The health hazards of the presence of chlorine in water when showering

CHLORINE is absorbed not only through our skin, but it is also vaporized in the shower and inhaled into our lungs, where it is then transferred directly into the bloodstream. Showering accounts for more than half of our daily chlorine exposure.

You will not absorb chlorine if you have enough iodine in your system.

A study by Shakhawat Chowdhury and Pascale Champagne in Pubmed titled “Risk from exposure to trihalomethanes during shower: probabilistic assessment and control” shows the health hazards associated with trihalomethanes (THMs). Trihalomethanes (THMs) are chemical compounds in which three of methane’s (CH4) four hydrogen atoms are replaced by halogen atoms. Many THMs are used as solvents or refrigerants in industry. THMs are also environmental pollutants, with many being carcinogenic. THMs are trihalomethanes, which are chemical compounds that can form when chlorine is used to disinfect water. THMs are formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter in water, and as a result, they are more common in surface water supplies across Canada.

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are byproducts of water treatment. They form when natural organic material, such as decaying vegetation found in lakes and reservoirs, reacts with the chlorine used to treat the water. This reaction results in “disinfection byproducts,” the most common of which are THMs.

People who consume high levels of trihalomethanes over a long period of time increase their risk of developing bladder cancer. Other potential health effects of trihalomethanes include rectal and colon cancer, as well as adverse developmental and reproductive effects during pregnancy.

“Exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) through inhalation and dermal contact during showering and bathing may pose risks to human health. During showering and bathing, warm water (35 degrees C-45 degrees C) is generally used. Warming of chlorinated supply water may increase THMs formation through enhanced reactions between organics and residual chlorine. Exposure assessment using THMs concentrations in cold water may under-predict the possible risks to human health. In this study, THMs concentrations in warm water were estimated by developing a THMs formation rate model. Using THMs in warm water, cancer and non-cancer risks to human health were predicted for three major cities in Ontario (Canada). The parameters for risk assessments were characterized by statistical distributions. The total cancer risks from exposure to THMs during showering were predicted to be 7.6×10(-6), 6.3×10(-6) and 4.3×10(-6) for Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto respectively. The cancer risks exceedance probabilities were estimated to be highest in Ottawa at different risk levels. The risks through inhalation exposure were found to be comparable (2.1×10(-6)-3.7×10(-6)) to those of the dermal contact (2.2×10(-6)-3.9×10(-6)) for the cities. This study predicted 36 cancer incidents from exposure to THMs during showering for these three cities, while Toronto contributed the highest number of possible cancer incidents (22), followed by Ottawa (10) and Hamilton (4).

The sensitivity analyses showed that health risks could be controlled by varying shower stall volume and/or shower duration following the power law relationship.”

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