Chlorine and Cancer: What Can a Water Filter Do for You?
By Vanessa Lausch
Every day, cases of cancer are rising in astounding and unprecedented numbers. While medical professionals work
tirelessly to find a cure for this most deadly of diseases, the numbers of terminally ill patients continue to
climb. Although the cure for cancer continues to elude medical professionals, it is completely within our own power
to protect our families and ourselves and to reduce our risks whenever possible.
In recent years, individuals have begun to seriously examine known carcinogens and to protect themselves from
these cancer-causing agents. Sunscreen has become an important defense against skin cancer, and its use is on the
rise. The number of smokers attempting to quit rises each day, precisely because of new information about the
carcinogenic nature of cigarettes.
The increase in such protective behaviors clearly indicates an increased interest in protecting oneself from
cancer risks. Still, droves of people continue to use and drink unfiltered tap water, not knowing about or not
believing in the insidious nature of this substance. Whether we like it or not, the water that emerges from our
taps, however pristine it may appear, is filled with carcinogenic compounds. A simple water filter can now serve as
a valuable safeguard against cancer.
Chlorine and Tap Water: Untreated tap water is filled with such dangerous contaminants as nitrate, arsenic,
microorganisms, and chemicals from pesticide runoff. Once this water reaches a municipal treatment plant, many
contaminants are removed. However, one of the most dangerous contaminants is actually added to drinking water as a
part of the treatment process.
Chlorine, added as an inexpensive and effective drinking water disinfectant, is also a known poison to the body.
It is certainly no coincidence that chlorine gas was used with deadly effectiveness as a weapon in the First World
War. This gas was known to severely burn the lungs and other body tissues when inhaled; it is no less powerful when
ingested by mouth. Each day, as we use unfiltered tap water, we are effectively pouring bleach into our water
before we drink it.
This poisonous chemical, accompanied by its byproducts, is now known to cause at least three types of cancers,
among other serious health problems. The U.S. Council of Environmental Quality recently released a report stating
that the risk of cancer is 93% higher among those drinking chlorinated water than among those not drinking
chlorinated water! In the following paragraphs, you can read about the specific cancer risks of chlorinated water
and learn how to protect your family and yourself from this insidious poison.
Bladder and Rectal Cancer: Chlorine has long been known to be a leading cause of bladder and rectal cancer. Once
in water, chlorine interacts with organic compounds to create trihalomethanes (THMs). These THMs are particularly
harmful to the body when ingested. When taken into the body, THMs encourage the production of free radicals. These
free radicals proceed to destroy or damage vital cells in the body. Because so much of the water we drink ends up
in the bladder and/or rectum, ingestions of THMs in drinking water is particularly damaging to these organs. THMs
cause innumerable cases of bladder and rectal cancer each year.
Bladder and rectal cancer occur when malignant cells, often created by THMs, infect the inner tissues of the
particular organ. Once they have taken hold in the bladder or rectum, the malignant cells can isolate themselves in
the infected area or they can spread to infect other areas of the body, potentially causing more deadly forms of
cancer. Each year, 13,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in women while 37,000 new cases are diagnosed
in men. Of these 50,000 new cases each year, slightly more than 20% of individuals will die from the disease. For
rectal cancer, more than 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and approximately 55% of those individuals
diagnosed will die from the disease.
Ironically, one of the best means of protection against these two types of cancer is drinking plenty of fluids.
However, drinking larger amounts of contaminated water only exacerbates the risk.
Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is the newest type of cancer to be connected to ingestion of chlorinated water.
Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in the United States alone, and it kills approximately _ of its
Recent research has linked this deadly cancer to a buildup of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. In a
shocking study conducted in Hartford, Connecticut, researchers found that “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60%
higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast
cancer.” While chlorine can make its way into our bodies in several ways, there is no means of access more common
or more frequent than the ingestion of common, unfiltered tap water.
A Simple Solution: One preventive solution to these three deadly cancers could not be simpler. If chlorinated
drinking water is a leading cause of cancer, then the obvious method of reducing one’s risk of cancer is to refrain
from drinking chlorinated water. We cannot choose whether or not to drink water, but we can choose the type of
water we allow into our bodies.
Municipal water treatment plants add chlorine to water to help make it cleaner and more pure, but once that
chlorine has performed its function, there is certainly no reason for it to continue its deadly presence in
drinking water. A simple home water filter removes chlorine and its byproducts from drinking water, producing
clean, pure drinking water that can also serve as a useful protection against cancer. Water filters are one of the
only methods of water purification capable of removing chlorine.
So, what can a water filter do for you? The answer is simple but extremely valuable. A water filter can protect
an individual from cancer, one of the deadliest killers of the 20th century.
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