(NaturalHealth365) Most people expect to find chlorine in water when they take a dip in the local pool. But, what they don’t realize is that they are soaking themselves in water containing a number of harmful chemicals created by the reaction of chlorine with organic matter.
If you swim in a pool, you should be aware of what is really happening in the water and how to prevent it from causing health problems. For example, breathing problems are all too common for competitive swimmers due to their constant exposure to toxic air and water training environments.
Swimmers beware: How pool chemicals cause health problems
The water in a pool always has small amounts of dirt, leaves and other organic debris in it from the environment. When people get into the pool, sweat, urine, skin cells and other materials from the body are inevitably added to the water.
Then, chlorine reacts with these organic materials and produces chemicals called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Chloramines are a category of DBP and include trichloramines, which are especially hazardous to a person’s health.
These DBPs are known to cause a number of health issues, including:
• Allergic reactions
• Bladder cancer
• Respiratory illnesses
Understanding the health hazards linked to chemically treated pool water
Human skin inevitably absorbs the materials with which it comes into contact. While the skin will let in small amounts of pool water, it will also pull chemicals out of the water and deposit them into the bloodstream and tissues.
As mentioned earlier, breathing in the air directly over pool water is hazardous to human health. In fact, extending about a foot above the pool water is a zone filled with trichloramines. So, a person floating on an air mattress on top of the pool water is at risk of being exposed to harmful DBPs.
Keep in mind, breathing in trichloramines can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
Lowering the health risks associated with pool water
If a person owns a back yard pool, some of the ways that they can prevent these health hazards include:
- Minimize chemicals: Use the minimum amount of pool chemicals necessary to maintain the water.
- Clean the pool frequently: Keep any visible organic materials such as leaves and twigs out of the pool.
- Utraviolet effects: Add an ultraviolet unit, which reduces the production of some of the DBPs into the filtration system.
Of course, individuals can protect themselves from the harmful effects of pool water by reducing the amount of time they spend in the water. Sitting next to the pool instead of floating on an air mattress is also advisable.
The eyes and skin should be rinsed immediately after exposure to pool water. These steps can help with removing DBPs and preventing them from being absorbed excessively into the skin and bloodstream.
Important note: Children and seniors are at higher risk of developing health issues due to the reduced capacity of their immune systems. This is also true of anyone with a disease that involves compromised immune function. These groups should be particularly mindful of minimizing their time in the pool water or consider avoiding it completely.
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