PDA

View Full Version : Impact of chlorine?



freestyle
January 6th, 2008, 07:22 PM
Help! I am slowly losing all my body hair; arms, underarms, eyebrows, etc. I have been swimming 4X3500 per week for several years. This seems to happen when I have big months - I did 60+ miles in December. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this, and what other effects can I expect?

geochuck
January 6th, 2008, 08:23 PM
Are you sure it is the chlorine and not the friction from your clothing or swim ware rubing the hair off??

Blackbeard's Peg
January 6th, 2008, 09:46 PM
losing your body hair? not really sure how this is a problem...

are you losing hair everywhere - head too?
if it is falling out in clumps, you probably have bigger problems than chlorine.

George probably has the right idea with the friction

ensignada
January 6th, 2008, 09:53 PM
I remember this being discussed before.

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=447&highlight=body+hair

freestyle
January 6th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Thanks Ensignada. This is clearly not a friction problem... I am losing (OK, have already lost) the hair on my head - this related more to arms, legs, etc. Here is an excerpt from the thread you sent me.

"I think Phil was referring to the pH being too alkaline (high) rather than alkalinity. If your pool is chlorinated with liquid chlorine (which raises pH) then the management needs to add muriatic acid (which lowers pH). A high pH will cause the hair loss and cottonmouth/chaulky teeth."

Thanks. I will talk to the pool maintenance guys and see if I can get my eyebrows back.

matysekj
January 6th, 2008, 10:52 PM
One year this happened to my whole high school team. We all started losing a bit of hair and more noticably the body hair. What wasn't falling out was turning a nice grayish tint and was a terrible texture and hard to comb/brush. One guy on the team shaved his head because he could no longer comb his hair. One of the parents called the health department, questioning the safety of the pool chemicals. They came out and tested it. All we ever heard from the coach was that the test came out okay, but magically our hair stopped falling out and turned back to it's natural chlorine-bleached colors after that. You may want to have your pool tested.

CreamPuff
January 7th, 2008, 10:51 AM
Interesting topic that I revisited myself as of late.

I agree in that the pool chemicals could be out of the normal range.
Or, there may be another factor causing your hair loss.
I swim 6x a week and don't notice hair loss.

Although I don't take any RX or OTC meds, I do have a daily vitamin routine. My herbalist was horrified that I swim in a chlorinated pool and felt that my swimming in a pool regularly would cause "excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging, increases vulnerability to genetic mutation and cancer development, hinders cholesterol metabolism, and promotes hardening of arteries. . . " and more which I care not to repeat here. Two of my eye doctors also do not like my swimming in pools as they feel the exposure to germs and chemicals promote or increase eye infections and irritation (even if one uses goggles.)

I said I cannot live without my swimming so I am going to continue with it. I find myself running into more doctors and heath professionals who feel that my continual exposure to chlorine is really going to compromise my health long term. Arg. :doh:

The Fortress
January 7th, 2008, 01:54 PM
Interesting topic that I revisited myself as of late.

I agree in that the pool chemicals could be out of the normal range.
Or, there may be another factor causing your hair loss.
I swim 6x a week and don't notice hair loss.

Although I don't take any RX or OTC meds, I do have a daily vitamin routine. My herbalist was horrified that I swim in a chlorinated pool and felt that my swimming in a pool regularly would cause "excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging, increases vulnerability to genetic mutation and cancer development, hinders cholesterol metabolism, and promotes hardening of arteries. . . " and more which I care not to repeat here. Two of my eye doctors also do not like my swimming in pools as they feel the exposure to germs and chemicals promote or increase eye infections and irritation (even if one uses goggles.)

I said I cannot live without my swimming so I am going to continue with it. I find myself running into more doctors and heath professionals who feel that my continual exposure to chlorine is really going to compromise my health long term. Arg. :doh:

No kidding. The side effects of chlorine and insidious and evil. It doesn't agree with my eyes, nose or skin. My opthamologist and ENT doc would love it if I quit. But I won't.

quicksilver
January 7th, 2008, 05:51 PM
Back in the 70's most of us on the AAU team had this very cool (weird) looking white~blond hair.
The kind that blinded people in the sun form the sheen. Like tinsel.

Needless to say...the chemical contents in the water were probably very unhealthy.
When the chlorine got low...the "janitor" casually took a bucket filled with charcoal sized tablets of chlorine...tossed them into the middle of the pool...and said it was fine to go in.

I recall it taking hours for the halos to stop shining around outdoor lights.
And the coughing...it sounded like a herd of sea lions between sets.

These days it's pretty common to see more than 3 or 4 kids kids using inhalers on deck.
Either we were exceptionally tough...or the next generations are becoming softer.


