Facts about Chlorine in Drinking Water & Health

Chlorine at room temperature becomes a gas, which in high enough concentrations can be hazardous to your health. Your largest source of exposure to chlorine in drinking water is when you take a bath or shower, and chlorine builds up in the enclosed bath or shower stall. If you are exposed to high levels of chlorine gas in the shower, you will likely experience; a burning sensation in your eyes, nose, or throat, and possibly difficulty breathing. If this happens, get out of the shower and into fresh air immediately. Call the Centers for Disease Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222 and report the incident so your local water authority can take action.

symptoms of chlorine poisoning infographic

If you experience any of these symptoms, get fresh air right away

You also ingest a small amount of chlorine anytime you drink chlorinated tap water. The hazard to health when drinking tap water isn’t the chlorine itself; it is the disinfection byproducts it creates, such as trihalomethanes, which are known carcinogens.

Why chlorine used in drinking water supplies

Over 98% of all drinking water supplies in the US are treated with chlorine to prevent bacterial infection from tap water. Disinfection by chlorine is considered to be the best guarantee of bacteria-free water. Drinking water chlorination is a trade-off: It is the most effective way to prevent widespread bacterial infections from water supplies, but it has health risks.

Short term health risks from chlorine

During or shortly after exposure to chlorine, you may experience:

  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Burning sensation in the nose, throat, and eyes
  • Watery eyes, Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Extreme cases – Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) within 2 to 4 hours

FIRST AID: Get the victim into fresh air, immediately. If the chlorine was ingested, Do NOT induce vomiting or drink fluids, call 911 right away. There is no antidote to chlorine exposure, but doctors may wish to monitor and stabilize the victim.

Long term health risks from chlorine

Chlorine will dry out hair and skin and can be a continual source of breathing irritation for people with bronchitis or other lung health issues. Chlorine in any amount is harmful in alkaline water. Research done by Oak Ridge National Laboratories shows that chlorine in water with an alkaline pH – including hard water – is associated with high blood pressure and heart trouble. If there is chlorine in your drinking water, it is best to eliminate it. Over 90% of US households are served by hard water.

How to protect your home from chlorine in drinking water

Whole Home Filtration is your best bet; it stops chlorine from entering your home’s plumbing system. Keep in mind; water softeners do not filter chlorine unless they have an additional filter for chlorine.

If you aren’t able to install whole home filtration, your next best bet is to use chlorine filters for your drinking water and bath:

A Water Ionizer is the best bet for protecting you from chlorine and improving the quality of your drinking water. Alkaline water machines are ideal for drinking water treatment because they filter toxins and raise water pH to levels that are ideal for health. Alkaline water from a water ionizer also tastes better than any other kind of water. It’s sweeter and more refreshing than any water you’ve ever tasted.

Life Ionizers guarantees: We will make your water the best tasting, healthiest water you ever drank.

Drinking water systems provide filtration of toxins like chlorine. Some drinking water systems will also alkalize the water so you get some of the benefits that come from drinking alkaline water. However, drinking water systems do not improve the taste of your water the way a water ionizer does, and they don’t provide the same benefit to health.

Why shower filters are a good investment

Shower filters for chlorine in drinking water are an excellent investment in health and beauty. These filters protect you from chlorine in drinking water and help prevent the dry hair and skin that chlorine causes. If you don’t get a whole house filter for chlorine, you should get a shower filter. The shower is usually the source of highest chlorine exposure in the home.

Need help finding the right water filtration system for your home? Call out healthy water experts today at 877-959-7977. We have filters for everything from drinking water systems to commercial water bottling plants.


“Facts about Chlorine.”Centers for disease control and prevention.” . Centers for disease control, 10 Apr 2013. Web. 8 Jul 2013. <http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/chlorine/basics/facts.asp>.

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