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Chlorine in Drinking Water: Health Risk or No Big Deal?

an image of someone filling up a glass with tap water

Yes, there is chlorine in your drinking water. Used to kill deadly bacteria, regular chlorine treatments are a guarantee in the American water supply. You probably already know that, though. The question is: what are the health effects of chlorine in the water supply?

Is Chlorine in the Water Supply Dangerous?

The thing to remember about our water supply is that it is monitored EXTREMELY CLOSLELY by professionals. Maintaining a safe level of chlorine in our water is their only job, essentially.

One of the major questions is about whether chlorine causes cancer — or acts as a carcinogen. It’s a terrifying idea for sure, an invisible chemical invading the water you drink everyday.

While heavy concentrations of chlorine (think pool cleaning or bleach) cause some injuries, all major studies have ruled that chlorine in the water supply doesn’t cause cancer or have any notable health effects.

Other studies even suggest that extremely high levels of chlorine don’t have carcinogenic properties. However, these studies involve animals, not humans.

Chlorine in Drinking Water: The MAJOR Drawback

While the chlorine itself doesn’t cause cancer or have any discernable health effects, chlorine combines with organic matter to create haloacetic acids. Haloacetic acids in the drinking water may actually pose a health risk. When chlorine combines with decaying organic material – like tree leaves – haloacetic acid is created in the water supply.

The leading belief is that long-term exposure to high levels of haloacetic acids can cause cancer. In experiments conducted on mice, mice exposed to high levels of haloacetic acids were more likely to develop liver cancer. (Since humans were not studied, no one can guarantee the effects of drinking water containing unsafe levels of haloacetic acids.)

The good news is that water quality analysts also closely watch for the presence of haloacetic acids. If the levels of haloacetic acids ever exceed a safe level, your local government will likely send you a letter.

So chlorine itself isn’t a problem, but haloacetics definitely need to go — and we can help with that.

Chlorine and Dry Skin

Based on all of the commercials for expensive bottles of moisturizer, dry skin is both common and something people really hate.

If you happen to have dry, red, itchy, flaky skin, you’re probably nodding along right now and contemplating that 15 dollar bottle of moisturizer.

As strange as it might sound, chlorine might be responsible for your dry skin. Not by drinking it, but by showering in it. Whenever you swim in a pool, you probably notice that your skin and hair feel a little dried out and irritated. That’s from chlorine’s desiccant effect.

While a swimming pool contains more chlorine than your shower, most people wash way more often than they swim. Over time, that chlorine turns your skin into the itchy, scaly skin you fight against. That’s just one more reason to hate chlorine in the water supply.

Plus, hard water, the other common by-product in the water supply, also has the effect of pulling moisture from the skin.

Water Filter for Chlorine

You should feel relieved chlorine in the water supply doesn’t cause cancer.

Also, you can feel confident that your water supply is being closely monitored by careful sets of professional eyes.

However, if you truly want to have total control over your water supply, and want the healthiest water, you want a professional water filter. Contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for all of your water conditioning needs.