99 Chemicals That Could Be Found in Your shower Water

About 60-70% of the human body is made of water. So our approach is clear… beauty and wellbeing starts with clean water.

This glossary was made to inform you of the chemicals that could be found in your water. Information can change or conflict regarding the health effects of chemicals, especially as new research, investigation, and public health goals are redefined. Different governmental bodies may have different public health goals than others. Regardless of regulation, some of these chemicals may find their way into your water, and sometimes at levels above health guidelines.

Health guidelines in this glossary are defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, California public health goals, or Environmental Working Group recommendations based on research. Health guidelines are made to protect the public against cancer and organ damage.

Not all the chemicals in this glossary are required to be tested for or reported. Contact your local water utility to find more information about your water or use our system to get a free water report.

All contaminants


A chemical solvent used in the production of rubbers, resins, waxes, plastic wrap, and carpet backing. Exposure can cause burning and discoloration of the skin and is classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen.



a chemical classified as a likely human carcinogen and has been found in groundwater sites throughout the United States. Amongst other potential health effects, it’s also important to note that this chemical can be found in cosmetics (such as shampoo and liquid soap), but the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels because
the chemical is only produced during the manufacturing process.

2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid)


an abundant metal added to tap water during treatment to kill microorganisms but can also make its way into your water from other sources due to it’s common use. Too much aluminum can be neurotoxic, especially to children, and is linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Keep in mind, aluminum is present in products, such as tap water, cosmetics, cookware, vaccines, and many more. Aluminum levels above health guidelines were found in 14 U.S. states from 2015-2017.  


an herbicide commonly found in drinking water that comes from agricultural runoff and is found in 88% of drinking water tested by the USDA. Exposure is linked to hormonal and reproductive problems, and cancer. Keep in mind, the highest levels of atrazine contamination are in the Midwest, and spike during spring and early summer as rains flush the freshly applied herbicide into local water supplies.


among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States, it is known to cause cancer. It can make it into your water  from landfills, petroleum processing, and industrial waste. Between 2015-2017, barium levels above health guidelines were found in 51 water utilities throughout 18 states.


Chromium-6 (hexavalent)


an insecticide and rodenticide that’s been banned in the U.S. due to its toxicity to humans and wildlife. Exposure to high levels may cause harm to the central nervous system, immune system, reproductive system, and cancer.


a widely used weedkiller commonly marketed as Roundup. There’s some debate to whether or not it is harmful to humans and is considered by the FDA not a risk “when used in accordance with its current label.” Regardless, it’s recognized as cancer-causing by the state of California, and is considered probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.


an insecticide phased out of agriculture use in the U.S. since 2002; however, it is still used as an option to treat lice or scabies. Keep in mind, the FDA recognizes lindane can cause serious side effects even when used as directed and is considered a possible human carcinogen by the EPA. Lindane can be found in tap water, and was found in 8 U.S. states between 2015 and 2017.

Monochloroacetic acid

a chemical byproduct placed into a group called haloacetic acids (HAA5), formed during water disinfection. High levels of exposure may increase your risk of cancer and may cause problems during pregnancy. Between
2015-2017, levels were found in over 8,600 U.S. water utilities throughout 45 U.S. states.

Monochlorobenzene (chlorobenzene)

a chemical used in the production of pesticides and other chemicals. It can affect you when inhaled or by passing through the skin. It is toxic to humans, and exposure at high levels may harm the lungs, liver, kidneys, and
nervous system.

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)


a restricted insecticide used on a wide range of crops, one of its forms is now banned in the U.S. It’s considered neurotoxic, and high levels of exposure may harm the brain, central nervous system, and fetal development.


a chemical used in insecticides and deodorant blocks made for trash cans and toilets. Not only has the EPA classified it as a possible human carcinogen, but is designated as a high priority chemical and is currently undergoing risk evaluation. It’s been found in 182 water utilities among 26 U.S. states from 2015-2017.

Perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS)

a chemical belonging to a group called polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFBS is
used for industrial processes and consumer protects like carpeting, carpet cleaners, and floor wax. It has been found in tap water, and may harm reproductive organs and tissues, developing fetus, kidneys, and the thyroid particularly.

Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

a group of 4 chemical byproducts that form after water is disinfected with chlorine. Studies show that showering with hot tap water result in greater THM absorption than simply drinking the water. Exposure to high levels of TTHMs increase your risk for cancer and may cause other health


an insecticide that accumulates in the environment and the body easily. It’s classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA, and high levels of exposure may also harm the liver, kidneys, brain, and nervous system.

Tribromoacetic acid


a chemical previously used as a refrigerant and in manufacturing, that’s now banned due to its ozone-depleting properties. Exposure to high levels may damage the heart, nervous system, and


a chemical previously used as a refrigerant and in manufacturing, that’s now banned due to its ozone-depleting properties. Exposure to high levels may damage the heart, nervous system, and liver.


a radioactive element that can contaminate groundwater from nuclear reactor and weapon production plant emissions. Exposure to tritium increases your risk of cancer.


a heavy metal and known human carcinogen. Exposure increases your risk of cancer
and may damage the kidneys. Between 2012 and 2017, over 6,600 water utilities in 45 U.S. states were found to have
uranium levels above health guidelines.

Vinyl chloride

a chemical used in the production of plastics. It can contaminate water from plastic manufacturing discharge. Exposure to high levels increase your risk of cancer and may damage the liver and nervous system. Between 2015 and 2017, levels above health guidelines were found in water utilities serving 1.1 million Americans throughout 27 U.S. states.