- How soothing does it feel, relaxing under the prolonged showers, after you had a torrid day at office and the sweltering sun?
- How much at peace are you with yourself, when you sip from that bottled mineral water, in a roadside dhaba?
- How sweet does those apples taste, when you toss one up from the decorated dish, washed and cleaned with fresh water from the tap?
Well, these are the questions I have asking myself, since, I chanced upon this topic. And it left me in a very bad taste when I started my research in this. What we are blissfully unaware is how we are slow poisoning ourselves, by drinking and showering in chlorinated water. Let’s delve into the history of chlorination of water a bit, before we move onto the more important things.
- The use of chlorine for disinfecting water was pioneered in the US back in the early 1920’s.
- It has been found that chlorine is very effective is killing dangerous microbial organisms and preventing diseases like cholera, typhoid etc.
- Powerful, economical, this technology soon became the benchmark for providing the mass with clean, processed water.
But there are very serious issues with the way chlorine is used to disinfect water. Read on, and you will be surprised-
“Chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times. It is an insidious poison“.
—-Dr. Joseph M. Price, MD, in Moseby’s Medical Dictionary
- Chlorine although being a very good disinfectant it also fervently reacts with various organic matters, already present in tap water, to form toxic materials called organochlorides. It also reacts with naturally occurring substances like animal and plant decomposing components.
- Higher risk factors come into the fray, when chlorine reacts with the substances present in water, to produce certain by-products, which are carcinogenic is nature. Suspected carcinogenic substances, goes into the human body, due to repeated ingestion of chlorinated water and research shows that in such cases, the incidence of cancer is greater than 40%.
- It is a tragedy that chlorination, used to cleanse our water of infectious organisms, is creating cancer-causing substances from otherwise innocent chemicals in water.
- Frequent exposure to chlorine even at the lower levels such as showering may reduce the oxygen transfer capacity of the lungs. When we shower, we also expose our skin to a large amount of diluted chlorine. It’s likely, given the strong oxidizing power of chlorine, that regular exposure to chlorinated water will hasten the skin’s aging process.
- It is believed that pool chlorination often results in asthma during childhood for overexposure to chlorine. There has been various surveys conducted which showed that on an average 50% of the people, developed ocular and respiratory problems.
What they are doing?
Mostly the regulation of chlorine in water is regulated by the local municipal bodies, to ensure that the levels of chlorine present are within the safety guidelines. Is there any such safety guidelines followed in the process? In 2002 the Environmental protection Agency (EPA), had tried to baseline certain protocols to be followed while disinfecting water. Although marginally stronger, experts still have their concerns on how safe these new standards and margins are for regulating this cancer causing gas.
India lists herself among the top in heart diseases, thanks to chlorine which is the second contribution factor. Further, in the Indian methodology of chlorinating water , there is no strict protocol like that given by EPA and WHO and bleaching powder is just dumped in to the water tanks by the ignorant municipal bodies. This multiplies the problem during monsoons, when the water high in organic matter.
What can you do?
- The best thing that you can do about this is get a chlorine filter from the market. Out of curiosity I started looking for some in e-bay, and gladly there is loads of it. Chlorine Water Filters and Faucets.
- Don’t drink chlorinated tap water. You can get a reverse osmosis filter, because reverse osmosis also removes flouride, which is rated a 4/5 on the world poison scales
- Don’t bathe in chlorinated water if possible. Filters are available for faucets and shower heads.
- Last but not the least is the old way out. Boil the water, and the excess chlorine is filtered out.