Most people regard a hot shower as one of life's little pleasures. However, what many people don't realize is the danger of chlorine or chloramines in the water. If you use unfiltered water, every time you step into a hot, steamy shower, your body soaks up chlorine or chloramines like a sponge and your lungs absorb their vapors. You absorb more chlorine or chloramines when you bathe than you do from your drinking water.
Chlorine is a poison that attacks organic matter, like bacteria in the water. When chlorine enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing or skin contact, it reacts with water to produce acids. The acids are corrosive and damage cells in the body on contact. Most harmful chlorine exposures are the result of inhalation, especially while showering or soaking in a hot tub of water. It is harmful to your hair, skin, eyes, nose and mouth membranes and lungs. Chlorine leaves your hair brittle and dry, burns your eyes and makes your skin dry, flaky and itchy.
Health effects can begin within seconds to minutes. Following chlorine exposure, the most common symptoms are airway irritation, wheezing, difficulty breathing, sore throat, cough or irritation of the skin or eyes. The severity of health effects depend upon the route of exposure, the dose and the duration of exposure to chlorine.
Chlorine byproducts can also affect health, such as Trihalomethanes (THM). Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product predominantly when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking and bathing. THMs represent one group of chemicals generally referred to as disinfection by-products (DBP). They result from the reaction of chlorine and/or bromine with organic matter present in the water being treated. The THMs produced have been associated through epidemiological studies with some adverse health effects. They can be absorbed into the body through the skin or by inhalation. When THMs are absorbed through the skin or into the lungs, they hold stronger carcinogenic properties because they aren't detoxified through the liver.
Although chlorine is universally used to disinfect water, it is not safe for drinking, showering or bathing.
"Chlorine is so dangerous" according to biologist and chemist Dr. Herbert Schwartz," that it should be banned. Putting chlorine in the water is like starting a time bomb. Cancer, heart trouble, premature senility, both mental and physical are conditions attributable to chlorine treated water supplies. It is making us grow old before our time by producing symptoms of ageing such as hardening of the arteries."
Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, which is added to the water of many cities as a substitute for free chlorine. It is often referred to in the plural as chloramines, because it can take on a number of forms according to the pH and mineral content of the water.
At first, scientists knew only that chloramine didn't produce the same byproducts chlorine did. But over time they learned that it could produce worrisome byproducts of its own, including chemicals called nitrosamines.
"Nitrosamines are the compounds that people warned you about when they told you you shouldn't be eating those nitrite-cured hot dogs," Sedlak says. "They're about a thousand times more carcinogenic than the disinfection byproducts that we'd been worried about with regular old chlorine." -- David Sedlak from the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
There is no single media that will effectively remove both chlorine and chloramines. While carbon is one of the most effective ways to remove chlorine, unfortunately, most carbon is not designed for the hot water temperatures of shower water because the hot water causes the carbon to expand, and when carbon expands it releases contaminants stored in its pores. Also, water above 94 degrees can cause the carbon to be less effective and can shorted its life. Plus, most carbon types are not very effective at removing chloramines.
The types of medias that work great in hot water up to 115 degrees are the following:
KDF 55 for removing or reducing chlorine and water-soluble heavy metals and controlling scale, bacteria and algae. This media is used with CuZn shower filters, bath balls and filters for washing machines, garden hoses and RVs. Sprite shower filters also use KDF 55 media.
KDF 85 for removing or reducing chloramines, iron and hydrogen sulfide and water-soluble heavy metals and controlling scale, bacteria and algae. This media is used with CuZn shower filters, bath balls, kitchen and whole house filters.
Chloragon is a non-carbon media that removes more chlorine at a wider temperature range than any other shower filtration media, except KDF. This media is used exclusively with Sprite shower filters.
Pharmaceutical Grade Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has recently been included in AWWA (American Water Works Association) Standard (AWWA, 2005b) as one of themethods for dechlorination of disinfected water mains. There are no NSF International certified point of use devices utilizing Vitamin C, however SFPUC (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission) determined that 1000 mg of Vitamin C removes chloramine and chlorine completely in a medium size bathtub. This media is used in the VitaShower and VitaBath filters.
The most effective method is to combine medias, such as is done with CuZn and Sprite shower filters. For chlorine, CuZn combines KDF 55 with Catalytic Carbon and for chloramines they combine KDF 85 and Catalytic Carbon. Sprite combines KDF 55 with Chloragon (Sprite does not have a chloramine removing option).
