The most important contribution that chlorine shower filters make toward a healthier lifestyle is in reducing the amount of free chlorine that comes into direct contact with your skin. The Radiant Wash dechlorinating shower filters, for example, is specifically designed to effectively and efficiently remove chlorine from shower water.
Test results from independent laboratory testing certify that a Radiant Wash dechlorinating shower filters will consistently give 90% free chlorine removal. This results in softer more manageable hair and healthier younger looking skin. There is less fading of hair that has been treated and colored.
For chlorine sensitive people, particularly small children, the elderly and sufferers of asthma or emphysema, chlorine removal is very beneficial as well as a safeguard against negative allergic reactions. Chlorine readily bonds to organic matter such as skin and hair destroying the natural bacterial balance which can cause dryness, itching and flaking.
Chlorine gas is more likely to be released in hot water. As it escapes from the hot water it is released in the confined shower recess, especially one with poor ventilation. The longer the shower, the greater the concentration of chlorine gas in the air we breathe. The lethal concentration for ten minutes of exposure is about 600 ppm and it has been suggested that regularly taking hot showers with chlorinated water could pose a health risk.
The Preferred Shower Filter Media
Dechlorinating shower filters are limited to three types of acceptable media for potable water use: GAC (granular activated carbon), Vitamin C and KDF (atomized brass). GAC is not recommended for hot water use because of the media being continuously exposed to temperatures of 105 degrees F. At these elevated temperatures some of the contaminants absorbed by the carbon can slough off and re-enter the water. GAC is highly absorbent and becomes saturated within just hundreds of gallons versus thousands of gallons with KDF, requiring more frequent replacement.
KDF is comprised of 50% copper and 50% zinc. It gives free chlorine removal by reversing the electrochemical process that originally separated the chlorine from sodium in a brine solution. This is how it works: Copper and zinc are dissimilar metals. The tension between these metals generates between 900 and 1100 millivolts of electricity as water passes through it. This is enough electricity to generate a galvanic charge which re-establishes the original electrolytic environment that created the free chlorine. The chlorine is able to recombine with a metal ion, normally zinc, to form a soluble zinc chloride which washes out of the filter and is harmless to humans. KDF is also bacteriostatic and tends to reduce or eliminate fungus and mildew build up in the shower enclosure.
A good Vitamin C filter utilizes ascorbic acid chemistry for de-chlorination. Vitamin-C does not hold the chlorine; it neutralizes chlorine from an toxic substance into a harmless compound. In more simple terms, Vitamin-C changes chlorine and chloramine from something that can cause you harm to things that cause NO HARM. This filter effectively removes the harmful affects of chlorine and chloramine from your water source.
Vitamin C is known for building a strong immune system and as a nutrient for skin and hair. The use of Vitamin C is more environmentally conscious than traditional activated carbon, KDF or sulfur-based chemicals such as calcium (or sodium) sulfite or sulfate. Vitamin C is not toxic to humans and is safe for the tenderest skin.
Life of Chlorine Shower Filter
Depending upon the filter model a good chlorine shower filter should last 9 to 18 months for a family of four. In some areas the filter will last much longer. KDF`s effectiveness is measured by its ability to generate the electrochemical action as described--not in gallons. The cathode-anode relationship between copper and zinc can be reduced or disrupted by particulate contaminants in the water. The less particulate matter in the water entering the filter, the longer the KDF media will generate adequate levels of electricity to effectively remove free chlorine. Any odor of chlorine in the shower water or a reduced level of flow are indications the filter should be changed.
Chlorine and Chloramine
Chlorine is present in most municipal water systems in greater amounts during warmer weather or when higher levels of contaminants are present. Chlorine and Chloramine levels can very from day to day. Chloramine is produced when a municipality injects both chlorine and ammonia simultaneously into the water supply. This is done to reduce the free chlorine`s ability to combine with organic matter in the water and thereby produce potentially harmful trihalomethanes, or THMs. Because chloramine has less disinfecting ability than free chlorine, a higher concentration of chlorine is usually used to get the same bacteria kill rate. Chloramine is already bound to organic matter in the water therefore it cannot bond to skin or hair. There is no chloramine gas therefore no vapors to inhale such as with chlorine. Rainshow`r chlorine shower filters do not remove chloramine or leads and heavy metals. KDF may have some ability to remove these contaminants however in the small amount of filtering media and the rapid rate of flow required in a shower filter, this is not likely.
Experimental use of Chlorine in drinking water began in the 1890`s to combat water-borne diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid. Chlorine quickly gained wide acceptance because of the low cost and high efficiency it had in killing just about everything hazardous in the drinking water. The use of Chlorine allowed population centers to appear and thrive without any epidemic outbreaks. Today however, we know more about Chlorine and why it is so important to remove it from our water before we drink it, cook with it, or shower in it. Chlorine is a known poison and the safety of drinking this poison over a long term period is highly uncertain. We now know that Chlorine reacts with water-borne decaying organic matter like leaves, bark, sediment, etc.. to create a family of other chlorinated organic compounds which can or may be highly toxic.
When you shower or bathe in chlorinated water, the pores of your skin open up and absorb the chlorinated water like a sponge. Also, Chlorine-filled Steam enters your lungs. People can actually receive more exposure to chlorine during a shower than by drinking the same water. Chlorinated Shower Water also causes or worsens skin irritations and rashes, dries the skin, can irritate eyes leaving them red, itchy and burning, and inhaling the steam can aggravate the sinuses and lungs as well. Most shower filters on the market today are not specifically designed for chlorine removal.
When performing on-site tests for free chlorine, it is recommended that the amperometric filtration test method be used because it is least likely to reflect interference. The presence of iodine ions in the 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. The OTO test such as used for testing chlorine in swimming pool water will not give accurate test results for free chlorine in shower water.