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Hot Showers? Not so Hot for Your Health

Tip: Hot showers? Not so hot for your health!
Back when people first began congregating in cities, the water supply was one of the most common ways diseases spread. Now, you can drink straight from the tap without fear of cholera because we treat communal water with disinfectants like ozone and chlorine. These disinfectants are relatively harmless to humans in small doses and can be easily filtered out of your drinking water with a charcoal filter.

The problem comes when you take a hot shower

The heat causes your pores to open up, which leads the skin to absorb more of the compounds present in the water, and the steam carries the chlorine byproducts and other compounds from the water into the air.  So with a hot shower you can end up absorbing and breathing in more chlorinated or ozonated byproducts than you would get just by drinking straight, unfiltered tap water.  Prolonged exposure to these substances has been linked to bladder cancer and reproductive issues such as low birth weight and birth defects.

Limit your exposure

Try taking showers that are just above room temperature or limiting your hot showers to five minutes.  You can also open a window to reduce the amounts of compounds you inhale!

Further reading

Bladder Cancer and Exposure to Water Disinfection By-Products through Ingestion, Bathing, Showering, and Swimming in Pools
American Journal of Epidemiology
https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/165/2/148/98015

Chlorination disinfection byproducts in water and their association with adverse reproductive outcomes: a review”
Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine
https://oem.bmj.com/content/57/2/73.short