Fancy a chemical bath? How chlorinated swimming pools can trigger asthma, ruin teeth and turn hair green
“…‘I have been campaigning to change the way we keep our swimming pools clean for the past 25 years,’ says Dr Wright.
‘I regularly see people who suffer severe skin problems triggered by even the normal amounts of chlorine in swimming pools. Many of my patients can’t go swimming because the chlorinated pool water dries skin and irritates eczema so badly.’
SPLASH! SWIMMING FACTS
The world’s first swimming pool was at Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan.
Built in 2500 BC, it was lined with bricks covered in a tar-like sealant
‘There are other, gentler ways of disinfecting swimming pools – such as ozone filtration, which involves pumping oxygen, in the form of ozone gas, through the water and then filtering it.’
The problem, in fact, is not chlorine itself, but the chemical by-products – chloramines – that occur when chlorine combines with nitrogen in the dirt and detritus found in swimming pools, such as skin particles, sweat, urine, bacteria and body oils.
Dr Wright adds: ‘It’s these toxic by-products that give off that tell-tale “bleach” smell we associate with swimming pools and cause problems.’
The stronger the smell, the more unhealthy the pool is likely to be. Have a shower before swimming to remove any make up, dry skin flakes, hair products and body lotion. These residues can also react with the chlorine to create chloramine irritants.
An occasional swim is unlikely to do much harm, unless you are particularly sensitive to chlorine. But experts suggest anyone who swims once a week or more should be wary.
Sal: I love swimming as it’s great therapy for me, so I can’t stop swimming in these swimming pools. What I do to keep “safer” is wearing a swim cap, goggles, ear plugs, and take showers regularly afterwards.
How often do you swim in chlorinated swimming pools? Thoughts, suggestions, etc..?