When summer approaches, people always get right to going to the pool. Almost everyone enjoys the splash of cool water and the water activities that you can do. While swimming is one of the top past times during the summer heat, there are certain precautions that you need to remember especially when swimming in chlorinated pools. It appears that using chlorine pools can also have some downsides.
Chlorine is an essential disinfectant for pools especially that there are millions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that are present in the water. Putting disinfectant can help reduce the number of microorganisms that can be a source of various infections such as water-borne diarrhea and skin infections. However, chlorine in the pool can also lead to various health risks.
Chlorine can produce various by products in the pool when exposed to other materials such as organic compounds. These by products include:
Chloroform and trihalomethane were found to be carcinogens, substances that may lead to various forms of cancer. Chloramines, when inhaled, may also cause lung irritation especially in children. This can increase the risk for developing asthma in adults and children and may also cause other lung diseases such as bronchitis.
The typical “chlorine smell” in pools indicate that the stronger the smell, the more chlorine was placed and the more harmful the effects become. Several occupational-related studies have shown that workers in places that use chlorine pools have higher risks for developing asthma-like symptoms due to the exposure to the chemical.
The harmful effects of chlorine pools are more evident in indoor pools where limited ventilation can allow the toxic gases and chemicals to be emitted more and stay within the vicinity of the pool.
Aside from the byproducts that may lead to possible malignancy and lung disease, chlorine pools can also produce other harmful effects such as:
- Eye pain and irritation
Have you ever used a chlorinated pool and developed irritated, itchy and painful eyes after swimming? When the chloramines get into the eyes, they can cause direct eye irritation.
- Sore throat
The chemical byproducts can also lead to sore throat especially when frequent ingestion of pool water happens.
- Skin irritation
Chlorine is naturally a corrosive chemical. It can irritate the skin and can even damage the hair and makes it dry.
Chlorine in pools can lead to various ailments, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do something to prevent these from happening. The following are some of the measures to limit the harmful effects of chlorine in pools:
- Use two and four parts million chlorine to keep the level low.
- Ensure that the water’s pH is between 7.2 and 7.8 to protect the skin and mucous membranes.
- Swim in outdoor pools and limit use of indoor pools.
- Stay away from pools with a very strong chlorine smell.
- Use goggles when swimming to prevent eye irritation.
- Avoid accidental ingestion of pool water.
- Discover some other alternatives to chlorine when disinfecting your own pool.
Also, try to swim at natural water resources such as the beach and natural springs to stay away from chlorine.