Toxic Water in Showers and
"You Get More Toxic Water Exposure From
Shower Than From Drinking The Same Water."
.... Summary statement from a study at the University of Pittsburg
and as reported in Science News, vol. 130.
Diagram adapted from the
Weekly Newsmagazine of Science, SCIENCE NEWS, Vol. 130 (1986) no. 12, Pages 177-192 and Concerned Citizens About Chloramine
Toxic water in showers and baths
In a study (1986),
researcher Julian Andelman, of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, the National
Academy of Sciences has shown that volatile chemicals present in many municipal drinking water supplies are
especially toxic to people when they are exposed to them when bathing or showering. ". . .the major health
threat posed by these water pollutants is far more likely to be from their inhalation as air pollutants in
the home, according to preliminary data from a study Andelman and his colleagues have just
"In the past, he says, inhalation exposure to water pollutants has largely been
ignored." His data indicates that hot showers can liberate between 50 to 80 percent of the dissolved chemicals into
the air. Emissions from hot baths are half as high. "(One reason, explains Andelman, is that because water droplets
dispersed by a shower head have a larger surface-to volume ratio than water streaming into a bath, more of the
volatiles can vaporize out)."
"Though actual doses
will depend on many factors--especially the level of water contamination--the study does offer clues for
limiting exposure. Cold showers can reduce the vaporization of dissolved volatile chemicals by 50 percent,
Andelman says. And short showers help, since each doubling in shower time quadruples the dose from
accumulating gases. Finally, to limit the spread of released gases into the rest of the home, he suggests
closing the bathroom door while bathing and exhausting the room air outdoors."
Reference Sources: Science News, Vol. 130 (1986) no. 12, pgs. 177-192,
and Citizens Concerned About Chloramine.
An activated carbon shower filter will lower your exposure to toxic metals, copper, lead, chlorine,
chloramines, chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs and disinfection byproducts.
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