Is your daily shower making you sick?

The quality of our drinking water is a major determinant of our health and wellbeing. It is important to consider not only the presence of pathogens or contaminants, but also the routine addition of chemicals that may cause us harm. Chlorine is a chemical typically used as a disinfectant in public water supplies as an effective way to reduce the level of pathogenic bacteria in our drinking water. (1)

Unfortunately, this chemical, and other common chemical disinfectants, may have a damaging impact on our bodies’ beneficial bacteria as well.

When chlorine is used as a water treatment, it combines with organic matter to form compounds called trihalomethanes (THMs), also known as disinfectant byproducts. One of the most common THMs formed is chloroform, which is a known carcinogen. (2) Other THMs formed include the di- and trichloramines formed when chloramine is used as a disinfecting agent. (3) These compounds are toxic when consumed, inhaled, or applied to the skin.

Research conducted on the health effects of chlorinated drinking water have demonstrated a variety of toxicity issues. Several studies have found that communities using chlorinated or chloraminated drinking water have an increased risk of bladder, kidney, and rectal cancers. (456) THMs from chemically treated water have been associated with a variety of poor birth outcomes, such as spontaneous abortion, birth defects, and low birth weight. (7) Chlorine and chloramine vapors are associated with greater risk of asthma, and may damage the mucosal lining of the respiratory tract. (8) Free radicals in chlorinated water have been linked to liver malfunction, weakening of the immune system and pre-arteriosclerotic changes in arteries. (9)

While there hasn’t been substantial research on the topic, it’s reasonable to assume that chlorinated water adversely affects beneficial intestinal flora. Chlorine is a powerful antimicrobial agent, and is an effective pesticide against many different strains of bacteria. (10) The compounds in disinfected water may be able to reach the gut not only through our drinking water, but also through daily showers and baths.

A recent post at the Food Renegade blog (11) brought this disturbing theory to light, not only highlighting the harmful effects of chlorinated drinking water, but emphasizing the possibly greater effect that showers and baths could have on our intestinal flora. As we know, there’s a strong connection between asthma, acne, autoimmune conditions and the health of our gut flora. We might speculate that dysbiosis induced or made worse by excess chlorine exposure could contribute to these conditions.

Showering and bathing in chlorinated water may expose us to even more chlorine and its byproducts than drinking this disinfected water.

While our bodies can filter out much of the chlorine from our drinking water, the THMs and other disinfectant byproducts we inhale during showers and baths may be much more harmful, since the chlorine gas we inhale enters directly into our blood stream. (12) Therefore, even if you filter your drinking water, the amount of toxins you are exposed to from your daily shower or bath, through inhalation or skin absorption, may be cause for greater concern.

Research has demonstrated that the cancer risk associated with chlorinated water may actually be due to showering and bathing, rather than drinking the disinfected water. (1314) This suggests that many health risks of chlorine may be specifically related to dermal and inhalation exposure. In fact, the chloroform dose from a single, ten minute shower is equal to, and possibly greater than, that from the average two liters of water ingestion on a daily basis. (1516)

Therefore, the filtration of your shower and bath water may be even more important than the water you drink.

Chlorine filtration is fairly simple, provided you use some level of technology to remove it from your shower or bath water. There are resources on the Food Renegade blog about where to find chlorine-filtering shower heads and bath filters. (17) This includes the Rainshow’r Shower Filter and the Crystal Ball Bath Dechlorinator, both sold by the Radiant Life Company.

I’d like to point out that chlorine isn’t in everyone’s water supply, but there is another disinfectant that is also of concern. I checked my local water company’s website, and discovered they use chloramine (chlorine + ammonia) to disinfect the water supply. (17) Chloramine exposure may be even more damaging to the lung epithelium than chlorine, and may release ammonia as another toxic byproduct as well.

The filters that remove chlorine don’t necessarily remove chloramine.

Chloramine can be removed for drinking water purposes by a carbon block or activated carbon filter that can be installed on a kitchen faucet. Also, both chlorine and chloramine can be removed for bathing purposes by dissolving Vitamin C in the bath water. One 1000 mg Vitamin C tablet will neutralize chloramine in an average bathtub. (18)

There are no shower filters on the market that completely remove chloramine. (19) There are, however, whole house water filters that remove chlorine, chloramine, and other contaminants.   Unfortunately, they’re quite expensive and thus may not be an option for many people.

Vitamin C shower filters may be a good choice for those looking for an inexpensive way to reduce the chloramine (and chlorine) content of their showers. Vitamin C is an effective dechlorination agent, removing up to 99% of chlorine and chloramine, and vitamin C filters are much less expensive than the whole house filter featured above. The disadvantage to using them is they’re not as durable or effective as a whole house filtration system, and you would need a separate filter for each shower outlet in the house.

Other simple methods to reduce exposure to chlorine and chloramine include: taking shorter or less frequent showers, avoiding excessively hot showers (since high heat increases the amount of steam), and shutting the water off while soaping up. These techniques will help decrease your exposure if filtration or dechlorination is not an option.

I recommend you check with your local water supply company to determine what disinfecting agents they use to sanitize your tap water. You can then use that information to make a decision about which shower filter is most appropriate for you and your family. Until we know more about how chlorinated water affects our health, and especially our beneficial gut flora, it seems prudent to keep chlorine and chloramine exposure to a minimum.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. says

    There is a condition that many people have mentioned where they have intense itching after showering. Is there some chemical in water that can cause this? The condition is named “aquagenic pruritus”, but I know someone who has experienced this in Los Angeles, but not when visiting in Klamath Falls, OR, nor in Cincinnati, OH. So, I’m wondering if it’s a chemical in the water that is really behind this?

