your tap water is drinkable is with an under the counter or countertop filter. Not only will it eliminate chlorine and its byproducts, it will also protect your family form parasites and heavy metals like lead.
Adding adequate water filtration to your home is the safest and most cost efficient way to remove chlorine and enjoy pure, clean water whether you’re cooking, drinking, bathing or showering.
Do you have a water filter in your home? Post a comment to share how it has helped protect you from the dangers of chlorine.