Friday, October 30, 2009

Chlorine Damages Fetuses in Pregnant Women!

Two Studies Confirm:
Chlorine Is Very Dangerous for Your Health
Which Is Found In Your Shower Water
(and also in Your Drinking Tap Water)

The long-term health effects of exposure to chlorinated water are becoming more common in the news headlines. The health effects of chlorine through inhalation (from the steam in your shower, for instance) and ingestion (from tap water) include:

* Cancers of the bladder, liver, rectum and colon
* Heart disease
* Atherosclerosis
* Anemia
* High blood pressure
* Allergic reactions

And now two studies further confirm the risk of exposure of chlorine to the fetuses of pregnant women.

Studies Link Chlorine to Birth Defects

Two recent studies focused on the health effects for pregnant women who drank chlorinated water. One, published in the Environmental Health Journal, reported that pregnant women who lived in areas with tap water with high concentrations of chlorine disinfectants nearly doubled their risk of having children with heart problems, a cleft palate or major brain defects. Other specific birth defects listed in the study were:


Anencephalus, a brain condition, rose to .17 percent in high THM areas

Hole-in-the-heart defects nearly doubled

Number of cleft palates rose from 0.029 percent to 0.045 percent in high THM areas

Risks of having children with the above three birth defects increased between 50 and 100 percent

Slightly raised risk of having children with urinary tract defects and Down’s syndrome

“Our findings don’t just add to the evidence that water chlorination may cause birth defects but suggest that exposure to chlorination by-products may be responsible for some specific and research common defects,” said Professor Jouni Jaakkola of the University of Birmingham who led the research team.

Exposure can happen by drinking the water, taking a bath or a shower or by standing closely to a boiling pot of tea. The danger of exposure to pregnant women happens when the chemical by-products of chlorination called trihalomethanes (THMs) are absorbed through the skin and then transmitted to the womb.

THMs are one type of disinfection byproduct (DBP) created when the disinfectants used to kill bacteria in the U.S. drinking water supply, such as chlorine, react with natural organic matter, such as decaying vegetation, or when certain compounds such as bromide are present in the water.

Studies have linked THMs with low birth weight and neurological abnormalities in infants, along with increased incidences of neural tube defects, small body length, and small head size in babies born to women drinking water containing 400 ppb THMs.

Research has also linked an increased risk of bladder cancer with exposures of 50 ppb, and first trimester miscarriage in pregnant women drinking water with 75 ppb -- both of which are under the EPA “safe” limit.

The second study published by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry showed that some birth defects such as spinal bifida and neural tube defects are linked to total THMs ingested in drinking water. Risks of neural tube defects were doubled among women with the highest exposure to THMs.

How Did Chlorine Find Its Way Into the U.S. Water Supply and Who Regulates it?

Back in 1908, chlorine was added to a community water system in New Jersey as a way to get rid of many types of water-borne diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid fever. Before chlorination, many major cities experienced death tolls of 1 in 1,000 people from Typhoid alone.

For over 80 years, chlorine has been used to disinfect municipal water and it wasn’t until the 1970s that it was discovered that combining water with natural, organic matter such as vegetation and algae produced Trihalomethanes. Today, chlorine is injected into drinking water in two ways: injected directly by bubbling chlorine gas into the reservoir of drinking water or by adding calcium hypo chloride (bleaching powder) to water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standards for acceptable levels of contaminants in drinking water. Their defined standard for chloroform, the most common trihalomethane found in chlorinated water, is 100 parts per billion or 100 micrograms per liter of water.

They base this on an estimate that this level of contamination results in an added lifetime cancer risk of about 2 per 100,000 person-years, assuming the average person is consuming about two liters of drinking water per day.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health believe that the cancer risk from chlorinated water may be up to 10-50 times higher than the EPA estimate. This is due to the fact that the EPA’s estimate is based solely on ingesting drinking water as the source of trihalomethanes. They didn’t take into account the chloroform exposure from bathing, showering and doing laundry.

According to some studies, two-thirds of the harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while showering. Taking a warm shower opens up your skin pores and clears the way for accelerated absorption of chlorine.

The steam inhaled during showers contains up to 50 times the amount of chemicals in tap water. This is because the chlorine, along with other contaminants and DBPs, vaporize at a faster rate and at a lower temperature than water. Once inhaled, the chlorine goes directly into your bloodstream.

Leading experts are confirming the dangerous effects of inhaling chlorine while taking showers.

According to researcher Bruce Black during a meeting of the American Chemical Society:

“Taking long, hot showers is a health risk. The chemicals evaporate out of the water and are inhaled. They can also spread through the house and be inhaled by others. House holders can receive 6 to 100 times more of the chemical by breathing the air around showers and bath than they would by drinking the water.”

Further, a Professor of Water Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh claims that exposure to vaporized chemicals in the water supplies through showering, bathing and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking water.

And according to Dr. Lance Wallace, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water.”
Also note that chlorine is not the only dangerous chemical in your water. PRescription Drugs are a recently observed, but fast growing hazard. Just as you would fear having your unborn baby and the rest of your family exposed to chlorine, I have no doubt that you would not want them exposed to birth control pills, ritlin and other antidepressants, powerful heart disease and anti diabetic drugs. A recent study found the residue from 52 different drugs in the Philadelphia, Pa public water! A simple chlorine filter will NOT remove the prescription drug residue.
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