  2. Troy says

    Hi there very interesting article. I have two questions however, shouldn’t the water vapor (not steam as much higher temperatures are required for steam production) be free of any contaminants and chemicals due to the distillation process? Or is actual steam production required for the contaminants to be left behind i.e distillation?

    Thank you for any help.

  3. Brittany says

    Is softening water with sodium chloride an issue for exposure to chloride in our showers? Also, during the Thyroid Session Dr. Tom O’Brian mentions that in chloride can bind to thyroid hormone receptors on cells thus causing use issues. What do you know about this?

  4. Ronn says

    I have followed Chris since watching The Thyroid Sessions on May 5, 2014. I respect his insights. Gotta say, however, that many people, including myself, just cannot avoid the products listed on the Radiant Life Company’s website (the Rainshow’r Shower Filter, for example). What then are we to do?

  5. Gloria Langner says

    I am a 64 year old female who has had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 35 years. I recently moved into a new a home with city water after being on well water for 15 years. Two months after living in my home I started having illnesses that I had never experienced. First, a severe throat infection with puss pockets through out my mouth and throat, next I developed a severe bladder infection with spasms. The last thing was diarrhea and nausea for 3 months. All my doctors including a Gastroenterologist found nothing wrong. I finally did research on my own and by process of elimination, I found that the area I live in has the highest level of disinfectants in our drinking water. I called my water company to test my water and of course they found that all my levels were within limits, although, on the higher end of permitted levels. Since I have a compromised immune system, due to my RA. I had a complete house filtration system installed with added carbon filtration and reverse osmosis system. Within 2 days my diarrhea was gone and I felt like a new person. I had more energy, less depression and thirst and a general overall feeling of wellness. I have informed all my doctors, Arthritis Foundation and my water company. I hope this information helps others with RA or low immune system.

  6. Wolfgang says

    I have just stumbled across this very enlightening post, thank you so much for pitting it out there. I am wondering, if cooking with chlorinated water, I.e my steamed broccoli or cauliflower would suffer from chloroform exposure, in the same way as I might be exposed under the shower. That would mean it is not only required to filter my municipal water for drinking, but also all cooking/food rinsing activities. Can the chlorine (compounds) damage the nutritional value of vegetables? And what about brushing my teeth?
    regards, Wolfgang

  7. Jimmy says

    What about reverse osmosis water? If I could design a system to provide my bath with RO water (just for taking baths), would this be beneficial to my body? I want to pair a commercial grade RO unit with a 70 gallon storage tank for this purpose. A waste of time?

  8. sarah says

    i’ve read that l-ascorbic acid kills beneficial gut bacteria. for the purpose of putting the vitamin c powder (ascorbic acid) in your bath water for the chloramine issue, would it be a concern if bathing in it? if the ascorbic acid can cause issue to your gut bacteria when taken internally, would it have the same effect when bathing in it, could the ascorbic acid absorb transdermally to such an extent?

    also something to keep in mind, l-ascorbic acid is generally made from corn-syrup, so you have to make sure that your ascorbic acid is non-gmo…and apparently, china free too…since most commercial ascorbic acids are made of gmo corn in china.

  9. Sharon Cooper says

    I agree completely. There are many damaging effects of chlorine in our water that we never care to resolve. When you put it all together, investing in a shower head filter is a small price to pay. After all, chemical exposure to your skin, hair, respiratory system, and home’s environment, and the resulting damage and illness are only five of many reasons why your shower water needs to be as clean as the filtered water you drink. I found more information on the importance of getting a Berkey Shower Filter on their blog here: http://www.berkeyfilters.com/blog/2013/07/31/five-reasons-why-your-showerhead-needs-a-filter/

  10. Anon says

    Sodium bisulphite (also known as Campden tablets) will dechlorinate your water by quenching the chlorine demand. This will also dechloraminate by altering the ratio of free chlorine to free ammonia. Chloramination is only ever used as a secondary disinfectant as it is not potent enough to be used effectively as a primary (the required contact times would be enormous).THMs, haloacetic acids and haloacetonitriles will always be present in low levels of chlorinated water. These are less likely to be in chloraminated water, where you can get the other (nastier) disinfection byproducts – the nitrosamines such as NDMA etc. Ozone may also cause disinfection byproducts, the most notable coming to mind being bromate. All of these “chemicals” are a long term exposure risk. Think of it like this: if you put a little too much salt on your food one day, its probably not going to kill you. If you do it every day for your whole life then there’s a chance that it could. The things that the disinfectants are fighting though, they will kill you – think cholera, shigella, ecoli, cryptosporidium and giardia you only need one “serve” of these bugs to get really sick and die. The best way to treat your water at home would be to chemically dechlorinate with SBS, then run it through an activated carbon filter. This will remove most of the organics (thms, haa’s, Han’s ndma etc). If you really want to remove the anions as well (fluoride, chlorate etc) then you should run that carbon filtered water through a reverse osmosis system. Just be sure to understand the settings – too much recovery = why bother filtering, too little = $$$). Or if you are in a wet place, a couple of rain water tanks with a UV + filtration system would also do ( but then to pump or not to put pump….)

  11. Jessica says

    I am starting to wonder if my doctor is searching in the wrong area to find the answer to my many many heath issues. Skin problems, prenicious animea, swoolen lymps nodes for about two ajd a half months now. Started in the upper back od neck area, behind my, ears and so forth. Well it satrting to work its way down now. Mental issues as in can’t focus on just one thing. My mind runs in a million different directions all the time. Can’t sleep, very sensitive to any kind of heat, never hungry, vision problems, and the worst is almost the fact when it feels like electricity running through my head. We have a chlorine system on our well water coming into the house, after a hot shower I can’t breath, and it feels like pins and niddles r sticking, and like my skin is on fire. Hoplessly holding out some hope!