But back to the question...Showering before each workout does help your skin and hair soak up tap water...which prevents chlorine from becoming embedded into your pores and follicles.

hofffam
January 7th, 2008, 06:24 PM
Interesting topic that I revisited myself as of late.

I agree in that the pool chemicals could be out of the normal range.
Or, there may be another factor causing your hair loss.
I swim 6x a week and don't notice hair loss.

Although I don't take any RX or OTC meds, I do have a daily vitamin routine. My herbalist was horrified that I swim in a chlorinated pool and felt that my swimming in a pool regularly would cause "excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging, increases vulnerability to genetic mutation and cancer development, hinders cholesterol metabolism, and promotes hardening of arteries. . . " and more which I care not to repeat here. Two of my eye doctors also do not like my swimming in pools as they feel the exposure to germs and chemicals promote or increase eye infections and irritation (even if one uses goggles.)

I said I cannot live without my swimming so I am going to continue with it. I find myself running into more doctors and heath professionals who feel that my continual exposure to chlorine is really going to compromise my health long term. Arg. :doh:

I gotta say I'm skeptical on all of this including the effect of chlorine on hair loss. I'm also a 4X3500 type of swimmer with no hair loss.

If it accelerates aging wouldn't regular swimmers die earlier? Why do we see so many healthy 70+ year old Masters swimmers?

Hinders cholesterol metabolism when we know vigorous exercise is a proven way to increase the "good" choleterol?

Increases vulnerability to genetic mutation? Puhleeeeezzzzze...... Should lifetime swimmers be susceptible to strange growths on our bodies?

I'm curious too - how many eye doctors do you have? Your post makes it sound like you have more than two.

shaunx
January 8th, 2008, 01:41 AM
The main problem is Hair loss right..? so u can wear swim mask and practice..get a quality one and make sure that water wont get into that....to avoid the impact get off from the public pool..the mixture of the chlorine is not practical in public pools...if u have any membership in hotel pools that will be fine..they keeps on changing water day by day..for me i have membership in one 3star hotel...

CreamPuff
January 8th, 2008, 09:11 AM
I gotta say I'm skeptical on all of this including the effect of chlorine on hair loss. I'm also a 4X3500 type of swimmer with no hair loss.

If it accelerates aging wouldn't regular swimmers die earlier? Why do we see so many healthy 70+ year old Masters swimmers?

Hinders cholesterol metabolism when we know vigorous exercise is a proven way to increase the "good" choleterol?

Increases vulnerability to genetic mutation? Puhleeeeezzzzze...... Should lifetime swimmers be susceptible to strange growths on our bodies?

I'm curious too - how many eye doctors do you have? Your post makes it sound like you have more than two.


No need to preach to the choir. But if I sprout an extra appendage or a third eye, I'm outa here.

However, I think these physicians from Emory were referring to genetic mutation at the cellular level. They *say* chlorine reacts with organic compounds in water to produce THM trihalomethanes or carcinogenic byproducts leading to increased risk of certain types of cancer and miscarriage.

A SMALL excerpt from some of the literature I was given. . .

Taking a warm shower or lounging in a hot tub filled with chlorinated water, one inhales chloroform (a carcinogen). Warm water opens the pores, causing the skin to act like a sponge, and so one will absorb and inhale more chlorine in a 10-minute shower than by drinking eight glasses of the same water. This irritates the eyes, the sinuses, throat, skin and lungs, makes the hair and scalp dry, worsening dandruff. It can weaken immunity (I think some of the eye docs and ENTs are coming across this info as they are spouting it back to their patients - like me).

Industrial chemist J.P. Bercz, PhD, showed in 1992 that chlorinated water alters and destroys unsaturated essential fatty acids (EFAs), the building blocks of people's brains and central nervous systems. The compound hypochlorite, created when chlorine mixes with water, generates excess free radicals; these oxidize EFAs, turning them rancid.

Studies in Belgium have related development of deadly malignant melanoma to consumption of chlorinated water. Franz H. Rampen, et al., of the Netherlands, state that the worldwide pollution of rivers and oceans and the chlorination of swimming pool water have led to an increase in melanoma.
Sodium hypochlorite, used in chlorination of water for swimming pools, is mutagenic in the Ames test and other mutagenicity tests.

Recent research has found a new hazard in chlorinated water: a byproduct called MX. A research team from the National Public Health Institute in Finland discovered that, by causing genetic mutations, MX initiates cancer in laboratory animals. And DCA (dichloro acedic acid) in chlorinated water alters cholesterol metabolism, changing HDL ("good") to LDL ("bad") cholesterol--and causes liver cancer in laboratory animals.

Anyhoo, perhaps there is an MD or PhD on this board who is knowledgeable in this area of chlorine and it's effects. I'd like to know if I should worry about all this. I figure swimming still has to be better for you than :drink::drink: What's not going to kill us these days. . . Bottom line, there are still plenty of Emory docs who stick their kids in swimming.



