WHAT IT MEANS: Filtering your shower water isn’t just a way to conserve water; it’s also an indoor air-pollution eradicator. Hot, steamy showers are relaxing, but the heating up of chlorine (if you’re on city water) can create chloroform, a known carcinogen. Add that to the fact that homes are generally pretty well insulated, and it’s easy to see how chloroform can actually recirculate throughout your home, aggravating asthma or other respiratory issues. The heat of the bath also works to open your pores, which causes your skin to absorb more of the chemicals found in your personal-care products.
From a cosmetic standpoint, the mild bleach in your tap water can actually strip colored hair of its hue, cause skin to dry, and aggravate conditions like eczema.
Here’s how you can help keep bath time safe:
1. Test your tap.
Every summer, people who get their water from a municipal source should receive a water-quality report to get an idea of what’s in their water. This helps you shop smarter when looking for a water filter, because no every filter can remove every contaminant. (If you’re on well water, find an EPA-approved water-testing company to check your water for bacteria, heavy metals, and other harmful substances). For a copy of your town’s latest report, enter your zip code in the Environmental Working Group’s National Drinking Water Database.