58% of Americans filter their drinking water. But if we’re worried about the water we put into our bodies, why don’t we filter the water we put on our bodies?
More and more studies are surfacing that highlight the link between unfiltered tap water and numerous health problems. As you’ll see below, these problems include, but aren’t limited to, fatigue, increased aging, decreased skin and respiratory health, birth defects, and cancer. And many of these studies show that showering in unfiltered water is even more harmful than drinking it.
If you want a full explanation of these health risks, keep reading. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of health problems associated with showering in unfiltered water. Here’s what can happen if you and your family shower without a shower water filter.
1. Hard Water Damages Skin
You’ve seen what hard water does to your house. And then you use it on your body? Those harsh minerals that wreak havoc on your sinks and tubs wreak havoc on your skin as well.
You’ve probably noticed your skin feeling dry and scaly after you shower in hard water. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are prolonged or made worse with regular exposure to hard water.
Those who filter their shower water enjoy softer, healthier skin.
2. You Absorb More Chlorine Showering in Tap Water Than Drinking It
That’s right: the chlorine in tap water absorbs into your body more easily by showering in it than drinking it. Here are a few reasons why.
Typically, you drink cold water and bathe in warm water. Because your shower water, and therefore, your skin, are warm, the chlorine in the shower water more easily absorbs into your skin.
Another reason is that chlorine’s low molecular weight makes it easy to absorb into the skin. And once in your skin, it enters into your bloodstream the same way.
The chlorine from your shower bonds to your skin and your hair. It continues to remove moisture from skin and hair long after your shower is over.
This leaves your skin, hair, and scalp dry, irritated, and unhealthy. And that’s not the worst of it.
3. Chlorine Kills Beneficial Bacteria On the Skin
Chlorine harms for the same reason it helps. We put it in tap water to kill harmful germs and bacteria. But it also kills the beneficial bacteria that live on our skin.
These beneficial bacteria and other helpful microbiomes work to keep our skin healthy. When they are eliminated by chlorinated shower water, our skin can’t protect itself as well. It will be more open to unhealthy skin conditions.
As you probably already know, removing chlorine and other harmful chemicals from your tap water is one of the primary functions of a shower water filter. These chlorine-related problems, as well as those further down the list, are eliminated by installing a shower filter.
4. Bacteria and Fungus in Your Shower Head
At least the chlorine kills harmful pathogens in the water right? That’s true of the water in the pipes.
But what about the water that sits collected in your showerhead after you turn it off? We’ll tell you: it’s a bacteria and fungus pool party.
While most of the water drains when you turn off the shower, there are some spots water can sit and stagnate. Not to mention that mineral deposits from hard water give these pathogens lots of moist, microscopic caves to hide in and breed.
A shower filter provides you with clean, pathogen-free shower water while neutralizing harsh chemicals.
5. Other Harsh Chemicals in Tap Water
Chlorine’s not the only harsh chemical to worry about in our tap water. There may also be:
- Other polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
- Trihalomethanes (THMs)
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Haloacetic acids (HAAs)
- Even heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury
The government has acknowledged that chemicals such as these produce “free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic.” One thing they do is speed the body’s aging process. As you’ll soon see, the other things they do are much worse.
A shower water filter effectively removes these carcinogens from your shower water. This is especially important for the reasons listed below.
6. Even More Chemicals are Inhaled in the Shower
Worst of all, inhaling the warm steam from your unfiltered shower water puts all these chemicals into your lungs. From there they have direct access into your bloodstream.
This is why many of you may experience feelings of fatigue after a long shower. It’s the same feeling you get after swimming in a heavily-chlorinated community pool.
This fatigue is not from your workout. It’s from inhalation of chlorine and other toxic chemicals in your shower.
And these chemicals don’t only affect you while you’re showering. They continue to circulate throughout your home, polluting your entire indoor air supply.
The EPA confirms this to be true. They found increased traces of THMs and other harmful indoor air pollutants as a direct result of unfiltered shower water.
7. Toxic Shower Inhalents Worsen Asthma
Those who have asthma or frequent allergy attacks have it even worse. It should be no surprise to learn that inhaling chlorine vapors is shown to worsen asthma conditions.
This study shows that heavy exposure to chlorine vapors damages the lining of the lungs. This exacerbates the symptoms of those with asthma and other respiratory problems. It also states that chlorine inhalation may contribute to the development of asthma.
Do you have asthma? Do you find you have more attacks indoors than outdoors? Then it’s imperative for your respiratory health that you only shower in filtered water.
8. Toxic Shower Inhalents Increase Your Risk of Cancer
There are lots and lots of studies that suggest showering in unfiltered water increases your risk of several types of cancer. Many of the chemicals you inhale during a shower are known to cause cancer. Among them are chloroform and bromodichloromethane.
The American Journal of Public Health notes that consuming or showering in tap water increases the risk of certain cancers by 15% to 35%. According to this study, you have a greater chance of developing cancer by showering in unfiltered water than drinking it.
A study in Massachusetts and one in Colorado both suggest an increased risk of bladder cancer in communities where water is treated with chlorine or chloramine. Other studies agree that treated water contributes to bladder and rectal cancer. Women with breast cancer were found to have 50%-60% more chlorine byproducts in their breast tissue than women who don’t have breast cancer.
The more you research on the subject, the more studies you’ll find that agree with this data. It’s a scientific fact that cancer occurs more frequently with exposure to unfiltered tap water. In this case, a shower filter may actually prolong your life!
9. Chlorinated Showers Put Pregnant Women and Fetuses at Risk
If you are pregnant, unfiltered shower water may even be harmful to your unborn baby.
An English study in 2000 found that drinking or showering in water treated with chlorine and chloramine contributed to various pregnancy problems. These include premature delivery, low birth-weight, stillbirth. The study also saw an increase in birth defects, including weak hearts and nerve damage.
But then, you’ve already seen the negative effects of showering in unfiltered water. And when you are pregnant, what happens to you happens to your baby. If you are expecting and you don’t have a shower filter, it’s not just yourself you’re putting at risk.
10. Child Health Risk Associated With Unfiltered Showers
Children are also put at risk when showering without a shower filter. Children are more susceptible than adults to the risks we’ve mentioned above. What we are exposed to as children affects how our bodies develop.
As we mentioned before, chlorine exposure increases your chances of developing asthma. The asthma study we cited above was specifically focused on children exposed to chlorine. And it did find a link between chlorine exposure and the development of respiratory problems.
Also, children have a higher surface-area-to-body-weight ratio than adults. That means they are more easily affected by skin contaminants.
Showering Without a Shower Water Filter Puts Those in Your Household at Risk
In conclusion, you’ve read for yourself the risk you put yourself and your household in when you shower in unfiltered water. And you’ve seen the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that supports their authenticity.
These risks are not mere hearsay. Unfiltered shower water is a serious health risk.
It’s harmful to your skin and hair. It increases aging.
It’s dirty. It pollutes the air in your house. It causes fatigue. It may cause those in your house to develop asthma, cancer and birth defects.
Now that you know the dangers of showering without a filter, it’s time to take action. Don’t keep gambling your health when there’s something you can do about it. Get a shower water filter installed in your home right away.
You won’t just feel healthier. You’ll actually be healthier.
Before you leave, get some more health tips right here. Check out 14 Reasons You Should Only Be Drinking Filtered Water.