Showering: Is Your Health at Risk?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Showering is common practice in North America to shower on a daily basis, sometimes more than once. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that more chlorine is absorbed through the skin during the average shower than by drinking six to eight glasses of tap water. This may make one wonder, how clean is shower water?

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Showering is common practice in North America to shower on a daily basis, sometimes more than once. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that more chlorine is absorbed through the skin during the average shower than by drinking six to eight glasses of tap water. This may make one wonder, how clean is shower water?

For the past decade, people have focused on the importance of clean drinking water. Purified drinking water reduces or eliminates chemicals found in normal tap water. However, the body derives its need for water from alternative sources, most notably while showering.

It is common practice in North America to shower on a daily basis, sometimes more than once. Unfortunately, most people are unaware that more chlorine is absorbed through the skin during the average shower than by drinking six to eight glasses of tap water. This may make one wonder, how clean is shower water?

Are you a fan of hot showers? Since the skin is porous, it is the body's way of excreting toxins and regulating temperature, hot showers cause the pores of the skin to dilate, allowing chlorine and other free radicals to be rapidly absorbed. Chlorine is also contained within the water vapor that enters the air as steam, and which we breathe into our lungs as we shower. Dr. Halina Brown, a professor of water chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, claims that the exposure to vaporized chemicals in water supplied through showering, bathing and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking the water.

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Furthermore, chlorine and other water contaminants reduce the effectiveness of many shampoos, conditioners, lotions, oils and skin creams, leaving your skin dry and unnourished. Any contact the body has with water is cause for concern. Swimming pools and hot tubs use chlorine to kill bacteria. Little thought is given to the effect on the human body. Chlorine is a highly toxic element, which has the ability to denature protein. All living organisms are made up of protein; thus any living organism that comes in contact with sufficient quantities of chlorine is killed. After swimming or showering you may notice that you have sore eyes, sinus blockage, respiratory problems (such as asthma), cracking skin (hands and feet), or dry hair and an itchy scalp. You may also feel tired and your skin might smell of chlorine for hours afterwards, even after showering.

Your Showerhead

What is your health worth? The May 2003 issue of Elle Magazine, featured a showerhead that has a carbon filter that removes chlorine as well as other toxic substances in our water like lead, iron oxides and other sediments that leave dulling deposits on the hair. If the showerhead removes the minerals that cause this dulling effect, one might notice an increase in shine and hydration. This is something you may want to consider when comparing showerheads and filters.

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Written by Peter McGarry
This page is updated on May 3, 2013.

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Comments

CRAP so what? if we shower without your special shower head will die? people have been showering for years everyday in their life... and NOW we HAVE to change our shower heads and waste money Just because "new" studies have shown showering is a slight danger toward our health? I'm not buying it
Another thing I know that some person is reading this a deleting all comments that don't approve of this article so i'd hope you'll actually post bad comments as a mark of honesty
since when has their been chlorine in water. has any one forgotten what water is made up of? i don't see any chlorine symbol in H2O when i look in scince books or anything. if there is chlorine in our water systems then we need to talk directly to the water companies cause there shouldn't be. and if there is. why should we have to buy this so called" special shower head"? why don't the water company put this filter in the main line so that we get clean water without any indivisual filters in our shower heads?
uhh. chlorine from pools. then u shower. then u breathe it in. then u get sick and stuff. duh.
Very good article! I don't think people are aware of how much the tap water can affect health!! Also how much money we end up spending after water has done the damage. It is normal in our day in age to have dry skin, breathing problems, tooth decay, ostoperouses, clogged bodily systems and other horrible diseases as a result from unhealthy tap water. The pores on our body absorb all of that! Also we breathe in so much with the steam. Try out a filter and see the difference. I have gotten to the point of healthy eating, drinking & bathing I really don't even need to shower anymore. No use for shampoo or lotions or inhalers either...