  12. Joe says

    Yeah, I am not buying it. As a matter of fact, several recent studies show that using chlorinated pools regularly reduces your risk for many diseases. There is just no science to back up claims that chlorine has any negative effects on the body, unless you have blond hair.

    • S Couture says

      Personally, I have an allergy to chlorine diagnosed by the doctor, it definitely has negative effects on my body. My skin itches constantly in the presence of chlorine. Bromine is worse. I can hardly breathe when near a pool disinfected with it.

  13. says

    Very informative article, it was a interesting start to the topic, talking about chloroform. It got my attention quickly! I have been doing research into water filtration and I have come across DE (diatomaceous earth) water filers. The DE filters are supposed to be pretty amazing and do a great job and cleaning water. They are used in municipal size water filtration and are great for removing tons of bacteria from the water. Thanks for you post though it was very interesting and informative and the Vitamin C is something I will be looking into.

  14. Lindsey says

    I have a question about chlorine exposure. I work as an aquatic Physical therapist and am in the pool anywhere from 5-8 hrs 4 days a week. I recently found out I was pregnant (6weeks), and I am wondering if I should limit my time to only 2-3 hrs a day. Any evidence of birth defects linked to chlorine exposure? Thanks!!

  15. Abi says

    Dear Chris,

    I contacted my local water provider and they stated that they do not use chloramines, but purify 98% of our water with sodium hypochlorite. This dissociates to salt, and chlorate?? Do you know anything about filtering water with this situation.

    So much gratitude for all your research and logical approach to healthy living.

    -Abi

  16. Dennis Cain PE says

    Good dialogue (most of it anyway). True it is that everything that has benefits is also likely to have drawbacks, or unintended negative consequences, particularly when used excessively or without reasonable consideration of the mitigating factors.

    My personal research into the issues of chlorine exposure, particularly in the contexts of normal bathing, swimming (recreational water exposures) and even domestic potable waters, has “opened my eyes” to numerous negative effects of chlorine on the human body than I ever took seriously before. Learning there are cost-effective and relatively minor adjustments that can be made to the water that we use and require, is how you start to relieve not only the symptoms and causes of health risks but also the anxiety and paranoia that comes with incomplete understanding.

    As we age, we tend to either get wiser or we have events occur that bring into focus the inevitable fact of our mortality and eventual deterioration of our health. Prolonging our individual (and family’s) good health by reducing exposure to environmental toxins (like chlorine) is easier than I previously thought.

    Shower and even whole-house filtration systems remove chlorine (and chlorine byproducts) and other risk factors very effectively and at very reasonable cost. Counteracting hardwater problems, without the health and environmental risks of salt-based softeners, is very well established today and even more economical.

    Even for recreational waters (swimming pools, hot tubs, therapy spas, etc.) can be better served by combining limited amounts of chlorine (small amounts do have a beneficial effect) with copper-silver ionization treatment methods. This ionization technology was perfected by NASA and the space program over the last 4 decades. And it is recognized around the world as safe, more effective and far more stable than chlorine alone.

    This is real, scientific and proven technologies that can mean better health to you and your loved ones and help your pocketbook at the same time.

    The benefits and risks of chlorine (and other chemicals) in our water is akin to our culture of over-medication. Where a small dose of many commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals can save a life, too-large doses can either take a life or permanently and negatively alter the quality of that same life.

    Learn what you can and take action. If you aren’t willing to take action to protect yourself, then I suggest you remain ignorant and enjoy as much of your life as you can (“Ignorance is Bliss”, someone said).

    • Joe says

      You are so far off it isn’t funny. Your body is made up of about 30% chlorine. In fact chlorine helps remove alcohols, sugars, and fats that build up in the body. What a laugh.

      • anonymous says

        While I know you have good intentions, you’re confusing the type of chlorine used in drinking water (diatomic and neutral) with chloride (a chlorine ion). They are not exactly the same thing. Chlorine (Cl2) is a diatomic gas that can be liquified under pressure (used to disinfect drinking water to prevent disease-causing microbes from entering the drinking water), while chloride (Cl-) is an ion that is essential for the body.

  17. Erin says

    Awesome… I think I’ll just not bathe…. (kidding)

    Chris,

    Is there any way you could do an article on flouride in our water? There’s a lot of info out there, but a lot of it’s not well written or sourced.

    …and then if you have a lot of time (as I know you do with a kid and all) maybe one on toothpaste too! Looking for good info on the use (or misuse) of glycerine.

  18. Jenn says

    Hi, thanks for the info. Corroborates with my own Internet research. But, I did come across the theory that vitamin C does neutralize chlolamine but with the byproduct of ammonia, which has its own hazards. Something to further research.

    • Sandy says

      I did a test from home. Tested the water, it had alot of chlorine. Put some grinded up vitamin c in the water and it went from yellow to white again.

  19. anonymous says

    Well put. I cannot help but think that many of the things that we encounter in daily life, such as chlorine, we will down the line find out is bad for us. Especially over long periods. My family uses well water (we filter it anyway), buy locally, and we grow as much of our own food as we have time and energy.

    • Joe says

      I guarantee you that chlorine in small doses is not bad for you. If you breath pure chlorine gas or are exposed to high concentrations of bleach, that is a different story.

  20. Helen says

    I work in oncology and have noticed many swimmers who were very healthy getting cancers such as lymphoma and breast cancers. There seems to be a cluster where I live. This scares me.

