Thursday, April 28, 2011

Of Chlorine and Cancer

Red, watery  and burning eyes after a swim were a small price to pay for the fun and frolic with friends in the pool. The discomfort was attributed to the chlorine in the water filtration plant - a necessary but minor irritation that one was expected to bear with. After all chlorine was what made the water clean. But if the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology is to be believed, excessive exposure to chlorine from either swimming or drinking can cause bladder cancer. And if you thought that this was some new fangled research, check this out - reported in 1987! 

The Pure Water Network says that, ' The problem with chlorine is that it is a known poison and the safety of drinking this poison over the longterm (i.e. your lifetime) is highly uncertain. Also, chlorine reacts with water-borne decaying organic matter like leaves, bark, sediment, etc. to create a family of chemicals called trihalomethanes and other highly toxic substances. Trihalomethanes, or THM's, include chemicals such as formaldehyde and formalin, both of which are extremely carcinogenic even in minute amounts.' 
Confused? So was I!

If this is true, then why is it that we did not know about it till date? The chances are that we were not meant to know about it like most things that the corporates are uncomfortable with. Changing a technology to remove chlorine would be costly and cumbersome to say the least. And really who would not want to have a bath with good clean carcinogenic water! Cheap that too...compared to the cost of UV water filtration plants. 

So if chlorine based chemical water filtration projects are not good in the long run, how do we overcome them? Unfortunately there is not much that we can do directly. We can campaign, raise awarness and lay down guidelines and hope they are implemented - but the action are remains in the hands of the manufacturers to ensure the guidelines are met and the government to penalise those violating guidelines. As for us consumers - we can only chose between one filter technology versus the other.

This post is for the 'NO TO CHLORINE' contest by Bejon Mishra of 'HealthyYouFoundation' by Indiblogger. 


  1. What the heck!
    I swim everyday in chlorinated water.. might have to reconsider.. thanx for the info..

  2. That was a brilliant piece of information. Enjoyed my stay here! Got to learn something new today! :)

    By the way hope you enjoy reading my post Say no to chlorine!

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