You know that having clean drinking water is important, but what about shower and bath water? Here are some important considerations:
While showering or bathing, your child may be exposed to chemicals in the water through their skin, mouth (by swallowing small amounts) and even lungs (by breathing in chlorine and other chemicals that vaporize when heated). Know where your water comes from to avoid specific chemicals of concern.
If your water is from a municipal treatment plant, then it is very likely chlorinated. Chlorine is used to remove bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that might make you sick. However, since children are more vulnerable given their bodies are still growing, chronic chlorine exposure may also irritate eyes, skin or lungs as well as increase the risk for cancer and birth defects.
If your water is from a well, make sure it is tested for lead as well as naturally occurring arsenic and manganese. It may also have pesticides, perchlorate and other harmful industrial chemicals. All of these can impact neurological development.
If you have lead pipes in your home, also check for lead levels in your water. Lead exposure at any level is a concern for your child’s health.
Active carbon water filters remove chlorine, other disinfection byproducts and other chemicals. You can get one that attaches just to your shower or bath or you may want a whole house filter that takes care of your tap water, too.
RO (reverse osmosis) filters are more expensive, but they can effectively remove lead, arsenic and perchlorate, as well as most pesticides, bacteria and viruses.
Test your water for lead. An organization called Healthy Babies, Bright Futures offers a simple kit for testing your tap water for lead. The kit starts is available starting at $12. https://www.hbbf.org/lead-drinking-water