- You definitely don’t want a case of these vapors
- Find out what your showerhead isn’t doing for you
- Take your vitamins…in the shower?
I love to shower.
The soothing sound of a running shower and the feel of warm water washing away all of the troubles of the day or night. It really is one of the best ways to start or finish my day.
And it seems I’m not alone. The average American showers at least seven times a week — beating out other countries like the U.K. and Japan, where the average is only five showers per week. 1
These seven showers total up to about an hour spent in the shower per week.
Somehow, I don’t really believe this statistic — I know plenty of folks (myself included) who can spend an hour a day in the shower or soaking in the tub.
In fact, Americans love shower time so much we use over 1 trillion gallons of water every year for our hygienic rituals.2
But there is a great danger in all of this shower time, and it isn’t just frivolous water waste. It’s the health-hazardous chemicals our water supply is laced with that make these seemingly harmless aquatic indulgences wreak havoc on your well-being, and could even lead to deadly diseases like cancer and heart disease.
And while you may think your current shower filter (if you have one) is protecting you from harmful toxins, there is a great chance it isn’t.
Well, unless you only take cold showers.
We will dive further into the health dangers and talk about a shower head so powerful it can protect you from poisonous chemicals in just a bit. First, let’s find out what’s pouring out of your shower head.
If you ever cranked your shower up to extra hot and left the bathroom for a minute, then you have probably noticed the faint smell of swimming pool in the room when you return.
There is a reason for this — and it’s disturbing.
Your now steamy bathroom full of chlorine vapor — the same corrosive chemical used to keep swimming pools hygienic.
As you may have heard before, chlorine isn’t just used to keep the water are the community pool sanitary. It’s also used treat bacteria in municipal water supplies — the water that is directly pumped into your home. The problem is while this chlorine is very effective at killing germs, it’s also extremely toxic to humans.
And the worst part — your daily shower is trickling this toxic substance directly on your largest organ — your skin.
Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests cancer risks from exposure to chlorinated water is more likely due to showering and bathing rather than drinking chlorinated water.2,3
One reason for this is chloroform — yep, chloroform — the same stuff serial killers used to knock people out with in the 19th century.
When chlorine combines with organic matter, it forms chloroform.
And while it’s probably not enough to take you down like an 1800s killer, it is a known carcinogen and highly toxic when it is inhaled or makes contact with the skin.4
In fact, a 10-minute shower can produce a single dose of chloroform equal to that of drinking two liters of chlorinated water! 5,6
The problem is when you drink water, the body can filter out the chlorine from the water, but when you inhale it in gas form, it goes directly into your bloodstream.
This means even if you are filtering your drinking water, you are still getting a heavy and dangerous dose of chlorine in your shower.
Dr. Lance Wallace of the Environmental Protection Agency reports,
Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of the chlorine in the water.7
However, the health dangers of chlorine don’t stop at cancer. Chlorine exposure may also cause:
- Hardened arteries
- Difficulty metabolizing cholesterol
- Free radical exposure
- Irritation of the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes.
Not to mention it causes itchy, flaky skin and scalp that can be an endless source of irritation and discomfort.
And then there are chloramines.
Chloramines are derivatives of ammonia and chlorine used as a water disinfectant instead of chlorine.
Just like ordinary chlorine, chloramines cause cancer and other health issues, but with two major differences — they are even more even more toxic than chlorine when it comes to lung cancer and they are much harder to remove from shower water.
In fact, popular carbon shower filters are almost useless when it comes to filtering both chlorine and chloramines because they don’t work well with warm water.
But don’t worry showers don’t have to be cold to avoid these dangers. There is a natural substance that can neutralize 99.9 percent of the chlorine and chloramines in your shower water — and the best news— it’s the least toxic of known de-chlorinators.
Actually, it’s a vitamin.
Power in the Shower
Vitamin C, to be exact.
That’s right — good ole vitamin C doesn’t just keep colds away — it keeps the chloroform away too!
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a proven chlorine buster, but that’s not all: It can protect you in the shower — vitamin C also neutralizes chloramines.
In fact, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission reports that vitamin C is the only substance that removes chloramines from municipal water. Here is what they had to say about it:
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has recently been included in AWWA Standard (AWWA, 2005b) as one of the methods for dechlorination of disinfected water mains. SFPUC and other utilities have used vitamin C for dechlorination prior to environmental discharges of chlorinated and chloraminated water. Since ascorbic acid is weakly acidic, the pH of water may decrease slightly (Tikkanen et al., 2001). Ascorbic acid has been used for a long time as one of the dechlorinating agents for preservation of chlorinated or chloraminated water samples for laboratory analysis.
Of the vitamin C filters available, I recommend the Sonaki brand. I tried a Sonaki Rain shower head for a few weeks in my apartment and found that not only was the swimming pool stench gone, but it also made my skin and hair feel softer.
Sonaki filters are transparent. This means you can see when the vitamin C has run out. They typically last about two–four months, depending on how frequently you shower, and are easy to replace.
If you’ve used a vitamin c shower filter before, tell me how it worked for you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing editor, Living Well Daily