Did you know that almost 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water in developing parts of the world in Africa, Latin America and Asia? Most often, the water available to them is not clean and carries many pathogens, minerals and heavy metals. The rest of us who are fortunate enough in developed countries have access to water which chlorine is used to eliminate bacteria from the municipal drinking water supplies, making tap water safe for everyday consumption. But, scientists are warning that prolonged drinking of chlorinated water can have serious impact on our health.Why chlorine?
For almost 100 years, chlorine has been used to eliminate harmful bacteria from drinking water. Chlorine kills most disease-carrying bacteria, parasites and other organisms. It also removes from the water manganese, soluble iron and hydrogen sulfide. Bacteria commonly found in contaminated water can cause dysentery, typhoid fever, infectious hepatitis and many other diseases. Chlorine is easy to introduce, it is cheap and effective. It cleans not only water, but water pipes and reservoirs. But, it might be doing more damage to our health than good.
What is wrong with chlorine?
If you suffer from dry, brittle hair, acne, dry skin and frequent skin irritations, you can probably blame chlorine in your water for that. And you are lucky if the problems you are facing are not much more serious. According to the Council on Environmental Quality, there is clear association between drinking chlorinated water and a number of cancers, such as colon, rectal and bladder cancer. People drinking chlorinated water have 44 percents more chance to develop one of these cancers than people who filter their tap water.
There is also some evidence that chlorine affects our circulatory and respiratory systems. Heated water causes chlorine in the water to evaporate during a hot bath or shower, creating dangerous gas, which, with prolonged exposure, can seriously damage our respiratory system.
Unfortunately, chlorine is by far the cheapest solution for large scale water purification available today. While there are other safer and more effective chemicals, only chlorine is economically viable. It does not mean that we have to sit and wait for the governments to come up with a better and affordable solution for the elimination of bacteria in our drinking water. There is a range of water filters available for domestic, small scale use. Some people prefer to attach water filter at the point where it enters the house. Others attach small water filters at the each tap and shower. Filters containing activated carbon or charcoal are very effective in eliminating chlorine from the water.