Is This One Daily Habit Increasing Your Risk of Cancer?

Does this one daily habit increase your risk of cancer

By  Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Bearing in mind that skin is the body’s largest organ and absorbs substances readily, it’s always a good rule of thumb to avoid exposing skin to anything we wouldn’t ingest. And yet, a common routine is poisoning us on a daily basis – specifically, chlorinated showers and baths. Used in water treatment facilities to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi, chlorine is a potent disinfectant. But the darker side of water chlorination is rarely acknowledged, namely, that it causes serious harm to humans in ways which often remain unnoticed until major illness strikes.

Silent poison

A hot, steamy shower or bath is a great way to relax and unwind – or so we thought. In reality, we are exposing ourselves to an array of toxins with significant potential consequences. We would never suspect that we are bathing in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified pesticide.

According to the  Global Healing Center  post “Chlorine, Cancer, and Heart Disease”:

“There is a lot of well-founded concern about chlorine. When chlorine is added to our water, it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes (chlorination byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts trigger the production of free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic. The Environmental Defense Fund warns that, ‘Although concentrations of these carcinogens (THMs) are low, it is precisely these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States.'”

A case in point is a study involving women from Hartford, Connecticut, which found that those with breast cancer have much higher levels of chlorine byproducts (by 50 – 60 percent) than women who are cancer-free.

Likewise, research in Spain discovered a higher incidence of bladder cancer in people exposed to chlorine through bathing, showering, ingestion and swimming in pools.

Toxins are not only easily absorbed through pores opened by hot water but also through inhalation of chloroform – a toxic byproduct of water chlorination. In the article “Is your daily shower making you sick?,” Chris Kresser, L.Ac, observes:

“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. “

As stated by the EPA, chloroform exposure affects the central nervous system and liver. It can also provoke depression and irritability. Unfortunately, chloramine (ammonia combined with chlorine) is often added to the water supply as well, creating an even heavier toxic load.

Minimize risk

Short of swearing off bathing permanently, a few simple methods are effective in reducing contact with chlorine. Needless to say, a high-quality shower filter is the first line of defense. Bathwater filters are also available. However, most only remove chlorine – unless the filter specifically utilizes vitamin C for reducing chloramine as well. Ultimately, protection from both chlorine and chloramine would entail a whole-house water filtration system.

Budget-friendly options include:

  • Dissolving 1000 milligrams of vitamin C in bathwater to neutralize chlorine and chloramine (up to 99 percent)
  • Taking less frequent or shorter showers
  • Reducing the temperature of bath and shower water
  • Turning off water while lathering

Chlorine most likely won’t disappear from our water supply any time soon. As a seemingly cheap disinfectant, it’s here to stay. But through awareness and proactive steps, we can substantially reduce exposure and lessen health risks.

[For more information, please see: Is Chlorine in Our Drinking Water and Swimming Pools a Health Hazard?]

Updated October 2014

Sources:

Previous articles by Carolanne:

About the author:
Carolanne  enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website  Thrive-Living.net  she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision.

Follow Carolanne on  Facebook,  Twitter  and  Pinterest.

Photo Credit:  “Bath Melancholy” by N. Renaud from Ottawa, Canada – [1]. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
 


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