ByKimberly Button

Jan 23, 2015

A hot shower can wash away the stress of the day instantly. It could also be depositing some not-so-friendly chemicals into your body. So what’s a person to do? Simply buy a shower filter.

No one wants to hear that even their shower water could be a source of chemical exposure. Unfortunately, many scientists are finding that it’s true. The good news is that there are quick and easy solutions so that you can start singing a happy tune in the shower again.

Shower head
Shower head. Image courtesy of Petar.

First, what’s the problem? Isn’t the water coming out of your shower faucet the same that’s coming out of your kitchen tap, which is regulated for safety by the EPA? Yes, it is. However, the physical act of showering exposes your body to more of what could be lurking in your water.

Hot water opens up your pores, allowing more water to enter your body more quickly. Standing in the shower for 10 minutes or so exposes your skin, the body’s largest organ, to much more water than you’d probably ever consume from the tap in one day.

Steaming hot water produces vapor, too. You know, the stuff that fogs up your mirror when you get out of the shower. That vapor contains tiny amounts of whatever is found in your tap water, which you then inhale.

If you already filter your drinking water, then you will probably be horrified to imagine that all of the things that you are trying to avoid from drinking tap water are still coming into your body through your shower.

In order to kill all kinds of nasty stuff in your city’s water, including bacteria and pathogens, a lot of chlorine (and other disinfectants) are dumped into the public water supply. The EPA acknowledges that the disinfectants can themselves potentially cause problems, too.

Chlorine is just one disinfectant. It becomes chloroform when it starts to break down in hot water. The amounts are small, for sure, but they’re still there in the hot steam. Chloroform is just part of the problem, though.

Exposure to chlorine can cause problems such as dry skin, dry hair, rashes, itching and dandruff and even asthma attacks, and the threat is real. The EPA’s maximum amount of chlorine that can be allowed in drinking water is four parts per million (ppm), a higher level than suggested for chlorinated pools!

So, what can a homeowner do? It’s simple – buy a shower filter. A variety of options exist, from filters that attach to your showerhead, to ones that replace your existing showerhead. Bathtub balls also allow water to be filtered from the faucet.

Just like drinking water filters, a variety of shower filtrations systems exist. Plain old carbon filters, the kind that are used in drinking water filtration, aren’t as effective with hot water. Look for a filter that uses KDF-55 which is ideally designed to work in hot water and remove chlorine and other contaminants, such as heavy metals.

Feature image courtesy of Sheldon Wood

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit for more information.