What is the one thing that harms your child everyday? Water. Find out about “vaporized chlorine” and how to prevent the damage to your children and family.
HOW ARE OUR KIDS EXPOSED
One primary way our kids are exposed to chlorine at home is through the tap water used for drinking and cooking. (If you’re not filtering your drinking water, use these three steps.) But even more dangerous than the chlorine exposure in drinking water is exposure to chlorine gas from other “personal uses” like bathing, showering, and use of the toilet.
Let’s look first at the bath. While it’s true that chlorine robs our skin and hair of moisture and elasticity, that’s just cosmetic. However, over time skin can become irritated from the chlorine, leading to “irritant dermatitis.” Also, chlorine has a drying effect on the eyes and can make them burn. (Can you imagine a child with burning eyes and irritated skin wanting to sit down and read?
All of these effects from bathing are bad, but showering is even worse. That’s for two reasons:
- Chlorine vaporizes much faster than water, and it vaporizes at a lower temperature than water as well. This means vaporized chlorine (chloroform) builds up in the air inside your home. Dr Lance Wallace of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concludes: “Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform (chlorine gas) in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water.”
- The heat of the water opens your pores, and that allows for accelerated absorption of this pesticide.
The bottom line: That steamy shower that feels so good is actually quite bad for your health. In fact, a ten-minute shower gives you the same chlorine exposure as drinking a gallon of unfiltered, municipal tap water. Unfortunately, children are in greater danger because of their smaller size.
Another often overlooked source of vaporized chlorine in the home is the toilet. Each time the toilet is flushed, chlorinated water comes into the bowl. It takes about thirty minutes for the chlorine in the water to vaporize into the air. Of course, this adds to the concentration of chloroform that is already in the air from showering. Couple this with the fact that many homes are sealed off much of the year (for heat in the cold weather and air conditioning in the hot weather) and the indoor air becomes very unhealthy, for adults and especially children.
INHALING CHLORINE GAS IS DANGEROUS
Inhaling chlorine gas is much more harmful than drinking chlorine in water. Why? Because when we inhale chloroform, it goes directly into our bloodstream. And kids, because of their smaller size, reach dangerous concentrations sooner. In fact, inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children. Also, there is a large body of research connecting chlorinated water use and many types of cancer. For example, one study found that “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”
HOW TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE
To keep your children and family safe from vaporized chlorine, REMOVE it and PREVENT it from accumulating in your home.
- REMOVE the chloroform by airing out your house for 5-10 minutes each day. Allow cross-ventilation to flush the chloroform out of the air completely every 24 hours, no matter the temperature outside.
- PREVENT it from building up by filtering your “personal use” water:
- The best option is to install a “whole house” filter. This removes the chlorine from your indoor water supply. (You will still need a filter for your drinking/cooking water because the piping in homes contains contaminants (e.g. lead in older plumbing and plastics in newer PVC piping.)
- If a whole house filter is not an option, install shower filters.
C. If your children still take baths, use bath filters.
- What if your options are limited? Follow the experts’ advice. Dr. Mercola says, “If you can afford only one, get a shower filter.”Inhaling vaporized chlorine (chloroform) is more damaging than ingesting chlorine when we drink it in tap water–and is related to many health problems. To keep your children and family safe, REMOVE it and PREVENT it from building up inside your home. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Next up on the blog? AIR. Find out some little known research that will take your breath away about your child’s breathing.
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