Staying Healthy with …..
Natural Wellness Choices
Is Chlorine in Our Tap Water Dangerous?
The addition of chlorine to our drinking water began in the late 1800s and by 1904 was the standard in water treatment, and for the most part remains so today. We don’t use chlorine because it’s the safest or even the most effective means of disinfection, we use it because it is the cheapest. In spite of all our technological advances, we essentially still pour bleach in our water before we drink it. The long term effects of chlorinated drinking water have just recently being recognized.
Chlorine is a critical compound in the manufacture of aerosols, pesticides, and even hydrochloric acid (H2 + Cl2 ==> 2 HCl).
Chlorine is a well known and extremely strong household disinfectant.
Chlorine is used to bleach wood pulp in paper mills. It is also used to bleach paper
Chlorine was used as a chemical weapon in World War I -it was known as mustard gas.
Medical Experts on Chlorine Causing Cancer and Heart Disease:
"We are quite convinced, based on this study, that there is an association between cancer and chlorinated water." - Medical College Of Wisconsin research team
Dr. Robert Carlson, a highly respected University of Minnesota researcher who’s work is sponsored by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up by claiming , “the chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution”, and adds that “chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!”
According to the U.S. Council Of Environmental Quality, “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.”
Dr. Joseph Price, a medical doctor, wrote a fascinating book in the late 1960's entitled, Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine. He states, "The basic cause of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and most forms of strokes is chlorine. The chlorine contained in processed water."
Studies Showing Chlorinated Water is Dangerous
Dr. Joseph Price did a series of animal experiments on chickens. Within a few months, 95% of the chickens drinking chlorinated water developed atherosclerosis. To retest these results, Dr. Price divided the original control group into two groups, conducted the exact same experiment and obtained the exact same results.
Both chickens and pigeons are excellent laboratory models in the study of atherosclerosis in humans. Recently, Richard Bull of the Environmental Protection Agency studied the effects of chlorinated water on pigeons. His findings support Dr. Price's research and go a step further. Interestingly Bull found pigeons given chlorinated water with diets low in calcium had serum cholesterol levels 50% greater than the unchlorinated group. Chlorine causes excess free radicals. Free radicals lead to cell damage. Once the cells are damaged, we see an elevation in serum cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis and plaque formation. Chlorine can cause all these problems related to heart disease and can also be a cause of cancer.
Chlorine and other chemical compounds in our drinking water create 'free radicals'. A free radical is a chemical by-product of metabolism which behaves like bullets flying indiscriminately and whatever they hit can become damaged or destroyed. If our defense mechanism, our immune system is functioning properly, we can get neutralize them. However, if our immune system is overloaded with excessive amounts free radicals, like it is when we drink chlorinated water, we can have a very serious problem. Free radicals can attack the DNA, our cellular blueprint, alter it, change it, to the point that cells will multiply abnormally and then progress to cancer.
It is not just what we drink
One of the most shocking components to all of these studies is that up to 2/3 of our harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while showering. A warm shower opens up the pores of the skin and allows for accelerated absorption of chlorine and other chemicals in water. The steam we inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than tap water due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes directly into our blood stream. When we drink contaminated water the toxins are partially filtered out by our kidneys and digestive system.
Asthma and Bronchitis
Chlorine vapors are known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages inside our lungs, it was used as a chemical weapon in World War II. The inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children… which has increased 300% in the last two decades. “Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water.” Dr Lance Wallace, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Chlorine in shower water also has a very negative cosmetic effect, robbing our skin and hair of moisture and elasticity, resulting in a less vibrant and youthful appearance. Everyone knows what a chlorinated pool can do to the skin and hair. What’s surprising is that we commonly find higher levels of chlorine in our tap water than is recommended safe for swimming pools.
Dr Z Rona MD MSc "Most people never give it a thought. After all, our elected public officials keep assuring us that chlorinated city tap water is completely safe for human consumption. Numerous scientific studies report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. .
Killing Off the Good Bacteria & Promoting Yeast Overgrowth
Chlorinated water destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that help in the digestion of food and which protects the body from harmful pathogens. The killing of the good bacteria allows pathogenic bacteria and yeast to overgrow even in the absence of taking antibiotics. These normal bacteria in our GI tract are also responsible for the manufacture of several important vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin K. It is not uncommon for chronic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema to clear up or to be significantly improved by switching to unchlorinated drinking water and supplementing the diet with lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus.
In addition to all the health risks related to chlorine in our water, it is the primary cause of bad taste and odor in drinking water. The objectionable taste causes many people to turn to other less healthful beverages like soft drinks, tea or other sweetened drinks. A decreased intake of water, for any reason, can only result in a lower degree of health
The good news is that chlorine is one of the easiest substances to remove from our water. For that reason it logically should serve it’s purpose of keeping our water free from harmful bacteria and water borne diseases right up to the time of consumption, where it should then be removed by quality home water filtration.
We should appreciate that chlorine serves an important purpose and that the hazards of doing away with chlorine are greater than or equal to the related health risks. The simple truth is that chlorine is likely here to stay. It is also clear that chlorine represents a very real and serious threat to our health and should be removed in our homes, at the point of use, both from the water we drink and the water we shower in.
1. Aquasana has several good units for filtering out the chlorine and you can find information at: http://www.aquasana.com/catalog.cfm. This has won best buy from consumers digest.
2. AMAC Al & Sue McDonald distribute Mountain Valley Spring Water (what we use at the Hotze Health and Wellness Center) and have household units for removing chlorine and VOC’s. You can reach them at 713-937-8630 or www.amacwater.com; http://www.amacwater.com/Filtration.htm
To your health!
Donald P Ellsworth, M.D.
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