Cancer and Chlorinated Water?

Chlorine, Cancer, And Heart Disease

“We are quite
convinced, based on this study, that there is an association between cancer and
chlorinated water.” – Medical College Of Wisconsin research team

The addition of
chlorine to our drinking water began in the late 1800s and by 1904 was the
standard in water treatment, and for the most part remains so today. We don’t
use chlorine because it’s the safest or even the most effective means of
disinfection, we use it because it is the cheapest. In spite of all our technological
advances, we essentially still pour bleach in our water before we drink it. The
long term effects of chlorinated drinking water have just recently being
recognized. According to the U.S. Council Of Environmental Quality, “Cancer
risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those
whose water does not contain chlorine.”

Dr. Joseph Price wrote
a highly controversial book in the late sixties titled
Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine and concluded that nothing can negate the incontrovertible
fact, the basic cause of atherosclerosis and resulting entities such as heart
attacks and stroke, is chlorine.” Dr. Price later headed up a study using
chickens as test subjects, where two groups of several hundred birds were
observed throughout their span to maturity. One group was given water with
chlorine and the other without. The group raised with chlorine, when autopsied,
showed some level of heart or circulatory disease in every specimen, the group
without had no incidence of disease. The group with chlorine under winter
conditions, showed outward signs of poor circulation, shivering, drooped
feathers and a reduced level of activity. The group without chlorine grew
faster, larger and displayed vigorous health. This study was well recepted in
the poultry industry and is still used as a reference today. As a result, most
large poultry producers use dechlorinated water. It would be a common sense
conclusion that if regular chlorinated tap water is not good enough for the
chickens, then it probably is not good enough for us humans!

There is a lot of well
founded concern about chlorine. When chlorine is added to our water, it
combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes (chlorination
byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts trigger the production of free
radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic.
“Although concentrations of these carcinogens (THMs) are low, it is precisely
these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority
of human cancers in the United States“. The Environmental Defense Fund

Simply stated chlorine
is a pesticide, as defined by the U.S. EPA, who’s sole purpose is to kill
living organisms. When we consume water containing chlorine, it kills some part
of us, destroying cells and tissue inside our body. Dr. Robert Carlson, a
highly respected University of Minnesota researcher who’s work is sponsored by
the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up by claiming , “the
chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution”, and adds that “chlorine
is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!”

Breast cancer, which
now effects one in every eight women in North America, has recently been linked
to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study carried
out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of it’s kind in North America, found
that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of
organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women
without breast cancer.”

One of the most
shocking components to all of these studies is that up to 2/3s of our harmful
exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while
showering. A warm shower opens up the pores of the skin and allows for
excelerated absorption of chlorine and other chemicals in water. The steam we
inhale while showering can contain up to 50 times the level of chemicals than
tap water due to the fact that chlorine and most other contaminants vaporize
much faster and at a lower temperature than water. Inhalation is a much more
harmful means of exposure since the chlorine gas (chloroform) we inhale goes
directly into our blood stream. When we drink contaminated water the toxins are
partially filtered out by our kidneys and digestive system. Chlorine vapors are
known to be a strong irritant to the sensitive tissue and bronchial passages
inside our lungs, it was used as a chemical weapon in World War II. The
inhalation of chlorine is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially
in children… which has increased 300% in the last two decades. “Showering is
suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every
home because of chlorine in the water.” Dr Lance Wallace, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency.

Chlorine in shower
water also has a very negative cosmetic effect, robbing our skin and hair of
moisture and elasticity, resulting in a less vibrant and youthful appearance.
Anyone who has ever swam in a chlorinated pool can relate to the harsh effects
that chlorine has on the skin and hair. What’s surprising is that we commonly
find higher levels of chlorine in our tap water than is recommended safe for
swimming pools.

Aside from all the
health risks related to chlorine in our water, it is the primary cause of bad
taste and odor in drinking water. The objectionable taste causes many people to
turn to other less healthful beverages like soft drinks, tea or other sweetened
drinks. A decreased intake of water, for any reason, can only result in a lower
degree of health.

The good news is that
chlorine is one of the easiest substances to remove from our water. For that
reason it logically should serve it’s purpose of keeping our water free from
harmful bacteria and water borne diseases right up to the time of consumption,
where it should then be removed by quality home water filtration.

No one will argue that chlorine serves an
important purpose, and that the hazards of doing away with chlorine are greater
than or equal to the related health risks. The simple truth is that chlorine is
likely here to stay. The idea that we could do away with chlorine any time in
the near future is just not realistic. It is also clear that chlorine
represents a very real and serious threat to our health and should be removed in
our homes, at the point of use, both from the water we drink and the water we
shower in.


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