Your Water and Your Health

There is a lot to be said about the quality of water you use and consume on a daily basis; especially if the water you are using may be deteriorating your health. If you have treated water from a public source, I especially want you to pay attention to this article. When municipal water is treated with chlorine or chloramines, and comes in contact with organic matter, such as decaying vegetation and algae, disinfection byproducts are formed (DBPs). We’ve all heard of the dangers from flouride and pharmaceuticals in our water, but believe it or not, DBPs are probably one of your worst enemies.

One of the most common forms of DBPs is called trihalomethanes (THMs). THMs are a Group B carcinogen, which means that they have already been proven to cause cancer in laboratory studies. They’ve also been shown to cause skin and respiratory problems, weaken the immune system, and cause reproductive, cardiovascular, and renal harm. I know from personal experience, that there have been times when my municipal water supply has been cited for having high levels of trihalomethanes. Unfortunately, by the time I usually receive these notices, my family and I have already been exposed.

The good news is that a carbon filter will remove chlorine, chloramines, and DBPs from your drinking water. However, this leaves your bath and shower as sources of exposure. The bath and shower are probably two of your greatest risks for exposure due to the absorption of chemicals through the skin and due to the heat that is produced during hot showers and baths. This heat converts the chemicals into toxic gases. Shower filtration heads will help, however, due to the volume of water being pushed through at rapid speeds, not all chemicals will be eliminated before they reach you. A shower head filter is still a better option than none.

If you have the ability to obtain a whole house filtration system, this would be your best choice since it will filter your water before it reaches any source in your home. Another low cost option for those who take baths is the use of vitamin C. You want to pay attention to this especially if you have children who love taking baths. Dissolve 1,000 mg of vitamin C into your bath tub. This will neutralize the chlorine or chloramines present in your bath water.

The good news for those of you with private wells is that groundwater is unlikely to contain the organic materials needed to form DBPs as long as it comes from a protected underground supply. If you’re interested in learning more on this subject, I’ve included a link.

2 thoughts on “Your Water and Your Health

  1. Would this work for garden water also? Most things I’m reading stress watering with non-chlorinated water. How long would it take to be neutralized?

    1. Yes, two forms of vitamin C, ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate, will neutralize chlorine. One gram of ascorbic acid will neutralize 1 milligram per liter of chlorine per 100 gallons of water. The reaction is very fast.

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