  21. Kristen says

    Chris,

    Does the vitamin c apply to drinking water? We have a big berkey with an additional fluoride filter. We have chloramines here in LA and its been in the back of my mind that the berkey can’t take care of chloramines. Would adding vitamin c to our drinking water be warranted?

  22. Alex says

    Any suggestions for a fluoridated water supply? Reverse osmosis drinking water filters from Aquasana do not filter out fluoride.

    • Alex says

      From a quick glance at the Aquasana website, it looks like their drinking water systems are not reverse osmosis, which is why they don’t filter out fluoride. Reverse osmosis pushes water against a membrane that has pores that, for the most part, only allow water molecules to pass through. That removes pretty much all dissolved content, including fluoride. Get an actual reverse osmosis system, and you’ll remove the fluoride.

      • Alex says

        I think you are mistaken. I’ve never seen a reverse osmosis filter that actually filters out fluoride, because manufacturers assume, incorrectly, that this is something most people don’t want removed from their water. Care to point me to a reputable brand which shows on their website it removes fluoride?

  23. Lyndsey says

    I have a 4 yo with terrible eczema on his legs since 2 months old. It cleared up totally (and asthma too) when I removed dairy. It has been back this winter (& improved after going gluten free) but imagine my horror when a coworker told me that the cure for eczema is Clorox in the bath water! Apparently this is popular, and we work in healthcare.

  24. says

    Copper that is used for some water pipes can leach into the water if the pipes are old and not maintained well. This is one factor I’ve been told by my doctor to be aware of with treating copper:zinc imbalance which Chris has covered before.

    What about the use of supplemental iodine to somewhat overcome the chlorine problem in regard to potential thyroid dysfunction ? Both fluoride and chlorine block iodine uptake.

  25. snakeojakeo says

    i’m with commenter carlos. very interesting, but… i’m not going to do anything about this.
    i played water polo and swam competitively for years. now what?
    as the grateful dead put it, ‘if the thunder don’t get you, than the lightning will!”

    • Chris Kresser says

      We all have to choose our battles. But knowing what they are is important. If installing a relatively cheap shower filter can significantly reduce my exposure to harmful toxins, and using a vitamin C tablet in the bath can reduce my baby daughter’s exposure, it’s a no-brainer. But of course your mileage may vary. My job is to inform – what folks do with that information is of course entirely up to them.

  26. Honora says

    Thanks for publicising this particular nasty. I’ve long ago sworn off swimming in chlorinated pools. Recently after earthquakes our city council chlorinated our pristine artesian municipal water supply for about 6 months. During that time, I took showers at my workplace which gets its water from an artesian well and daily lugged water home for cooking etc. as well as topping up our supplies from national parks. No way was I going to expose myself to that toxin, especially considering my auto-immune thyroid disease. Dr Mercola’s site alerted me to this environmental hazard.

    • Krista Zweers says

      So what about hot tubs then?? Chlorine and bromine and all that steam rushing up under your face? How to prevent that??? Any safe chemical approach for hot tubs?

  27. Eric Anondson says

    Loren Cordain’s newest book, The Paleo Answer has an entire chapter on water, chapter 12, with a section on in-home water purification systems and drinking water storage.

    This post got me thinking back to when I was an athlete in junior and senior high. I was an all-year athlete and would compete in swimming in the winter but had been taking swimming lessons since early childhood. By the time I was in senior high I couldn’t stay on the team any longer because I would get physically ill when I entered the room with the pool. To this day I still get mildly ill when I smell chlorine, I can usually muscle through it when I take my kids to the public outdoor pool, but that’s nowhere near as nauseating as the indoor pools.

    Could a lifetime of exposure to chlorine cause sensitivity to chlorine in the air? I’m not thinking of getting an in-house filtration system . . . *planning a budget*

  28. says

    I’ve wondered about this for awhile – chlorine in the steam from the shower, but I’d never read anything about it, let alone the potential harmful effects, until now. Thank you for posting this article. I’ll be ordering a shower head soon.

    • ttt says

      Both ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate will work.

      Adding ascorbic acid will make the water more acidic, which is ok for bath water.
      Sodium ascorbate is PH neutral, and is best for drinking water.

  29. says

    Our shower and bath filters are in the mail. After doing research for a similar post on my blog, I got (very) concerned about the quality of our water and all the chlorine in it. When my kids bathe, the bathroom smells like a swimming pool. And my son’s skin has red spots on it after he’s done in the bath. :(

    Recently, I have started getting red spots too, while I shower. And I realized today, that showers have been making me feel light-headed and a bit head-achy afterwards.

    One thing that can help out just a bit is to also open your bathroom window whenever you can. That helps to get chlorine/chemical vapors out of the room. And the Vitamin C suggestion is excellent! I saw that somewhere else, while I was doing research as well.

  30. kateryna says

    I used to have near death experiences in the shower.I’d get in and halfway through I couldn’t breath (asthma) and had to jump out of the shower and try to get breathing again. I started researching asthma and chlorine and finally figured out that the vapours caused by chlorine (and other stuff) hitting organic matter (my skin, etc) were causing severe asthma attacks. Installing a shower filter saved my life. When I mentioned this to my pulminary specialist (who has a presceiption pad perminantly embedded in his palm) he looked at me blankly and stated “well if you think it helps.”

    I’m sure having the filter helps other areas of health as well but in my case as I mentioned before it literally saved my life.

  31. tess says

    the information about vitaminC is fascinating — HOW does it do that? would it inactivate fluoride (another halide) as well? the latter is a constant irritant with me, being hypothyroid, and the fact that it can’t be filtered out of water, short of reverse-osmosis, which isn’t practical on a house-wide basis!

    thanks, Chris! …btw, STILL love your Personal Paleo Code — i’ve learned that i have far more food sensitivities than i ever suspected.

