We live in a society that has become accustomed to drinking purified and filtered water. We buy bottled water and at-home water filters. We even filter the water to our icemakers. But with so much worry surrounding the source of the water we consume, we neglect the other sources of water in our homes—particularly shower water. Yes, we fantastic water infrastructure here in the OC, but read as we can do more.
Rarely do we pay attention to the water we use to wash our hands and the water we use to wash our entire bodies. We trust our municipalities and hope that the water source is healthy. Unfortunately, this is not true. Even the “cleanest” tap water can still contain aspects that could potentially negatively impact our health.
Unfiltered tap water can contain many chemicals, but the most common is chlorine. You may be familiar with this chemical for its use in pools. Chlorine is added to water to kill bacteria. While this is a good thing, the chlorine in your tap water also kills the good bacteria naturally found in your body. And if that doesn’t cause enough health issues, chlorine is responsible for creating harmful bi-products and chemicals linked to several diseases and bodily damage. The chemical compound of chlorine on its own can result in damage to the respiratory tract and arteries. When chlorine combines with other particles, it has been linked to birth defects and cancer of the kidneys, stomach, or the digestive tract.
There are plenty of options to filter your drinking water, but what many people aren’t aware of is how to safely and effectively filter their shower water. There are several filtration systems available and several different filters you can purchase to filter out the bacteria and chemicals in your tap water. The most common filter is the carbon filter. While the carbon filter is very effective for filtering out bacteria and some chemicals, a better and less commonly known option is the vitamin C filter. Why is this filter better? Vitamin C filters work to filter out bacteria and chemicals, but they are especially effective against chlorine and its harmful bi-product chloramine.
Of course there are! If you are unable to or do not want to install a filtration system for your shower water, you can combat the negative effects of tap water and chemicals by taking much shorter showers and showering less often. If showering at least once a day is necessary for you, then this is a reason you may want to strongly reconsider a filtration system. There are whole-home filtration systems, but these can be quite costly. Instead, try an activated carbon filter or carbon block. If you are concerned about the bath water for you or your children, adding a 1000 mg vitamin C tablet works great for removing chemicals. Not taking a bath? Try taking a cooler shower. As we all know, hot water creates steam and is easily inhaled while showering. Another great way is to shut off the water while soaping.
Now, I must take a moment to note here that there is yet to be a filter available on the market that removes 100% of all chlorine found in your tap water, but if you check your local water supply, I think you’ll be quite surprised at what you find. And I’m not just talking about the chlorine levels. You may also find harmful chemicals such as ammonia, fluoride and chloramine in addition to the standard chlorine. That knowledge alone should be enough to persuade you to filter your drinking water AND your shower water.
Being aware of what is lurking in your local water supply is the most proactive method for avoiding harmful chemicals and keeping yourself safe. The next step is filtering your water. As mentioned, a whole-home filtration system is costly, however this is the most effective method to protect yourself. If filtering all the water coming into your home isn’t an option, opt for filtering the water you are exposed to the most such as your sink water and shower water.
About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc, Ph.D. – Holds both a master and doctorate degrees in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She has completed additional training in functional medicine, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome.