Chlorine: Friend or Foe to Eczema?
You are probably more accustomed to regarding chlorine as the chemical used to keep your local swimming pool clear of whatever bacteria or virus those kids with the runny noses have been dribbling into it since you arrived.
Actually, the original purpose of chlorine is for its use as a pesticide. Whatever the application, chlorine is specifically designed for its sole purpose to destroy living organisms, which is precisely why it has been added to our drinking water. Keeping our water clear of bacteria for over 100 years, chlorine has certainly had a role to play in our health for a long time.
A double edge sword for eczema treatment
There has been debate over whether chlorine is a carcinogen, meaning it’s capacity to cause cancer and tumors in living tissue. In actual fact, the chemical by-products formed when chlorine combines with other natural compounds in water are what appear to increase the production of free radicals, which are a known cause of cell destruction.
The Environmental Defense Fund reports that, “Although concentrations of these carcinogens (THMs) are low, it is precisely these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States."
Surely bathing in it is fine, right?!
Not only do you have to ensure your drinking water is clear of this chemical, but also your bathing water. This is because during a hot shower, the combination of the heat created with the chlorine will produce a by-product called chloroform. Chloroform is used as a solvent, in industrial applications and was previously used as an anesthetic until it was deemed too dangerous. When this chemical is created in the bath or shower, it is then inhaled by the individual, as was published in an article by Science News. What they found was an increase of chloroform in the lungs of participants after taking a 10 minute shower that displayed levels greater than the amount one would ingest from drinking 8 glasses of water from the tap.
Chlorine is also a known irritant which can strip the natural protective oils from our skin, leading to dryness and exacerbation of eczema symptoms which over time can also lead to premature aging of the skin. Additional to causing or worsening skin issues and increasing the cases of cancer, chlorine is also linked to asthma, heart problems and birth defects. For these reasons, we do not believe that drinking or bathing in chlorinated water is conducive to effective eczema treatment, or overall good health.
So even though adding this chemical to town water has done us a great service of ridding our supplies of diseases and harmful organisms, we are now better educated and in an exceptional position to source higher quality water without needing anything harmful added, especially given the increasing rates of disease and disorders appearing which can be linked to chemical exposure.
For some ideas on what you can do to provide treatment, help lessen the overload on your body or on the body of someone you love who is suffering from eczema, check out the rest of the site for some possible options.