Showering and bathing in chlorinated water may expose us to even more chlorine and its byproducts than drinking this disinfected water.
While our bodies can filter out much of the chlorine from our drinking water, the THMs and other disinfectant byproducts we inhale during showers and baths may be much more harmful, since the chlorine gas we inhale enters directly into our blood stream. (12)
Therefore, even if you filter your drinking water, the amount of toxins you are exposed to from your daily shower or bath, through inhalation or skin absorption, may be cause for greater concern.
Research has demonstrated that the cancer risk associated with chlorinated water may actually be due to showering and bathing, rather than drinking the disinfected water. (13, 14) This suggests that many health risks of chlorine may be specifically related to dermal and inhalation exposure. In fact, the chloroform dose from a single, ten minute shower is equal to, and possibly greater than, that from the average two liters of water ingestion on a daily basis. (15, 16)
Therefore, the filtration of your shower and bath water may be even more important than the water you drink.
Chlorine filtration is fairly simple, provided you use some level of technology to remove it from your shower or bath water. There are resources on the Food Renegade blog about where to find chlorine-filtering shower heads and bath filters. (17) This includes the Rainshow’r Shower Filter and the Crystal Ball Bath Dechlorinator, both sold by the Radiant Life Company.
I’d like to point out that chlorine isn’t in everyone’s water supply, but there is another disinfectant that is also of concern. I checked my local water company’s website, and discovered they use chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) to disinfect the water supply. (17)
Chloramine exposure may be even more damaging to the lung epithelium than chlorine, and may release ammonia as another toxic byproduct as well.