Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and it is highly porous and absorbent. It may be possible to take in more chlorinated water through your skin during a hot bath or shower than through drinking it. So, if your home water system is treated with chlorine, and you take baths or showers without some sort of filtration system specifically designed to weed out the chlorine, you’re chronically exposed. It’s not just chlorine itself that you have to worry about, either. Though chlorine alone has its own dangers (more on that in a bit), it also combines with organic compounds, such as the sweat and oil on our skin, to produce trihalomethane byproducts, commonly referred to as THMs. The levels of THMs produced when you take a hot bath or shower are rather low, however, over time, these carcinogens could have increasingly detrimental effects.

Cancer risk

The authors of a 2009 study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment wrote:

Exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) through inhalation and dermal contact during showering and bathing may pose risks to human health. During showering and bathing, warm water (95 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit) is generally used. Warming of chlorinated supply water may increase THMs formation through enhanced reactions between organics and residual chlorine. Exposure assessment using THMs concentrations in cold water may under-predict the possible risks to human health.

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