Chlorine is added to our drinking water in order to kill pathogens and parasites. However, it can cause health problems in its own right. Chlorine gas can be poisonous over certain levels, and ingesting too much chlorine could eventually be lethal. Chlorine can also be devastating to vegetation, and could have a direct effect on your trees’ health. Let’s look at a few of the harmful effects of chlorine on trees and humans. We’ll also discuss a few solutions so you can counter these effects.
The Increased Risk of Cancer
Adding chlorine to our drinking water dramatically reduces the risk of water-borne illnesses like cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Unfortunately, it is also correlated with an increased cancer risk. It almost doubles the risk of bladder and rectal cancers. It raises the risk of gastrointestinal cancers by 50%. This is partially due to the way chlorine combines with trace organic compounds like trihalomethanes. These are known to produce free radicals that can cause damage to our cells.
The Impact on Trees
Chlorine can have a serious effect on the health of your plants. You could damage trees by watering them with water that has as little as 0.5 parts chlorine per million. The problem is worse when plants are growing rather than dormant.
One of the symptoms of chlorine toxicity is a burned or scorched appearance on the tips, edges and veins of the leaf. After that point, they will eventually become stunted and fall off the tree prematurely.
The Damage to Your Lungs
If you go swimming in a pool that has had too much chlorine added, the chemicals in the water might burn your eyes or make it hard to breathe. The same can be true when there is too much chlorine in your drinking water.
This is why children who drink or are otherwise exposed to chlorinated water are at greater risk of asthma attacks. The chlorine could affect them in other ways such as giving them a sore throat, irritated nasal passages or tightness in the chest after they take a shower.
The Overall Impact to Your Health
Chlorine may contribute to a variety of health problems by destroying our beneficial gut bacteria. The destruction of healthy gut bacteria can contribute to autoimmune disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and food allergies. Furthermore, losing these healthy gut bacteria may throw our metabolism out of whack, contributing to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Whatever you do, you should be careful when using chlorinated water on plants and trees. Excessive levels could end up making them sick. One option would be to put the water into an open container and let the chlorine evaporate before you use it to water your plants.
This technique could also be used for drinking water. For instance, you could put chlorinated tap water in a glass bottle and let it air out for 24 hours before you drink it. If you can’t wait that long, boiling it will remove the chlorine.
If your water tastes bad, another option is investing in carbon filters to remove chlorine from your water supply. These will remove chlorine from the water you drink and bathe in. You can combine the carbon filter with other filters that remove pathogens that may still arrive via your municipal water supply.
Chlorinated water is seen as the foundation of municipal water safety; however, it can cause health problems as well. Make sure that you either test your water or ask for a report from your municipal supplier, and take the steps to alleviate the effect of chlorine on vegetation and your family.