Chlorine is the most popular water disinfectant used all over the world. Even though the chemical is used to kill microorganisms and waterborne diseases, it has an array of harmful effects on human health. Adding chlorine in drinking water became a trend in the 1800s, and was adopted as a standard water treatment practice in 1904.
Unfortunately, chlorine is not only used because of disinfecting water. In fact, it is opted for because it is the cheapest method available. However, did you know that drinking a glass of water with too much chlorine is similar to drinking a glass of water that contains bleach?
How Chlorine is Harmful
Chlorine is known to diminish disease-causing germs and diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever. It also gets rid of the repulsive taste and odour that is naturally present in water. Chlorine helps eradicate slime microscopic organisms, moulds, and algae that tend to develop in water supply wellspring.
However, a large amount of chlorine can be dangerous for you and your family. That is why it is important to regulate chlorine levels in your drinking water. Here are some of the threatening effects of too much chlorine:
Research has found that people exposed to heavily chlorinated water over long periods of time run the risk of developing bladder cancer. Research has also been found to link chlorinated drinking water to colorectal cancer. Moreover, some by-products, such as Halocetric Acids (HAAs) and Trihalomethane (THMs), increase the risk of contracting cancer. These by-products played an important role in causing cancer in laboratory animals.
Chlorine by-products cause the production of free radicals in the body. This leads to carcinogenic cell damage.
2. Children’s Health
Different studies have shown that long-term exposure to heavily chlorinated water increases the risk of asthmatic attacks, especially in children who have poor airway systems. In some studies, rodents exposed to chloramines and chlorine started to develop tumours in their kidneys and intestines.
Heavy exposure to the skin can cause chlorine to irritate the skin, and increase redness and burning.
Drinking heavily chlorinated water overtime can increase the risk of respiratory issues, such as asthma. Children are particularly prone to this. In some places, the concentration of chlorine is as high in tap water as it is in swimming pools. This causes skin irritation in people with sensitive airways who have prior respiratory problems, especially babies and younger children.
Taking a bath in chlorinated water may also make children more prone to eczema. You may also start to notice the following symptoms in children:
- Tightness in chest
- Constant sneezing
- Progression of cough
- Hints of a sore throat
- Dryness in throat
- Irritation in nasal passages
Kills Good Gut Bacteria
Since chlorine is a disinfectant used to kill bacteria present in water, it should not be surprising that it wipes out good bacteria in your GI tract, such as lactobacillus.
Good bacteria are crucial to the human body as they protect the immune system. Without them, poor gut health will lead to illnesses like asthma, bowel disease, obesity, hypersensitivity, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).