A simple, loving, motherly, gesture was putting my children's health at risk daily... and I was oblivious! My children love to bathe, as do most kids. They hit the tub together, and spend upwards to an hour and a half in there together, laughing, splashing, and playing. It was one day, a few weeks ago, that during their bath I was tending the fire in the wood stove. I keep a large saucepan, full of water, on top to keep the air moist. It evaporates fast, and I usually replace the water before it is completely gone. This day it was totally gone and the pan was scalding hot from being on top of the fire. I put it in the sink and turned the water on, and instantly, the steam it emitted hit my face. CHLORINE. It was so potent, it smelled as if I had just entered a hotel pool, and the steam made my eyes burn.
Now, I am no dummy; of course I know that our tap water is being treated with chlorine. This is why we don't drink it or cook with it. Not new news. What was new: It suddenly dawned on me- I am soaking my children in chemicals for an hour and a half EVERY day. My next question: If parents diligently wash the chlorine off their children after a trip to the pool, how does it make sense that we are washing the chlorine off with chlorinated water? Or exposing them to it DAILY?
So, of course, I went to research.
Nearly every... single... research article stressed the correlation between children v chlorine/children v asthma. Children absorb chlorine through their skin, more readily than adults, leading to higher levels of chlorine INSIDE your child's body after swimming and bathing. The best part? The warmer the water, the more easily it is absorbed into your child's open pores. The chlorine travels through the child's blood and, just like it kills all the bad stuff in our water, it kills the good stuff in their bodies. Chlorine kills off healthy cells and gut flora. Wait, though... Gut flora is crucial to our children's health and immune system?! The EPA released this statement in a 1998 report, "Children have a greater surface-area-to-body-weight ratio than adults, which may lead to increased dermal absorption." Hmmmm, "...may lead...". Riiiiiight.
Also, the countless studies stating that chlorine inhalation causes, and intensifies, asthma in children. Asthma and bronchitis stats have risen by 300% in children in the past two decades, and it is the opinion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it is due to chlorination. "Showering is suspected as the primary cause of elevated levels of chloroform in nearly every home because of chlorine in the water." Dr. Lance Wallace, U.S. EPA. Okay, chlorine = bad for kids. Got it.
Next I learned, that women that suffer from breast cancer have 50-60% higher levels of organochlorines in their breast tissue than women who do not have cancer. Organochlorines are chlorine bi-products. Horrible.
I sickened myself slightly, learning all about chlorine's roots in chemical warfare, and its effects on the human body.
OK OK OK OK OK I DON'T NEED TO HEAR ANY MORE BAD STUFF... HOW CAN I PROTECT MY KIDS?
Surprisingly, the solution was simple. Of course- there are expensive, whole house, water filters (which I am DYING to get BTW). There are shower head filters (which I own, but it doesn't help the bath water!) that range from $100+. Also, not that pricey, but very fantastic: De-chlorinating bath balls.
-BUT THE EASIEST THING YOU CAN DO-
Run your child's bath hotter than you would like
Add a few teaspoons of baking soda
Add crushed Vitamin C tablets
Let bathwater sit until it is the right temp for your children.
The Vitamin C and the baking soda neutralize the chlorine levels in tap water, making this a simple, inexpensive, but very effective way to protect your children from the effects of chlorine. Also, allowing it to sit a few minutes before your children get in, give enough time for the BS and VC to do their job. If you don't have Vitamin C handy, then you can just add the baking soda!
I hope this was helpful! Is there anything that you put in your children's bathwater? I would love to hear about it!
***Remember, I am not a doctor, and do not claim to be, so always do your own research before attempting.