How Does Chlorine in Water Affect My Health?

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What is

Chlorine is
a naturally occurring element; symbol Cl, atomic number 17 on the
periodic table. It’s a very dangerous toxin that has many uses,
from disinfecting to bleaching. In small quantities, liquid and
gas forms can be poisonous. In its gas form, chlorine is a pale
green color and has a smelly odor and makes your breathing labored.
In its solid form, it’s more of a yellow green color. It is abundant
in nature in its chloride ion form found in many of the salts that
are in the earth. Many animals, including humans need chlorine.
But there is a limit to what we can physically tolerate.

How Am I
Exposed to Chlorine?

Even taking
a long bath or shower increases a person’s risk for chlorine exposure
because chlorine can enter the body through skin absorption or through
the eyes, nose, and ears.

Chlorine has
long been used to disinfect our drinking water because it controls
the growth of such unwelcome bacteria as Ecoli and Giardia. You
have to be careful also, to take precautions even when showering
or drinking tap water.

3 Common
Exposures to Chorine:

  • Absorption
    through skin from water and from the air
  • Drinking
    & Eating
  • Breathing
    in the fumes that chlorine can create

It should be
noted that the dangers of chlorine exposure also exist for people
who do not normally swim, but instead choose to sit by the pool
sunbathing or socializing. In some instances, non-swimmers have
tested positive for high levels of trichloramines. What all of this
means is that people need to be more aware of some of the seemingly
innocent dangers that they are commonly exposed to. Chlorine, by
many schools of thought, has become a dinosaur for swimming pool
sanitation. There are alternative methods that can be used to keep
pools disinfected, including silver-copper ion generators.

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11, 2011

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