    • ttt says

      Ascorbic Acid:
      C5H5O5CH2OH + HOCL ==> C5H3O5CH2OH + HCl + H2O

      Sodium Ascorbate:
      C5H5O5CH2ONa + HOCL ==> C5H3O5CH2OH + NaCl + H2O

  32. Carlos says

    In short, we’re all going to die. This is one of those that, hm, great to know but, am I going to be scared of taking a shower in the morning or giving baths to my children? no, I’ll have to file it under “show me hard evidence first”. Actually I’m erasing what I just read from my memory (concentrating real-hard now). Also, after many years of struggling and sacrifice we finally were recently able to buy our house, with a pool, yes, chlorinated. And we’re patiently waiting for summer to enjoy it. Enjoy it we will. I see Pam’s anecdote above. As a counter-anecdote I basically spent every summer of my youth swimming in chlorinated water and being perfectly healthy. I know I know, but this really feels like beyond the point of diminishing returns, the world is out to kill us! So I can worry and worry and still die scared out of my pants, or simply die. I need some fresh air…

  33. Amber says

    I always appreciate your blog posts, Chris. Thanks.

    I was a competitive swimmer from age 7 through college, and I ended up getting Crohn’s disease, though several years after I had stopped swimming. I had read about how chlorine could impact your gut flora (after I got diagnosed), so I often wonder if there’s a possible link. My younger sister was also a competitive swimmer for just as long, and so far she hasn’t developed Crohn’s, and I hope she never does. Obviously there are other factors involved in activating Crohn’s, but as Yolanda mentioned, it would be interesting to see a group study on swimmers and their intestinal flora.

  34. Kristen Papac says

    A friend who studies environmental issues raised this concern 5 or so years ago and I totally forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder!!!

    Now that I have children, and we rent, is there a filter for the bath spout and not just the shower head? I guess I could get the shower head and run it to fill a bath with hot water so that it’s not too cold.

    I love being a parent, but it seems the natural health world is set up for adults without children. Who’s the engineer out there who will make a killing creating a vitamin C bath spigot filter for the kiddies?

    • nancy says

      There are bath filters, that hang from the faucet, and de-chlorinate the water, as it flows through a filter. Just go on line. One is called the Enviro Splish Splash.

  35. Angela P says

    I called my water company about the additives to our water supply. There is chlorine, plus soda ash and flouride. What are your thoughts on flouride consumption/exposure? And do you know of a way to remove it? Also, I have never heard anything about sodium carbonate being problematic to our health, but I would love to hear your thoughts on whether it could pose risks in our drinking or showering water.

    Just FYI for anyone out there looking for a chlorine shower filter: We got ours at Home Depot or Lowes for about $30 and it was very easy to install. A filter lasts us about six months and is about $10 to replace. We take a lot of baths, and couldn’t find a filter for the main bath faucet, so we bought a shower head with a hose on it and just use that to fill the bath. It also makes bathing the baby much easier.

    • ttt says

      Recently my city began to put flouride in our water. I did a little research and found out that the most economic way of removing flouride is to use a water distiller. I bought one on Amazon and have enjoyed pure distilled water since.

      • Oh no says

        Drinking distilled water for more than 6 months may not be very good for you. Distilled water is charged in such a way that it absorbs minerals into the water (i.e. it remineralizes itself). So, when you pour distilled water into your body, it just soaks up the minerals in your body and you end up urinating out whatever minerals you were able to absorb in the first place.

        If you are going to drink distilled water, you should consider remineralizing your water.

        • sasha says

          That is absolutely false. If anything, it is allowing the removal of the harmful inorganic materials found in water. There is a difference between Iron found in vegetables and Iron found amongst rocks. Funny how the same words used have different meanings. These are not minerals we should have in our body period as it weighs people down, can have a harmful affect on people, dehydrate and not allow people to absorb the proper minerals found in vegetables if there are too many inorganic minerals.

          If you’ve ever met someone who suffered everyday over headaches, backpain, fatigue, irritable, depression you’re most likely meeting someone who is having an adverse reaction to all the substances found in the water supply. Chlorine, Fluoride, inorganic minerals, sand sometimes even arsenic. Fluoride doesn’t even really help to fight cavities. It’s a waste that is treated like a toxic substance when it is found in it’s factories shipped off for a profit under the guise of clean teeth. Look up the history.

          There are no “charges” of essential minerals. Unless you think our bodies need rocks, sand, iron, copper, lead…inorganic minerals.

          We don’t need it. Have you ever met someone who drank water often but still felt thirsty? Dry mouth, lips, insomnia, depression? Tell them to drink distillled water. If they are breaking out on their face with neverending pimpes or other parts of their body, tell that person to wash their face with distilled water. Especially if nothing has worked including acne treatments. If antibiotics clear it up, chances are, their skin has alot of bacteria from soap scum that isn’t really being removed by hard water.

          Then after a week or 2, if they see a noticable difference, they may need to invest in a filtering system for their house or maybe try a cheap shower head filter.

          • says

            I disagree with “Oh no” and I agree with sasha.

            She’s right – well water should be called UNwell water. Pellegrino should be called arthritis water, cataract water, kidney stone water, PINEAL GLAND CALCIFICATION water (and yes, even migraine water).

            Haven’t heard of pineal gland calcification? It’s called corpora arenacea in the medical lingo – “brain sand”. It’s common, but not normal. There is a big difference.

