Today I want to write about a bit of a different subject. One that hasn’t been spoken about much before.

The implication of chlorine in our tap water.

I know, I am all for saving plastic. And why should you get bottled water when you can have tap water instead? Right?
Well, standard tap water has quite a high level of chlorine, in order to keep all the germs at bay and keep us all healthy. But it can be quite smelly and also have a bit of an aftertaste. So, the straight forward simple answer is to get water filters. Obviously, there are different types and qualities of filters out there. But general speaking, filtered water is great for drinking. At least for the majority of people.

Unfortunately for me personally not so much.

Since I was a teenager I know that I am allergic to chlorine. Luckily it is not a severe allergy.

As a child growing up in Germany I pretty much used to live in the public pool during summer. Spending every day there from morning to late in the afternoon over the entire summer holidays. Until suddenly one day when I was a teenager my skin started to get really irritated and itchy and it kept getting worse. While I am still able to go to public pools now, I could not do more than one or 2 days in a row, so that my skin can recover.

So, you might wonder, what is the problem then? Well, the problem is that at one stage the chlorine in the drinking water started to affect my health. It took a very long time for me to figure this out and a lot of trial and error, because there isn’t much research about this. But especially when I have unfiltered tap water, I literally get sick. I get cold like symptoms. If I continue with the unfiltered water, I really get severely ill. This happened to me when I was on a cruise ship for 9 days, where all the water is very heavily chlorinated. But even back at home over many many months I would get very sick on Mondays and Tuesdays, getting slowly better during the week. Would feel good again on the weekend. And then on the Monday the cold symptoms where back full on.

What had happened was that usually on weekends we would go out and have breakfast and or dinner or lunch somewhere. And then I would have tap water with our meal. That caused me to start getting really sick on Mondays, recovering during the week, because at home we had filtered water. Then feeling well and healthy again on the weekend, eating out again and having tap water, so the circle started anew…

Another thing that had never crossed my mind until we stayed in a holiday home in Queensland, where the showers were running on rainwater is, how the chlorine in the water has been influencing my everyday life, in terms of showering and general well being.

When I grew up I used to watch a lot of nature documentaries and even as a young child I got really emotional and affectionate with our environment and pledged to protect and look after our planet. So as long as I can remember I was always someone to take a really quick shower, not really enjoying taking a bath (even during both my pregnancies I might have had a total of 4 baths…) Or understanding why people would spend hours under the shower. Part of this goes back to my inner believe to not waste water. But now in hindsight part of it was due to it not being that pleasant. While we were staying in this holiday home, with the beautiful soft rainwater coming down on me in the shower, it made click. This is how it should be. And I came to realise that when I normally have a shower, my eyes get really itchy and my skin is a bit irritated. So maybe this also played a role why I was never someone that would take long showers as well…

Thankfully, if I am well and not fighting a cold or a flu I am perfectly fine drinking filtered water, but as soon as my immune system is weakened I even react to the little chlorine that is in the filtered water, as most filters are not able to filter out the entire chlorine out of the water.

So, what I end up doing is buying and drinking bottled water. Which kind of breaks my heart…

But this brings me to a more cheerful subject and makes me even more excited to build our own home, the 20/20 House. Rainwater and rainwater harvesting. We are planning to get big rainwater tanks and then use the rainwater for our shower as well as for drinking (obviously with some extra filters and systems in place).

I am so excited and can’t wait to have my shower connected to rainwater!!!!

As I had mentioned before, when researching my condition and why I was feeling so sick so often I was not able to find any information online on this. So, if you happen to have any similar experiences, I would love to hear from you.