We recently received some technical questions about the original Berkey Shower Filter and so we thought we’d share this information with you. The following was provided by the manufacturer of the Berkey products New Millennium Concepts, Ltd. @ berkeywater.com:
TECHNICAL INFORMATION In the shower environment, chlorine can either be in liquid or gas state. At higher water temperatures in the enclosed shower stall, free-chlorine moves from the liquid to the gas state, where it vaporizes and subsequently is inhaled. The United States regulates all showerhead flow at 2.5 gallons per minute. Thus, the science behind shower filtration must take into account the unique situation in the shower, including temperature, flow rate and volume.
Since chlorination is a long established public health practice necessary for the disinfection of drinking water, consumers are aware of the health benefit drinking filtered water can provide. However, it’s surprising for some people to learn that 50% of their daily exposure is in the shower. The other 50% comes from their drinking water. Therefore, filtering shower water is equally as important as filtering drinking water.
Documented scientific studies conclude that taking long hot showers is a potential health risk. In the enclosed shower stall, chlorine vaporizes where it is inhaled. To a lesser degree, dermal absorption also occurs. Chlorine is added to kill pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria. The highly reactive chlorine combines with fatty acids and carbon fragments to form a variety of toxic compounds. Medical studies suggest a link between absorption and inhalation of chlorine in the shower environment with elevated risks for diseases and serious illness. Showering in chlorinated water may also cause pre-existing conditions such as asthma and eczema, to become exacerbated. In addition to the benefits of filtering water, there are cosmetic benefits. Symptoms of chlorine exposure are dry and/or flaking skin, dry brittle hair and red irritated eyes. Filtering your shower water reduces these symptoms.
Using a patented blend of high-purity Calcium Sulfide, Copper and Zinc; the Berkey Shower Filter™ unit works on a similar principle to a Catalytic Converter in an automobile. In shower filtration free-chlorine is converted into a harmless chloride salt. The scientific name for this chemical reaction is known as “Reduction-Oxidation”, commonly referred to as Redox. Redox reactions can be chemically complex. Simply stated, during a Redox reaction electrons are transferred between molecules, creating new elements. For instance, when free-chlorine comes in contact with the filtration media, it is changed into a benign water-soluble chloride. This reaction changes free-chlorine to a larger chloride molecule. This is too large to evaporate or be absorbed by the skin. It is then carried harmlessly through the water supply. This salt-based molecule requires more energy (heat) to evaporate than a water heater at industry-standard maximum temperatures allow and is too large to be absorbed by the skin. It is then carried harmlessly through the water supply.
The media used in the Berkey Shower Filter™ converts free chlorine and some combined chlorines to a harmless chloride salt. The media, a proprietary blend of Copper, Zinc and Calcium Sulfide works well in a variety of temperatures from hot to cold.
NOTE: If possible do not use the Berkey Shower Filter™ unit with a shut-off valve. If a shut-off valve is absolutely necessary, please make sure it is installed inline above and before the Berkey Shower Filter™ unit. Use of a shut-off valve after the Berkey Shower Filter™ unit may result in excessive pressure buildup inside the Berkey Shower Filter™ unit causing the filter to be damaged and voiding your warranty. For more information on the proper installation of a shut-off valve, please contact our customer service Center at 888-803-4438.
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WARNING Neither New Millennium Concepts Ltd. or any of its distributors assumes any liability should you decide to use a shut-off valve in conjunction with your Berkey Shower Filter™ unit.