For more than a century we have waged war on microbes, and have attacked them with disinfectants, pesticides, antiseptics, antibiotics and a range of industrial residues and pollutants. Since the first world war we have also deliberately tainted our water with chlorine, which is used because it is such a potent poison and kills bacteria at the point of use. While chlorine can be useful to control pathogens, chlorine can also disrupt our natural healthy microbial balance and contribute to a range of chronic diseases.
A recent article titled “The Effects of Chlorinated Drinking Water on the Assembly of the Intestinal Microbiome” states: “Levels of chlorine used to treat metropolitan water are considered safe for the individual, based on toxicity studies. However, to our knowledge there have been no studies examining whether levels of persistent chlorine exposure from tap water are also safe for the ecosystem of microorganisms that colonize the gastrointestinal tract.” . . .
“Given the importance of the microbiome in health, persistent exposure to low levels of chlorine may be a hitherto unrecognized risk factor for gut dysbiosis, which has now been linked to virtually every chronic non-communicable disease of the modern era. ”
The toxicity of chlorine has led the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Infant Feeding Guidelines to recommend boiling and cooling tap water for infant consumption until twelve months of age. Yet what about the effect on adults? Could many gut problems, mood disorders and other health conditions be influenced by our microbial wellbeing and exposure to toxic chemicals?