Chlorinated Water in the Shower
The following article is republished from Rainshow’r:
Dear Rainshow’r Customer,
The following is an excerpt from an article first published in the Australian Magazine, Nature & Health. Vol. 10. No. 4., Issue Summer 1989.
Article published by: Whedon Young Productions Pty. Ltd. 372 Eastern Valley Way, Chatswood, New South Wales 2067, Australia From "One Hundred Years Of Water Chlorination", Pages 44-49, by John F. Ashton, Chief Chemist Australian Food Research Laboratories and by Dr. Ronald S. Laura, Professor in Education, University of Newcastle and Chairman, Sports Medicine and Health Education Committee, Hunter Academy of Sport, New South Wales.
Chlorinated Water and Unknown Hazards of the Shower
is another side to the chlorine-water story. When we return from a gym
workout or a jogging session or a game of squash, not only are we
thirsty but we usually shower or bathe. We have been taught that
cleanliness and health go together, and indeed they do, when
chemical-free water is used. When chlorinated water is used, however,
bathing may be much less healthy than we ever supposed.
Gasses are as a rule less soluble in hot water, and when water is heated or boiled dissolved gasses are released. Boiling water is as we noted earlier a way in which the free chlorine content in water is greatly reduced, the chlorine escaping into the air. When we have a hot shower or run a bath we can sometimes smell the chlorine released as it escapes from the hot water. In a confined shower recess, however, especially one with poor ventilation, the chlorine escapes from the water as we continue the hot shower and steadily increases in concentration in the air we breathe. The olfactory threshold for chlorine is about 3.5 PPM (parts per million) so when we can smell chlorine the concentration is already above this level. The lethal concentration for ten-minute exposure is about 600 PPM and we suggest that regularly taking hot showers with chlorinated water could pose a health risk.
pulmonary edema, and it would seem likely that regular exposure to
chlorine gas even at low levels such as in normal showering may reduce
the oxygen transfer capacity of the lungs. This could be a critical
factor for athletes and for others prone to heart failure.
aspect to be considered is our skin. Our skin is an important
protective barrier for our bodies. When we shower with chlorinated water
we are essentially exposing our skin to a relatively large volume of a
dilute chlorine solution. Some of this chlorine reacts with the oils in
the skin to form chlorinated compounds and it is these compounds which
may then be absorbed by the body. It seems very likely, considering the
strong oxidizing power of chlorine, that regular exposure to chlorinated
water serves also to promote the aging process of the skin, not unlike
extended exposure to sunlight. Moreover, chlorine may actually enhance
the aging effects of ultraviolet radiation by reinforcing the process of
skin factor is to be considered with the destruction by chlorine of the
natural bacteria balance on our skin. Our skin has an ecology all of
its own, which needs to be preserved in order to maintain healthy skin
and its associated beauty.
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