            Distilled liquids (thank you Andrew Norton Webber) can reverse diseases of calcification (DOCs). Vit. K2 and boron are also good for reversing DOCs. Unfortunately, ANW does not yet have knowledge of healthy animal foods, but that is why I’m here on one of the world’s best Paleo 2.0/Paleo Template sites promoting distilled liquids.

            If you Google search “distilled water” you will get Mercola’s DEATH article as the #2 hit (just below the wikipedia page). In my humble opinion, (I hereby confirm Andrew Norton Webber’s assertion) Mercola is an 80/20 bait-and-switch disinfo agent. Most people think, “Oh, Mercola’s got the balls to stand up against GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, etc.” But he works for the UN. The ONLY real opposition to distilled water is 1) the WHO document and 2) Mercola’s “articles”. Mercola also writes disinformation against cod liver oil. There’s a reason he’s so popular – it’s because he’s a dead end for truth seekers such as myself and commenter sasha. He mixes 80% good information with 20% CRIPPLING disinfo.

            Similarly, Andrew Weil recommends distilled water, but at the same time recommends giving “supplemental” fluoride tablets to infants. Bait-and-switch. Both Dr. Mercola and Dr. Weil want your pineal gland to be calcified!

            I sincerely hope that Chris Kresser is not of the same ilk as Mer-cola. I have left numerous comments on this site that have been deleted, and have heard nothing back from Chris (not even an “I don’t know”) as it pertains to distilled water or other distilled liquids.

            I’d like to add this: urine therapy is not a joke. Linus Pauling, Gandhi, Morarji Desai (former PM of India) all practiced it. Osho referred to urine (rightfully so) as The Water of Life. And it has helped my daily migraines. I am not a doctor, and I cannot make personal medical recommendations for anyone, (and I’m quite open to the possibility that urine therapy might possibly be contraindicated in certain cases) but my story will only be “anecdotal” until someone else grows the balls to try it.

            Commenter sasha is right about minerals – we get them from food. Basically, plants do what we cannot: they eat rocks. Organic minerals are absorbable. Would you chew on a block of limestone to get your RDA of calcium?

            There is an exception: volcanic silica dissolves into bioavailable oligomeric silicic acid when it is pummeled by rainwater (distilled water). Note: I wouldn’t collect precipitation today because our atmosphere has been adulterated by chemtrails. Silica helps with removal of Al from the body and I’d love to find a silicon supplement that could be added to distilled water. Dr. Christopher Exley has an excellent video from a vaccine safety conference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKfbkeQyw84) but it ends like a mineral water commercial. He’s also used it in trials. It may be true that these mineral waters reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms, but they will also turn you to stone from the inside out.

            I ask you this: If distilled water is bad because it is free of all inorganic minerals, then why doesn’t Mercola say the same thing about RO water? The WHO document cautions against using both distilled water and RO water because it will make you melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. This is not a minor inconsistency.

            Something that I don’t hear people mention often is the danger of using RO systems in fluoridated communities. The best RO systems can only remove up to 85% of F on a good day. Add in a fluoride filter (which will remove most of what’s left of the fluoride) and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, in my humble opinion. Why? Because those filters catch fluoride with activated alumina. What is leaking out of the other side at very low concentrations? AlF3? I saw a rat study where the AlF3 complex was added to their drinking water, and was found to be more toxic at 0.5 ppm than at 5 ppm or 50 ppm! Has it been studied at 0.1 ppm or 0.01 ppm? Doubt it. But I bet it’s still very toxic at those levels.

            Commenter “Oh no” (the Anonymous Andy fear-mongerer) left that comment because drinking distilled water for more than 6 months could decalcify your pineal gland (Heaven forbid). In my humble opinion, the PRIMARY reason for adding fluoride to the drinking water is to ensure that the population is third-eye blind. (I grew up drinking well water and am third-eye blind, but won’t be for much longer!) Jennifer Luke’s study showed that fluoride accumulates at up to 22,000 ppm in the pineal gland, while only 5-10 ppm (still much too high) in other soft tissues in people living in fluoridated communities. There are some unhealthy skeptics out there that will say, “Oh, Jen only used about a dozen cadavers, so the results aren’t really relevant. You have no proof that water fluoridation calcifies the pineal gland.” But to that “arg” I reply: Sorry, Charlie. I call “BS”. The mechanism by which fluoride is SUPPOSED to help our teeth is mineralization – formation of hydroxyapatite/fluoroapatite (calcium phosphate crystals with fluoride integrated into the matrix).

            It seems to me that F is doing a better job of keeping us disconnected from our own souls than helping our teeth.

            And if you don’t believe in any of the metaphysical stuff associated with the pineal gland (i.e. that it is the third eye), then maybe you will be interested to learn that it is the center of serOtonin and melatonin production, and that it is known as “the master gland”.

            I am, therefore I think.

            I will leave you with this quote:

            “My view is that this gland is the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed. The reason I believe this is that I cannot find any part of the brain, except this, which is not double. Since we see only one thing with two eyes, and hear only one voice with two ears, and in short have never more than one thought at a time, it must necessarily be the case that the impressions which enter by the two eyes or by the two ears, and so on, unite with each other in some part of the body before being considered by the soul. Now it is impossible to find any such place in the whole head except this gland; moreover it is situated in the most suitable possible place for this purpose, in the middle of all the concavities; and it is supported and surrounded by the little branches of the carotid arteries which bring the spirits into the brain.”

            – René Decartes

            • says

              Hello, Joe!