CuZn's is the developer of the patented Filter Foam Power Disk water filtration technology that uses a combination of copper and zinc (patented under the trade name KDF) in water treatment systems to remove chlorine,iron, lead and other heavy metals, bacteria and other micro-organisms, hydrogen sulfide and hundreds of other organic and inorganic problem contaminants from the water supply. It also reduces scale and hardness, but retains minerals to balance water.
The CuZn TurboShower utilizes the new PowerDisk Patented FilterFoam Technology, designed exclusively by CuZn for shower filter applications. The new PowerDisk with it's non-woven filter pad will eliminate dirt, sediment, odors and chlorine that causes dry, itchy, flaky skin, brittle hair, eye, lung and sinus irritation. Added PowerDisk benefits are your shower will stay cleaner longer because it reduces lime scale, mold, and mildew deposits and helps to soften your water naturally without salt,leaving your skin supple and smooth and your hair soft, silky and manageable.
In a CuZn chloramine TurboShower filter, the KDF 85 as well as catalytic carbon first break the bond in chloramine, reducing it to ammonia and chlorine. During this process the KDF 85 will also react with the chlorine and the catalytic carbon reacts with the ammonia as well as the chlorine. Strictly speaking there is little or no free chlorine in water that uses chloramines.
If you do not already have a showerhead you like, you can add one of the following options:
NOTE: Chlorine in water may be present in two forms, free and combined. Free chlorine does the hard work of killing bacteria and oxidizing contaminants. When you add chlorine to water, you are actually adding free chlorine. When the free chlorine combines with contaminants, it becomes combined chlorine or chloramines. In water, this form of chlorine has very little sanitizing ability, and no oxidizing ability. Total chlorine is just the sum of both combined chlorine and free chlorine.
CuZn's KDF55 filter removes about 95% and the KDF85 removes about 75% of both free and combined chlorine as a new filter and diminishes in capability as the filter is used, as do all water filters. But bear in mind that if your water company is using chloramine, there is little to no chlorine in the water. Read more about KDF filters
There is only one accurate water test that is capable of measuring both free and combined chlorine -- DPD#1 Test. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the beast, false readings are common.
Chlorine in water may be present in two forms, free and combined. Free chlorine does the hard work of killing bacteria and oxidizing contaminants. When you add chlorine to water, you are actually adding free chlorine. When the free chlorine combines with contaminants, it becomes combined chlorine or chloramines. In water, this form of chlorine has very little sanitizing ability, and no oxidizing ability. Total chlorine is just the sum of both combined chlorine and free chlorine.
CuZn TurboShower Filters are designed to remove free chlorine (CL) from water. Because of how Copper-Zinc works, OTO (orthotolodine pool testing kits that measure chlorine in water) tests do not give accurate readings. Copper and Zinc ions recombine with the chlorine molecules to produce cupric chloride and zinc chloride. Therefore, any test that measures the CI ion (such as OTO and some DPD tests) will show positive in the presence of cupric chloride and zinc chloride. The test may show positive when testing the TurboShower even though the TurboShower is working perfectly to remove the harmful chlorine. The DPD #1 Test, which tests only for CI2 is the only way to accurately measure the TurboShower's effectiveness.
However, even DPD #1 will not accurately test chlorine's removal from water in the presence of chloramines. Chloramine is produced when a municipality injects both chlorine and ammonia simultaneously into the water supply. This is done to reduce CI2's ability to combine with organic matter in the water and thereby produce potentially harmful trihalomethanes (THMs). Because chloramine has less disinfecting ability than free chlorine, a higher concentration of chlorine in usually used to get the same bacteria kill rate.(1)
Additionally, the presence of iodine ions in water will magnify the chloramine interference when using the OTO and DPD test methods. Also, oxidized manganese in the water may interfere with the DPD procedure. (1,2)
To get accurate readings of CL2 levels, an amperometric titration method should be used because it is least likely to reflect interferences.
CuZn's KDF55 filter removes about 95% of free and combined chlorine; CuZn KDF85 removes about 75% of free and combined chlorine as a new filter and diminishes in capability as the filter is used, as do all water filters. There is only one accurate water test that is capable of measuring both free and combined chlorine -- DPD#1 Test. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the beast, false readings are common, as described above.
For practical purposes, a person's body will tell him or her when the filtration media is exhausted and is letting chlorine through. Besides one's nose noticing the disagreeable chlorine smell, one's skin and hair will become dry, flaky, and itchy in the presence of chlorine.
The replacement filterkit contains the Power Disk and complete refill replacement instructions.
Read more about CuZn's patented KDF FilterFoam and Acid Washed Coconut Shell Carbon Medias
CuZn Water Filters are made in the U.S.A. and are Duty FREE to Canada.
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