No Big Deal: Showering In Falmouth Is Not Safe For Pregnant Women

pregnant – Although Falmouth’s drinking water on average does not exceed Federal unsafe levels of chlorine byproducts, the board of health wants pregnant women to be aware of its presence and urges them to take colder, shorter showers and drink filtered or bottled water.

During Falmouth’s board of health meeting last night, chairman Jared V. Goldstone  presented the most recent drinking water tests and readings that were taken quarterly from December 2012 to June 2014 at certain selected sites around town. During some months, levels of trihalomethane (THMs) and haloacetic acid, both byproducts of disinfection used to treat Falmouth’s water, exceeded the legal limit, but on average, were well below. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), both byproducts may pose health risks.

Dr. Goldstone, a toxicologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, wants pregnant woman to be mindful of studies indicating that 80 percent of THMs exposure occurs in the shower. Steam contains more THMs than liquid, and steam is inhaled and absorbed into skin. “Exposure to these products may affect fetal growth resulting in smaller birth weights and an increased risk for pre-term delivery,” he said.

Back in November, the board sent a similar letter to local doctors recommending that pregnant women filter their drinking water with an activated charcoal filter system. Certain research suggests that long term exposure to these byproducts can also increase the chance of getting certain cancers according to the EPA website. But more vulnerable in the short term may be pregnant women in their second trimester.

I’m sorry, did I read that right? Did that say “back in November”? Holy crap, way to get the word out Falmouth! I guess it’s not that big of a deal though. I mean, pregnant women are definitely first on everybody’s list of who to put at risk, screw pregnant women. Plus, it’s not like showering is something people do on a regular basis, it’s only third behind eating and sleeping. Who cares if showering puts pregnant women and their unborn children at risk, there’s no need to get the word out on something so inconsequential.

In Falmouth’s defense, it is tough to inform everyone about important happenings these days. Last week, within hours, every single person in Southeastern Massachusetts knew that Falmouth had postponed its fireworks until Sunday. I search the internet with a fine tooth comb all day, every day, doing research, and this is the first time I have ever heard of Falmouth showers causing cancer and premature births. That seems about right doesn’t it?

P.S. How sorry do you feel for the husband reading this who has to go tell his pregnant wife she has to take 3 minute cold showers for the next nine months? You better bring 73 pints of Ben and Jerry’s and a 50 gallon pickle jar to that conversation.

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