Chlorine in drinking water: A potential link to cancer risk?

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chlorine-in-drinking-water(NaturalHealth365)  Chlorine in drinking water has been used since the 1800s, although it didn’t become a standard until the early 1900s.  It’s utilized primarily because it is the cheapest way to disinfect large amounts of water.

However, a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute provides insight into the link between long-term exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) found in chlorinated drinking water and the risk of colorectal cancer.  If you’re concerned about your health – keep reading for more important information about this serious health issue.

Investigating the link between trihalomethanes (THMs) and colorectal cancer

Researchers assessed the association between long-term exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs), the primary disinfection by-products in chlorinated drinking water, and the incidence of colorectal cancer.  The study involved 58,672 men and women from two population-based cohorts.

Exposure to THMs was evaluated by combining long-term residential history data with drinking water monitoring records.  Participants were categorized based on their THM exposure levels: no exposure, low exposure (<15 µg/L), and high exposure (≥15 µg/L).  Incident cases of colorectal cancer were identified using the Swedish National Cancer Register.

Over an average follow-up period of 16.8 years, the study identified 1,913 cases of colorectal cancer, with 1,176 cases in men and 746 in women.

The findings revealed that high concentrations of THMs in drinking water (≥15 µg/L) were associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer in men compared to no exposure.  However, in women, no overall association between THMs and colorectal cancer was observed.

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It’s not just chlorine: Water contamination poses a serious threat to many small communities

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of lead for the soldering and construction of household plumbing in public water supplies in 1988.  However, many small towns and rural communities are still functioning with pipes that are decades older than the 1980s.

Water contamination in small-town America made headlines several years ago when city officials in Flint, Michigan, decided to save money and switch their source of drinking water from Lake Huron to the notoriously dirty Flint River.

Shortly after, many young children were being seen at local clinics with rashes and hair loss.

Researchers from Virginia Tech came in to test water running into Flint homes and found high levels of lead.  The state Department of Environmental Quality had also decided to cut corners and was not treating the Flint River with an anti-corrosive agent, violating federal law.  As a result, the water eroded the lines, and lead from these old pipes was seeping into the public water supply.

After Flint’s situation was made public, one would think that more checks and balances would be put in place to protect small towns and rural areas from known toxic substances.  This does not appear to be the case, however.  Besides Flint and Ranger, hundreds of other towns could be at risk.

Unsafe levels of chemicals in the drinking water of 33 states

The toxic chemicals perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) have been found in alarming levels in drinking water around the United States.  In fact, they exceed safe levels set by the EPA and threaten the health of over 6 million people around the country.

Research teams from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health uncovered this disturbing news published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

Bottom line: To protect your health, be sure to drink clean (toxin free) water.  We suggest looking into drinking only good quality spring water or water from a reverse osmosis system.

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