Tag Archives: chemical

Dangers of Swimming Pools

Cooling off in the swimming pool might sound refreshing this hot summer. However, before you and your kids go splashing around, you should beware of the toxins in chlorinated swimming pools.

swimming pools
Why Chlorine?
The act of treating water with chlorine started in the 1800s but became a regular feature in the early 1900s. Since then, several water districts throughout the US continue to treat their water with chlorine. It is added to many swimming pools because it has the ability to kill harmful bacteria. Chlorine in swimming pools is supposed to be regulated, but often times, it is not.

Chlorine By-Product in Urine
In a study by the University of Cordoba in Spain found haloacetic acids (HAAs), a by-product of chlorine present in the urine of swimmers only 30 minutes after they got out of the swimming pool. The EPA has limited the amount of this chemical in our drinking water because of its association with cancer and birth defects.

Bathing in chlorinated water is just as bad as doing a few laps in chlorinated swimming pools. Chlorine is absorbed through the skin very quickly. In some cases, when testing tap water, the results will show significant amounts of chlorine to maintain a swimming pool. With measures like these, what’s the point of rinsing off after a swim if it’s just with more chlorinated water?

baby bathing
Test Your Water
Pick up a chlorine test kit from your neighborhood swimming pool supply store. Fill up a container with water. It should change colors, depending on how much chlorine there is. Next, fill up another container of water and this time soak your hand for 60 seconds before testing. The water will show hardly any chlorine. Why? Because in just 60 seconds, your body absorbed the chlorine. Imagine bathing a toddler in this water.

Scientific Findings
Chlorine is a pesticide used to kill living organisms. When we consume chlorinated water, it destroys our cells and tissue as discovered by Dr. Robert Carlson, a well-respected researcher from the University of Minnesota. Chlorine has been linked to heart complications and circulatory problems in a study by Dr. Joseph Price. It has also been linked to several cancers.

Although swimming pools are fun in the warm summer months, the best way to be chlorine free is to invest in a whole house water filtration system. Your health is worth it.

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Why You Should Use A Reusable Water Bottle

Don’t let all the controversy with reusable water bottles deter you. There are plenty of reasons why you should be carrying one around this summer.

water bottles
Most water bottles were intended for one time use. We are all guilty of refilling them, but there are some serious dangers associated in refilling these types of water bottles. The more you drink, the more you add material to landfills. Let’s not even start with the BPA leaching. Using an eco-friendly reusable water bottle, you don’t have to continuously go to the store to buy more water bottles.

Money, Money, Money
Water can be expensive. If you invest in a whole house water filtration system, the cost in the long run is less expensive than continuously buying water bottles. In fact, you’ll save money each month. Or even a small filtration system that is not as costly will help save your family money. With these systems, you can get clean, filtered water straight from the tap. The best part of this is that you will know where your water comes from. You don’t have to worry about contamination or BPA leaches.

water bottle
If you have water more available to you, you will drink more water. This is particularly important for kids who are too busy running, jumping, and climbing to drink water. During the summer months, it can be a concern. Keeping pregnant women hydrated is also crucial for the baby’s health. Carrying around a reusable water bottle is an easy and great reminder to drink more water.

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Is Bottled Water Healthier For You?

Wouldn’t it be nice to drink water from the faucet and feel comfortable that you aren’t putting junk in your body? The fear of contaminants in tap water explains the bottled water phenomenon. However, it doesn’t mean that bottled water is a healthier alternative.

The bottled water industry average between $50 billion and $100 billion in sales each year. In the US, there are about 475 bottled water plants that produce roughly 600 brands. One in six American households use bottled water as their primary source of water. Californians alone consume over 33% of bottled water sold.
bottled water
The risks of drinking tap water are varied. Each city treats its water differently. It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, children, and seniors since fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals are often added during the water treatment process.

Bottled water, on the other hand, has less monitoring in some states. It is not required to be tested as frequently as tap water. In fact, in some cases, 25 to 30 percent of bottled water comes from tap water systems. It still has to meet the specific FDA quality standards for contaminants. Do you still believe the pretty pictures of mountain spring water?

It is widely believed that bottled water is healthier than tap water. Certain minerals like calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) are needed in water. Studies show that death rates are lower in areas where tap water has high levels of Ca and Mg.

There are other concerns with bottled water. Bacteria likes to grow in warm climates. Make sure you wipe the seal after each use. If you are using a refillable bottle, clean it well after each use.
tap water
Still, the debate of which is healthier bottled water vs. tap water shouldn’t be something of worry. If our public water officials would invest in providing us with good, clean water, it would save tons of money. Bottle water is expensive in comparison to what tap water costs. Tap water costs only a fraction of bottled water.

Until that day comes, it is worth purchasing a whole house water filtration system. You do not have to wonder where your water comes from. Or much worse, you don’t have to go to the city’s website to see what chemicals were added to the tap water. Pure and clean filtered water from your tap. You and your family are worth the investment.

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Dogs Need Good Water Too

Water is not just important of us but also for our dogs. Drinking enough water is important for healthy living. Animals can lose all of their fat and still survive. However, if they lose 10% of body water, they can face serious illness. The quality of water is also something to take into account.

dog drinking water

Facts about Water:

Pharmaceuticals like sex hormones, antibiotics, and anti-depressants are often found in drinking water.

Chlorine is toxin used to kill dangerous bacteria.

Fluoride has been linked to cancer in pets.

