You should only buy a dechlorinating shower filter that also removes THMs, chlorination byproducts. Most of them do not.
They came on the market initially as a cosmetic aid. Beauty experts advised their clients about the affects of chlorine on the hair and skin. Before showerhead systems came on the market, models often washed their hair in bottled water. If they are staying in a hotel, many of them still do.
Yes, chlorine dries out the hair and skin. The vapors irritate the eyes and respiratory system. They even trigger asthma attacks. But, the biggest long-term health risk is from THM exposure, chlorination byproducts.
The average dechlorinating shower filter does nothing to protect you from THMs. There are only two or three products on the market that do. One is very affordable, costing less than $70. Another is very expensive, costing over $200. Since they have the same effectiveness, I would choose the less expensive brand.
What is the long-term health risk of THM exposure? According to studies conducted in 2007, exposure to THMs in homes with chlorinated water doubles a person's chances of developing bladder cancer. Exposure occurs in a variety of ways.
In the shower, they become gases and are inhaled. In the kitchen, when you are washing dishes by hand, the gases are again inhaled. When cooking with unfiltered water, they are again released. When you drink a glass of unfiltered water, you are ingesting them. They are present in many bottled beverages, as well.
In a bath or shower, the chemicals are absorbed through your skin, as they are if you swim in a chlorinated pool. If you live in the US, the level deemed safe by the EPA did not consider multiple areas of exposure. They were based on the assumption that your only source of exposure was through drinking and that you weighed 175 pounds.
As you can see, a dechlorinating shower filter is not the only thing that you need. You need an effective filter on your kitchen type. Just to let you know, Brita and PUR devices do NOT remove THMs or VOCs, another health hazard that exists in publicly treated supplies.
In order to make it easier for you, many companies provide product performance data, certifications from Underwriter's Laboratory and certificates from the California Department of Health. If a company does not have those certifications or provide complete performance data before you buy, then you are probably getting a dechlorinating shower filter, but you are not getting full protection.
I believe, as do many health experts, that we can reduce the incidence of cancer in our lifetime, just by taking simple steps to limit our exposure to known carcinogens. You don't smoke. You might eat organic food. Those are good steps to take, but limiting your exposure to THM is an excellent step, as well.
So, install a dechlorinating shower filter , with certified THM reduction, and a similar kitchen system and start protecting your long-term health. Your family needs you to stay healthy.
Larry Fletcher is an avid proponent of water purification and a passionate researcher on its health benefits. To get the facts on how to choose the best water purification system, visit http://www.pure-and-safe-water.com now.