Chlorinated Water Dangers--I came across this article by Dr Tony Vendryes about why "Chlorine is Dangerous" and thought it was interesting.
After noting that chlorine is a wonderful water sanitizing agent (see Chlorination), he goes on to point out some of chlorine's dangerous side effects. I think these were the most eye-opening claims (quoted verbatim) made by the article:
- The US Council of Environmental Quality reports that cancer risks among
people using chlorinated water are up to 93 per cent higher than among
those whose water contains no chlorine.
- People, especially children exposed to lots of chlorine e.g. in swimming
pools, could potentially suffer asthmatic attacks.
- In one study, rats
exposed to chlorine, developed tumours in their kidneys and intestines.
Chlorine can severely irritate and even burn, skin, eyes and throat
exposed directly to it.
- On average, absorption through the skin accounted for 64 per cent of
contaminants entering the body and suggests that drinking may not be the
sole or even primary route of exposure.
- By penetration through the skin, the chemicals can adversely affect the
skin and hair. Chlorine bonds chemically with proteins in the hair, skin
and scalp, so that the hair can become rough and brittle and lose its
colour, the skin can become dry and itchy and sensitive areas in the
eyes, nose, throat and lungs are irritated.
I think that this article comes down very heavily in the ant-chlorine camp. In fact, the author "strongly advocate that we remove chlorine from our water supplies, swimming pools, hot tubs etc." I don't think chlorine should really be viewed as a monstrous carcinogen. It's simply not that black or white. Rather, I think chlorine is great at keeping our water sanitary by killing the bad bugs that could make us sick. However, I think that after we bath ourselves--literally go swimming--in a pool full of this sanitizing agent, we should probably wash it off. That is, after swimming, get the chlorine off of you so that you aren't walking around covered in chlorine during the times where you do not need to be.
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