Dogs can develop giardia from drinking lake, pond, or stream water.

Unfiltered water can contain parasites, bacteria, and other harmful viruses.

Farming chemicals and lawn contaminants have been reported to cause cancer in dogs.

Often found in plastic dog food containers and water bowls BPA can leak out and seep into your dog’s food and water. BPA increases estrogen, decreases testosterone, and harmful to kids. It is also linked to some cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

Knowing this, how do you know what water to give your dog?

Best Water Practices for Your Dog:

wilderness dog

Reusing water bottles for your dog’s water is a big No-No. Most water bottles were only meant to be used once.

For reusable plastic water bottles, look for plastic with #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene) or #5 PP (polypropylene). These types of bottles do not normally leak out dangerous chemicals. Although, the best option is to use stainless steel.

Even though you can find distilled water in your grocery store, it lacks the beneficial minerals and important nutrients your dog needs.

Invest in a water filter that filters out chlorine and fluoride.

Water fountains are a great way to encourage your dog to drink more fresh, filtered water.

Wash your dog’s bowl at least once a day with hot water and vinegar.

Keep your dog from drinking out of puddles, rivers, and streams.

Use organic fertilizers and keep your dog away from dangerous lawn chemicals.

Deluxe Shower Filtration System
Purchase in a filtered bath or showered for bathing your dog.

Merchants are nice in putting a public dog water bowl outside their establishment, but this can do more bad than good.

Use only green shampoos, cleaning products, and other household products.
Drinking out of a garden hose has the dual negative effect- leaching plastic and consuming chlorine and fluoride.

The Best Water Choice:
It really comes down to investing in a Whole House Water Filtration System. It is beneficial for everyone, and you will not have to doubt if the water is safe to drink.

If money is tight, there are other types of filtered products that are less expensive and better than the standard filtered pitcher found at your local store.

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That refreshing dive into a cool—but chlorinated—pool comes at a cost: hair with a bleachy smell and the Swamp Thing look. Nicole Rogers, a dermatologist on the faculty of Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, offers tips for treating tresses.

Wearing a watertight swim cap can help protect your hair.

What does chlorine do to your hair, chemically?

There is a misperception about how hair turns green during the summer months. It isn’t, in fact, due to the chlorine but due to the presence of copper oxide and copper sulfate in the water. They come from old brass fittings, gas-heater coils, trace copper in the water supply or residue from copper-based algicides that are dissolved in the water. These positive ions get deposited into the hair, which is negatively charged. It is more obvious with blonds. The brittleness many swimmers experience in their hair is from the process of weathering. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, heat, wind and chlorine itself can cause wear and tear on the hair.

How can I reverse the damage and greenness?

You can coat and seal the cuticle of the hair before swimming to make it harder for the copper to penetrate. Look for conditioners and leave-in treatments that have silicone polymers like dimethicone or cyclomethicone. I like Paul Mitchell Smoothing Gloss, Sunsilk Thermashine and Mega-Rich Conditioner by Peter Thomas Roth. If you want to be more natural, simply apply a little coconut, sesame or olive oil to your hair before swimming. One of my favorites is Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair, which contains natural oils as well as dimethicone. And then, when you get out of the pool, always rinse with plain water to limit the potentially drying effect, then smooth on a deep conditioner and occasionally do a hot-oil treatment to keep the cuticle sealed. The alternative is to wear a watertight swim cap. Not so attractive in the short term, but in the long run, it will definitely help protect your hair.

There seem to be a lot of specialty shampoos that promise to get the smell and tinge out. Do they work?

At the end of the day it is all about chemistry. If the pool water is at a higher pH than it should be, copper ions dissolved in it can deposit in your hair. So what you want to do is lower the pH of your hair to get the copper out. Chelating shampoos will sequester metal ions and wash them out. These are products with the active ingredient EDTA (ethylenediaminetetra acetic acid), a nontoxic polyamino carboxylic acid and a colorless, water-soluble solid. You’ll find it in cleaning agents to get rid of soap scum in your bathtub, too. Or use shampoos containing natural citric acid, such as Shampure from Aveda or Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal.

What about home remedies? My co-worker swears by vinegar.

Vinegar (5% acetic acid) will lower the pH and help those copper oxides to be removed from hair. Tomato juice and lemon juice, both acidic formulations, will work, too. I would take a half-cup and gently pour it over your hair. The chemical reaction should happen right away, and the green will be gone. Of course, then you have to wash the product out or you’ll smell pretty pungent.

What about color-treated hair?

Keeping your hair SPF protected will keep your color lasting. You are constantly stripping away color when you wash your hair, plus the sun will bleach out some of the dye (which results in brassiness), and then you’ve got the chlorine and copper. A few companies make hair products that have sunscreen built in.

You could also take a couple teaspoons of sunscreen and mix it up in a spray bottle with water, or simply take an SPF spray, like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock (SPF 45) and spritz your hair. I’m a dermatologist, so I always recommend that my patients wear hats. This won’t only keep your hair from weathering and going brassy, but will more importantly prevent potentially life-threatening skin cancers.

You’re blonde. Did you go ever go green?

I can’t say I’ve had too many problems with that. But when I was younger I had a neighbor-friend who was on the swim team. She was a champion, even with her green hair.

A version of this article appeared July 24, 2012, on page D3 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: QUICK CURES / QUACK CURES: Swimming Pool Hair.


Watch the trailer for “Tapped” – The Big Business of Bottled Water..


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