              The “distilled” liquids are: precipitation (rain, mist, snow, dew, and fog), distilled water, raw milk, blood, urine, vegetable and fruit juices.
              I put “distilled” in quote marks because I want to point out that not all of these liquids have gone through a water distillation apparatus. However, precipitation is formed by a natural, low-heat distillation, and all of the other “distilled” liquids are formed inside of living organisms, in another sort of low-heat distillation. These liquids also all have the common element of being free and clear of all [harmful] inorganic minerals. That is, the distilled water aspect is common to each. A tomato is full of juice, and when it is hit by the sun’s rays that juice goes through low-heat distillation. There are no rocks inside of the tomato – the tomato thrives on turning inorganic minerals into organic minerals. Only through photosynthesis can inorganic minerals be converted to a form that we can use. I take magnesium glycinate, malate, or citrate – not magnesium oxide or magnesium carbonate or whatever. If your schoolteacher told you that eating chalk was the best way to get your calcium, would you believe him/her?
              Note: I wouldn’t collect precipitation today due to chemtrails. (My upcoming documentary “CCR” should inform you on that subject if you either have not heard of chemtrails (chemical trails) or have not watched the sky long enough/critically enough to recognize that they are real, common, and distinctly different from contrails (condensation trails)).
              Also note: I’m not sure I could recommend a steady diet of fruit juices to my worst enemy. (That will probably send a person to the 7th Circle of Blood Sugar Hell.)
              But I also cannot recommend that anyone drink a ton of distilled water and eat nothing at all.
              If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have any food to eat, urine is a much better option than distilled water. It has the most highly distilled water imaginable as its base, some electrolytes, and maybe some urea if you’ve recently eaten some protein. But you will find that if you loop it, the pee taste goes away, the urine gets progressively clearer and cleaner, you get more and more hydrated, it purifies the blood, and you turn into a walking, human, coconut-flavored soda fountain. I didn’t believe Andrew Norton Webber until I tried it myself, but it’s true. Coconut. No kidding. If you find yourself without a water source, I do not recommend that you wait a long time to start drinking your fresh urine. Jump in right away, or you’ll lose a lot of water and get dehydrated unnecessarily.
              Similarly, I cannot recommend that anyone drink a ton of distilled water and eat a crappy diet. Though I think I’ve made it clear that I can’t trust Dr. Weil, I’d like to draw on this quote:
              “Your question as to whether distilled water leaches minerals out of the body reflects another persistent myth. While pure water helps to remove minerals from the body that cells have eliminated or not used, it does not “leach” out minerals that have become part of your body’s cell structure. Neither does distilled water cause your teeth to deteriorate, a false claim made by a filter manufacturer looking to boost sales. As far as acidity goes, distilled water is close to a neutral pH and has no effect on the body’s acid/base balance.”
              I also think this quote captures much of the truth about distilled water:
              “The minerals which the human body needs that are in the water are insignificant to those in food…and anyone simply eating a varied diet, not even a balanced diet, could hardly suffer a mineral deficiency.”
              – Dr. Henry A. Schroeder, Dartmouth Medical School
              I really can’t recommend that anyone avoid bone broth, renounce all plant foods, stay away from drinking raw milk or blood (like the Masai drink), never touch their own urine, take three saunas per day, and drink tons of distilled water. You’ve got to get your potassium and other minerals from somewhere!
              So, your comment “It is actually dangerous to drink distilled water. It removes electrolytes from your body.” is not ENTIRELY false…you see, if you really mistreat yourself, you can develop hyponatremia or hypokalemia or potentially other problems while drinking lots of distilled water.
              That’s why I think people should have access to (and knowledge of) plenty of other distilled liquids and good food.
              Distilled water IS corrosive – there can be no doubt about it. You have to store it in glass containers. The distilled water available at stores is probably not fake, but the form-release compounds are even more dangerous than the plastic itself.
              But distilled water only destroys inorganic matter – that which is dead. Rainwater doesn’t melt YOU, and it doesn’t melt your cows, and it doesn’t melt the trees. It destroys stumps, rocks, plastic, metal, and all kinds of dead stuff, but whether you realize it or not, Joe, the blood that runs through your veins has distilled water as its base. There may be many solutes, but they aren’t inorganic! The only reason our blood keeps flowing after we drink mineral water is because the rocks get deposited in regions of the body where they will do the least damage (i.e. in between your joints, not in the bloodstream). Cycling distilled liquids through the body is like changing the oil on a machine. What kind of water would you use in your steam iron? Pellegrino or distilled water? Distilled water, of course! What kind of water leaves deposits in your teapot? Hard water! (It does the same in your body!) Sorry to use such crass analogies, but my understanding of the subject of minerals is in its infancy. I thought I understood nutrition fairly well through the Paleo 2.0/Paleo Template model…but I’m amazed sometimes by how much I don’t know.
              That being said, I think there is a strong effort to suppress the knowledge of distilled water, other distilled liquids, and especially urine therapy. That is because (and I kid you not – I hereby confirm Andrew Norton Webber’s claim) distilled liquids are the secret of Alchemy. Alchemy never was a half-baked effort on the part of some wannabe chemists trying to make physical gold from physical lead in a castle tower. The Alchemists are a secret society (and for a long time they have hoarded their golden secret all to themselves!). Those that have active psychic faculties (i.e. open Third Eye) can see auras! And in the auric field of a person with a calcified pineal gland there will be a lead-colored gray spot visible in the center of the forehead. When that person cycles distilled liquids, eats a healthy diet, meditates, gets sunlight exposure but not too much blue light late at night, etc. they can decalcify this gland and achieve mystical illumination – the golden halo that was depicted on (and sometimes scrubbed from) artwork that shows saints.
              A beautiful alchemical quote on urine therapy:
              “The Stone…” [that is, The Philosopher's Stone] “…is familiar to all men, both young and old, is found in the country, in the village, in the town, in all things created by God; yet it is despised by all. Rich and poor handle it every day. It is cast into the street by servant maids. Children play with it. Yet no one prizes it, though, next to the human soul, it is the most beautiful and the most precious thing upon earth, and has the power to pull down kings and princes. Nevertheless, it is esteemed the vilest and meanest of earthly things.”
              – Waite, Gloria Mundi, 1526
              The (o)Uroboros, snake eating its own tail, is a symbol of immortality. You become the Uroboros again when you resume urine therapy. I say “resume” because the amniotic fluid is composed mostly of the baby’s own urine.
              Which kind of water would you use to make bone broth? Tap water? Filtered tap water or RO tap water, with most or all of the fluoride still in it? Spring water? That will turn your bone broth into “sticks between your bones” broth!
              If you need some comic relief, enjoy Nathan Lane the actor, or like silly animal movies, I recommend “Mouse Hunt,” especially the rainwater scene.
              (The rich guy walks in the front door of the house he’s trying to buy, and beckons to his servants, “Glass of rainwater.” (it appears in his hand) “Vegetarian snack.” (a cucumber comes into view)) HAHAHA!
              We’ve all been exposed to an enormous amount of toxins – an amount inconsistent with our evolution – so I think we can use all the help we can get in reversing diseases of calcification (especially pineal gland calcification). So avoid fluoride and vaccines, drink distilled liquids, don’t be a stranger to vitamin K2 and its fat-soluble friends, and check out the work of Rex Newnham on boron!
              The importance of this article did not hit me until I read it several times and realized that Chris was right – the water we bathe in may be more important that the water we drink!!! And if that is so, what we absorb across the skin (especially the halo-gens, “salt-makers”) may also have a profound effect on diseases of calcification!
              I’ll leave you with Dr. Alexander Graham Bell’s take on distilled water:
              http://www.waterwise.com/productcart/pc/PDFs/bell.pdf

