The first application of chlorine being used to clean the public water supply was in 1908 in the city of Chicago. Back then, typhoid fever and cholera were rampant, and the water supply was, unfortunately, a swift carrier of disease among inner-city residents. Since then, the chlorination of water has been used effectively to sanitize the water supply around the world, and it has significantly reduced the health risks associated with public water. But after all these years, is chlorinating water also harmful? Read on to find out why we should remove chlorine from water.
What are the health risks associated with chlorine?
Besides adding an unpleasant taste and odor to drinking water, chlorine can be harmful in a number of ways. Chlorine is a powerful oxidizing agent, which means it can degrade plastic on plumbing parts, leach lead from old soldered pipes, and, by extension, cause harm to the body. In 1992, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health indicated that those who consumed chlorinated water were at 15% to 35% greater risk of discovering cancerous cells in their body. Nearly 25 years later, most health experts agree that consuming chlorinated water poses some health risks to an otherwise healthy individual.
Chlorine can dry the skin and hair because the natural oils in the skin and scalp are more easily shed by the body. This exposure can exacerbate conditions like eczema and psoriasis in sensitive individuals. Chlorine can also enter the body in gaseous form, so we inhale chlorine vapors as we shower, and these vapors are known to irritate bronchial conditions in some people.
Is is easy to remove chlorine from water?
Chlorine should be in the public water system, as it effectively sanitizes the water supply and minimizes the chance of disease transmission. The amount of chlorine found in city water is supposed to correspond to the amount of contaminants in the water, so levels can be inconsistent. How many times have you been to a restaurant and drunk a glass of water that tasted heavy with chlorine, or the odor of chlorine out of the tab or shower at a hotel was overwhelming? But the moment water leaves your tap or shower head, it should be free from chlorine. Chlorine is quite easily removed from a home or office water supply by using one of two highly-effective methods: carbon filtration or reverse osmosis.
- Carbon Filtration: The most common form of carbon filtration is an under-the-sink variety, which removes chlorine, volatile organic chemicals, and bad tastes and odors. The water tastes great. Then there is the whole-house water filtration system, which is installed on the home’s existing pipes right after the public water supply enters the residence. This means the entire water supply to the home is filtered, so residents shower with and drink chlorine-free water.
- Reverse Osmosis: Residential reverse osmosis (RO) units are regarded as the most effective home drinking water systems on the market today. An advanced RO system, certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) to remove contaminants, will dispense the best-tasting, highest-quality drinking available, and ice cubes will be clear. Most RO units are installed in the kitchen and use a lead-free faucet to deliver crystal-clear, purified, water for years. They are reasonable to maintain, cost-effective (compared to buying bottled water), and a healthy choice.
Learn about the benefits of home water filtration systems that can easily and affordably eliminate chlorine and other harmful elements in the public water supply by speaking to a water conditioning expert about your options.