Hard water in London and South East England causes eczema in babies

According to the Evening Standard, hard water in London is the primary reason for babies and young children developing eczema.

As a young mother in London, I had faced it myself: endless visits to the GP, private dermatologists, trying different creams, prescription medications – until I realised that the water was the problem. My son who was born in Kensington, central London, had been taken to all doctors possible to treat his eczema.

Until we changed the water.

I just had the choice: either to stop bathing my child – OR to change the water! Installing the water softener changed it all.

Evening Standard reported on 23.05.16: “Babies in London may be developing eczema because of the capital’s hard water, research has suggested. About a fifth of children suffer from the chronic skin inflammation but rates are higher in areas with greater concentrations of hard water.”

A research conducted by King’s College London identified that living in a hard water area was associated with an up to 87% increased risk of babies developing eczema in the first three months of their lives. Eczema, usually developed before the age of two – is often followed by food allergies and asthma.

It is well known that London, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire – are the areas with most hard water in the country. Hard water not only causes eczema and serious dry skin conditions, it also clogs your water pipes, resulting in higher water and heating bills; it causes limescale on your domestic appliances and on kitchen and bathroom surfaces. When you boil your water – you can see salt deposits inside your kettle. When you wash your clothes in hard water – they lose colour and feel rough after a couple of washes.

Hard water contains calcium carbonate, high levels of which contribute to the breakdown of the skin barrier. The Kings College London research involved 1300 babies from across the UK and concludes on the link between exposure to hard water and developing eczema in early childhood. It is not exactly clear if it is the calcium carbonate only, or also other such as the water pH levels – are responsible for this reaction. Further research will show. 

Dr Carsten Flohr, lead author from  St John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s College and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust, said: “London, and some areas of the South-East, has the hardest water in the UK.  A lot of parents say that the eczema started or got worse when  they moved from a soft water area to London.

The study is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology." 

Julia Edwards, Friendly Water

Further information: http://friendlywater.co.uk/how-hard-is-my-water