Last month we talked about the effects of using and drinking chlorinated water contaminated with DBPs in your home. This month, we’ll take a closer look at some of the health risks of drinking chlorinated water.
Council of Environmental Quality, the cancer risk to people who drink chlorinated water is 93% higher than those who don’t. It’s a scary thought to think that the water we drink can actually cause cause health problems. But the The Environmental Defense Fund reports that although concentrations of carcinogens in the water supply are low, it is precisely these levels of carcinogens which cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States. In fact, an estimated 900,000 people each year become ill and possibly 900 die, from waterborne disease.
Health Effects of Chlorinated Water
So what kind of health effects can chlorinated water cause?
- Heart attacks. Free radicals in chlorinated water are linked to the presence of arterial plaque in the heart. This health effect was illustrated in a small town in Pennsylvania. The residents ate diets rich in saturated animal fats and only had heart problems after the town switched to chlorinated water.
- Immune system injury. Chlorine destroys probiotics that help maintain good bacteria in your colon. When this good bacteria gets overrun with bad bacteria, your body’s ability to fight disease is greatly reduced. Since about 80 percent of your immune cells operate from your digestive tract, a healthy colon is necessary for a healthy immune system.
- Cancer. Research shows that chlorinated water (even water that meets EPA standards) increases your risk of gastrointestinal cancer by 50 to 100% over a lifetime. Also, since your bladder and rectum store waste products for a period of time, chlorinated water has been shown to increase the risk of bladder and rectal cancer. Researchers estimate that about 9% of all bladder cancer and 18% of all rectal cancer cases are associated with long-term consumption of chlorinated water. Chlorinated water can cause the same bladder cancer risk as smoking. A study published in 1998 by the National Cancer Institute found that male smokers who drank chlorinated tap water for more than 40 years had double the risk of bladder cancer as smoking males who drank non-chlorinated water.
- Reproductive issues. European studies have shown that pregnant women who drink five or more glasses of chlorinated tap water a day could be at a much higher risk of miscarriage during their first trimester. Additionally, a study from Denmark shows that chlorine found in human tissue and breast milk has caused a 50% drop in sperm counts.
- Allergic reactions. Chlorinated water can also cause allergic reactions. If you’re experiencing symptoms like skin rashes, headaches, and gastrointestinal difficulties, then chlorinated water could be the source. Chlorinated water also creates free radicals and destroys the antioxidant vitamin E.
Is Bottled Water Safer?
If all of these facts make you think about switching to bottled water, then think about this. Much of the bottled water for sale in the U.S. comes from public municipal water sources that are treated with chlorine.
What You Can Do
The biggest step you can take to protect your family is to stop the problem right at the source. By installing a home water purifying system, you can be positive that you are taking steps to healthier living. Strittmatter’s team of specialty plumbers can install a water filtration system that purifies all of the water that comes into your home. We want to make sure that you have the knowledge to keep your family safe! Give us a call at 940-566-1122 to talk with our team of experts.
Stay tuned for next month’s StrittMATTERS blog where we’ll discuss additional steps you can take to protect you and your family’s health.