              – John (The Calm Canary of http://thecalmcanaryblog.blogspot.com/)

    • Meghan says

      Lemon essential oil and geranium oil neutralize chlorine as well and smell good. I put lavender and geranium in my son’s bath at night for a little kick in the butt to dream land :)

  36. says

    Interesting article – important things to consider. As a practicing nutritionist, I recall a client I had that was a competitive swimmer. Despite one hour plus of strenuous exercising six days a week, and what seemed like a not-awful diet, she was carrying 40 extra pounds. Because she was not interested in doing extensive lab testing, I could only surmise that her exposure to chlorinated pool water was causing health problems (hypothyroidism as evidenced by chronic fatigue, or perhaps gut dysbiosis or other problems) that could not be resolved by diet alone. She did not want to stop swimming and therefore stopped seeing me. Thanks for this information.

    • Meghan says

      Did you tell her to see an endocrinologist and get her thyroid evaluated? Combinations of chlorine, sugar/gluten allergy triggers can shut down your thyroid gland and put a serious crimp in your adrenal gland, too. I read a study suggesting 70-80% of the population has an undiagnosed thyroid problem due to environmental/dietary issues and lack of iodine and other beneficiary minerals.

  37. says

    One of my mentors would frequently talk about the dangers of chlorine in shower water, but I never really researched the topic.
    I appreciate the great article, as well as all the sources you reference. Wishing you all the best, Chris

  38. NewEnding says

    Chris, another great article!
    I’ve been a victim to the hands of chlorine…in fact bromine treated, as well as chlorine treated water. For years my parents thought the mood swings and personality changes were just ‘angry child syndrome’ until I stopped swimming lessons at school.
    Nowadays I have all drinking and washing water filtered and thankfully Manage the symptoms when outside of my own home with (now) herbal remedies.
    I’m glad you are sharing the knowledge, I just wanted to say that sometimes the most unexpected of symptoms can result from these chemicals.

  39. Yolanda Brown says

    What about people who swim for exercise or sport? They may actually may be an interesting control group to test the effect of chlorine on the body.

    • Chad says

      Excellent observation! When I’m training, I can be in the pool 4-6 hours per day. When I’ve had to swim in chlorinated pools, I frequently get IBS symptoms. Yet, salinated pools, I can swim all day for months on end without experiencing any of those symptoms. Not to mention, my skin doesn’t get dried out either.

      • Ermin says

        FYI, salt pools do use chlorine. The salt system simply reduces the amount of chlorine used 70-90%. The amount of chlorine in a salt pool is still significantly greater than the amount of chlorine in your city water supply.

        Also, I’m sure there are studies that have been done on chlorine use and the effects of chlorine on humans. There is probably evidence out there that the amount of risk associated of dying of cancer from chlorinated water supplies are insignificant when compared to the benefits gained. Hence, drinking contaminated water with bacteria and other pathogens is more dangerous than consuming miniscule amounts of chlorine.

        To the author, while it is nice to expose us to this information, it is not new. I haven’t done any research on this topic (other than being a civil engineer that designs water systems), however, I am confident that studies have been done on this when it was introduced decades ago. chlorine is better than contaminated water. the risk of serious side effects is insignifacnt compared to the benefits to the people receiving the treated water. (putting a filter on your home though is a good idea). This is the same principle as stating that driving is bad because people die or become paralized. the benefits of driving and the risk of being in an accident outweigh the negative posibilities. While it would be nice if everyone drove a volvo and put on a seat belt, it still wouldn’t remove the risk. everything has a risk associated with it. the issue here is being practical. educating and exposing people is fantastic, but it also needs to be placed in context. It’s not necessary for everyone to drive a volvo, and not everyone will die in a car accident.

      • Joe says

        The IBS symptoms are common side effects if you have too much chlorine in your body. It is harmless, just your body getting rid of the excess chlorine.

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