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Chlorine and Health Risks – Little Known Facts About Chlorine


Chlorination of drinking water has all but eliminated waterborne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera and dysentery in many parts of the world.  Proper chlorination kills the majority of bacteria, viruses and parasites responsible for these illnesses.  Unfortunately, there are several disinfection by-products (DBPs) from the chlorination of drinking water and other little known facts that are creating severe health risks.

I decided to write about these health risks at this time, because recently the Town of Newmarket wrote a letter to residents telling them that they would be increasing the amount of chlorine that they would be adding to the water supply; this also affects the water in neighbouring towns, such as Aurora.

Chlorine depletes the human body of good bacteria and therefore contributes to many symptoms and conditions such as constipation, skin disorders such as eczema, colds and infections, as well as bellicose behaviour in children.  But there are far more serious consequences.  Consumption of water with THMs (trihalomethanes, which are formed during chlorination) has possible links to central nervous system damage, miscarriages, stillbirths and various cancers.

A 1998 California study found a miscarriage rate of 15.7 percent for women who drank five or more glasses of cold water containing more than 75 parts per billion (ppb) THMs, compared to a miscarriage rate of 9.5 percent for women with low THM exposure. Water Conditioning & Purification May 2002.

According to a study in the January issue of American Journal of Epidemiology, drinking, bathing or swimming in chlorinated water may increase the risk of bladder cancer, Reuters Health reported.  The findings are the first to suggest that the chemicals can be harmful when they are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, as well as when ingested, Dr. Cristina M. Villanueva of the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain and colleagues noted. Study participants who drank chlorinated water were at 35 percent greater risk of bladder cancer than those who didn’t, while use of swimming pools boosted bladder cancer risk by 57 percent. Those who took longer showers or baths and lived in municipalities with higher trihalomethane levels were also at increased cancer risk.

In June 1988, the US National Cancer Institute released the results of an intensive 10,000 – person study, which showed that people who drink chlorinated water for long periods of time have twice the incidence of bladder cancer as those who don’t drink chlorinated water.

A new statistical analysis indicates that people who drink chlorinated water run a 21 percent greater risk of bladder cancer and a 38 percent greater risk of rectal cancer than people who drink water with little or no chlorine. Science News July 11, 1992.

In Canada, at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, researchers found that high levels of trihalomethanes, a by-product of chlorine in drinking water, significantly increased the risk of stillbirth.

A Norwegian study of 141,000 births over a three-year period found a fourteen percent increased risk of birth defects in areas with chlorinated water. Scientists have already found an association between chlorine and an increased risk of bowel, kidney and bladder cancer, but it is the first time that a link has been verified with higher levels of spina bifida.

In a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology this month, researchers found that “High urine levels of dichlorophenols are associated with the presence of sensitization to foods in a US population.  Excessive use of dichlorophenols may contribute to the increasing incidence of food allergies in westernized societies.” Food allergies are very common in children with autism, ADHD, and related disorders, and have been significantly on the rise in the last decade. To read the article published by Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope, please click here.

Aquarium fish will die within a matter of minutes if you add tap water to your fish tank without also adding a de-chlorinator to remove the chlorine. That should tell us something about the danger of drinking chlorine.

So we know chlorine is in our drinking water, our showers and baths, our swimming pools and hot tubs but where else is it being used? Sucralose, used in Splenda, gum and a host of other sweet edible substances contains chlorine!  Table salt contains chlorine.  Grains are bleached with chlorine to make them white!  Bleach used on our white clothing contains chlorine.  And all ice, unless made with filtered water, contains chlorine.  I always find it odd when I order bottled water in a restaurant and they ask me if I want ice with that.

Chlorine has an amazing ability to chemically bond effortlessly with other substances, which is one reason it is used so frequently in manufacturing.  During the last century, chlorine has been combined with many other “normally safe organic substances” to form some of the most powerful deadly toxins known to man, such as dioxin, DDT, PCBs, etc.  But a number of safer, non-toxic options are used in other parts of the world for cleaning up the water.

Certainly, reverse osmosis purification systems are excellent at removing all toxins from water.  The only trouble with them is that they also remove the minerals from the water.  As long as a good source is used to replenish those minerals, that is what I, along with many other nutritionists, are recommending to families wanting to do things differently.

If you are interested in learning more facts about our water and the various water purification systems, I recommend having a look at the number of articles found by clicking here.  This is the website for a local company, owned by Philip Glendenning, who has a wealth of knowledge and has been providing cost-effective water purification methods for families for almost two decades now. Philip can be reached at 905-830-0261.

Have you or your children suffered from the ill effects of chlorine?  If so, please share your stories with other readers. Don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site. And, if you love this blog, won’t you vote for us?  You’ll find the link in the sidebar to the right of this post. If you are reading this post via email, please click here to be taken to the website where you’ll find the vote box.

Until next time,


Meredith Deasley

Certified Life Coach, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Spiritual Vitality Expert - Published Author, Speaker, and Teacher.


  1. Ambika Choudhary Mahajan on November 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    That’s shocking!
    Eye opener for me.
    How can the district authorities be so oblivious to all the health risks associated with consumption of too much chlorine from drinking water and force the people to gulp down more of this deadly chemical even if they do not wish to?
    How I wish people raised their voice against this proposed increase and continue to drink safe and healthy water!

    • Meredith on November 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      I hear you! But I look at the sale of cigarettes, chemical laden and genetically modified foods the same way! We need to take responsibility for our own health or we all doomed…

  2. Sharon deRyck on February 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    What a great article Meridith. I wish more people and mothers especially would realize the health risks associated with Chlorinated water and be vigilant about what they give their young children. Not because the Health Department in the Town says it is okay to drink chlorinated water we must all go and fill our glasses. Articles like this truly help open everyone’s eyes in making the right decision for their families. I now refuse to drink water in restuarants because I am so used to drinking pure water I can actually smell the chlorine in the glass when they bring it to the table.

    • Meredith on February 4, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Yes, a lot of people are smelling the chlorine in their drinking water now and are refusing to drink it. We just have to work that much harder to get what our ancestors automatically received – healthy food, water and air. It is very sad.

  3. Terri Szabo on July 22, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I moved into an apartment in Gloucester co,NJ. If I run the water in the tub over 3 min.the chlorine smell is horrendous,it makes my eyes burn and its hard to breathe. When I tell people they say at least you have a roof over your head,( which has mold in between the my apt and the one above me). Or they just don’t care. Thank you for the info. At least I know I’ m not crazy

    • Meredith on August 9, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      You are definitely not crazy! I am sorry I was unable to respond sooner. I was just in Nantucket for a week and they have no chlorine or flouride in their tap water…how amazing would that be for us?

  4. Tim on June 15, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Just started chlorination here in christchurch , New Zealand. It has certainly affected me. Before we had the cleanest tap water in the world , filtered by 11 years of moving through the alluvial plains. After the earthquake all the bore holes were shifted and dairy effluent entered the system.

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