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4 Side Effects of Using Chlorinated Tap Water in Your Home

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Water treatment plants in the United States have been using chlorine for more than a century. And as a disinfectant, chlorine works great. When it was first introduced to our municipal water supplies, it had a major impact on widespread disease. Cases of cholera dropped significantly, and in just 20 years, typhoid fever decreased by almost 70%. Talk about groundbreaking!

There’s little doubt that water chlorination has been a great public health achievement. Yet, consistently using chlorinated tap water can have some unsavory side-effects for your family and your home.

4 Problems with Chlorinated Tap Water

Chlorine helps protect water from picking up diseases and microbes as it travels the pipes to our homes. But once that water arrives at our tap, there’s really no reason that the chlorine needs to stay. Aside from being smelly, chlorinated water can cause quite a few problems around the house:

1. Your shower water won’t be refreshing.

Chlorinated water is known to draw moisture out of our skin, leaving it dry and scratchy. It can also irritate your eyes and make your hair feel dry and brittle—even in small doses. Plus, when you use chlorinated water in a hot shower, the steam can release chlorine vapor into the air. This exposes your lungs to the chlorine disinfectant, too.

2. You might be absorbing chlorine by-products.

Unfiltered tap water can host all sorts of contaminants, so it’s important to give your drinking water a final run through a home filtration system. Chlorination is able to greatly reduce your risks of certain water-borne diseases. However, it can introduce other problems, specifically: Trihalomethanes (THMs)

Studies have shown that THMs are linked to carcinogenic activity. And new research suggests that our exposure to THMs isn’t just limited to drinking water. Everyday activities—like showering—can also play a role by increasing our exposure through the skin and lungs.

3. You have to deal with faded laundry problems.

Adding a little bleach to a load of laundry can make sense when you want to brighten up a load of white T-shirts or towels. But using bleach on your other colorful clothes and bed sheets and blue jeans? Not so much.

Unfortunately, when you use chlorinated tap water, you end up putting your laundry through a wash (and rinse cycle) that’s actively working against your colors. After all, chlorine is a component of some bleach types. Over time, running your laundry in that kind of water can eventually destroy its original colors.

4. Your water-using appliances could need repairs.

Another problem with chlorine is that it’s really good at breaking down the rubber seals used in certain appliances. Rubber gaskets in some of our appliances can wear down a lot faster when our water isn’t chlorine-free. Everything from your dishwasher, to your water heater, and the machine in the laundry room can be affected by chlorinated tap water.

Switching to Chlorine Removal

There are plenty of reasons why it’s best to filter out chlorine. While it’s great for killing bacteria in the pipelines, leaving chlorine in our tap water only seems to create more problems. Removing chlorine from your tap water can help protect your family and your home. All you need is the right water setup.

Certain types of water softeners come with their own chlorine-removal system built right in. These units are great because all of your tap water—that is, the water you use for chores and bathing—can be treated in one go. A water refiner works to remove the chlorine as soon as the water enters your home. That way, your family can get high-quality water at any home faucet they use throughout the day. So, no more smelly, chlorinated showers. Just good, clean water!

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