I'm curious too - how many eye doctors do you have? Your post makes it sound like you have more than two.

Saw 5 (including 2 lacrimal, 1 retinal specialist, 1 general opth, and 1 ENT) over the past year due to my having eye surgery. :toohurt: Only the ENT was PRO-swimming.

carol58
January 8th, 2008, 09:22 AM
There is an auto-immune disorder called Alopecia areata. The body's white blood cells are triggered for some un-known reason to attack the hair follicles. It can be mild where you lose hair in patches usually on the head or severe where you lose all body hair. It has nothing to do with chlorine or age. No one knows exactly what causes it and there is no cure. I know because I have had it for 18 months have no hair at all. I am active, take vitamins, eat well, swim and work out at a gym but still lost all my hair over a year. If you are concerned you need to see a Dr or a dermatologist to find out if this is what you have.
The benifits of swimming for fitness far outweigh the risk of some possible skin irritations caused by chlorine. Our pool recently was changed to a salt water system and it has made no difference to my hairloss.

SwimStud
January 8th, 2008, 09:54 AM
No need to preach to the choir. But if I sprout an extra appendage...I'm outa here.


...though maybe your forum nickname will be more fitting...:bump:

CreamPuff
January 8th, 2008, 09:59 AM
...though maybe your forum nickname will be more fitting...:bump:

:rofl::rofl::rofl:
Gotta give you that one.

SwimStud
January 8th, 2008, 10:00 AM
:rofl::rofl::rofl:
Gotta give you that one.

Oh no you won't!! I don't care how cute you are!:lmao:

Cholorine does a number on my sinuses and eyes I flush and flush yet it tales all day to get right. It's a small price for me though. with all the stuff that's bad for us, I'll take the risks of swimming.

the skin cancer thing is no different to going out in the sun...get checked once a year so that way, you have a jump on anything. I go yearly and have had 4or 5 moles removed...to date nothing has come back on biopsy.

Chris Stevenson
January 8th, 2008, 11:25 AM
The toxicity of chlorination byproducts has been known for many years (it isn't really even that surprising -- after all, the whole purpose of disinfection is to kill organisms). Google "disinfection byproducts" or "DBPs" to get more than you need, or check Wikipedia under "chlorination." Web pages of organizations such as EPA or AWWA (American Water Works Association) will probably give you more technical info if you are interested. Dissolved chlorine will react with organic compounds to produce most of the DBPs, including trihalomethanes (THMs) such as chloroform. Treatment of sewage will produce the most DBPs since wastewater contains a much higher organic content; the issue is then the effect of these compounds on the receiving water body.

The poster who talked about exposure during showers is correct: most people will have maximum exposure during showering with chlorinated water. The higher temperature will drive volatiles like chloroform into the air, where we breathe them in. But swimmers have that extra source of exposure to chlorination DBPs.

Certainly disinfection (even with byproducts) is much preferable than the alternative: increased pathogens in drinking water, swimming pools, and rivers/lakes. The key is to find something that is both effective, affordable and reasonably safe. Alternative processes include ozone and uv treatment. I believe ozonation is pretty common in Europe for drinking water treatment. These processes also produce DBPs but they are generally believed to be less harmful than those produced by chlorination.

I am fortunate to swim at a facility that uses uv for one pool and ozone for the other. The reason they switched was the air quality produced by chlorination was just terrible -- poor ventilation, I guess -- and the kids were suffering pretty badly, especially those with asthma. Switching to uv/ozone cleared the problem right up. And the decrease is air quality is very apparent when they add large volumes of (chlorinated) city water to the pool.

hofffam
January 8th, 2008, 03:49 PM
If genetic mutation occurs - I'd like to have bigger feet and hands. :D


I have read/heard about the shower issue. I appreciate the science that has apparently proved this to be real. I found a study at the Journal of Epedemiology describing bladder cancer risks due to ingestion/exposure to chlorinated water. Unfortunately the full report is not available for free.

It seems to me there are thousands of lifetime swimmers out there (here?) that could be surveyed. I'd just like to see data on actual impact, not just predicted.

My home water supply is well - so no chlorine at my house.

irishpolarbear
January 8th, 2008, 04:02 PM
Taking a warm shower or lounging in a hot tub filled with chlorinated water, one inhales chloroform (a carcinogen). This is why I outfitted my bathroom with a SCUBA tank, so I donít have to breath chloroform gas. That and other gasses generated in the bathroom.


My herbalist was horrified that I swim in a chlorinated pool and felt that my swimming in a pool regularly would cause "excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging, increases vulnerability to genetic mutation and cancer development, hinders cholesterol metabolism, and promotes hardening of arteries. My herbalist said the same thing, which is why I replaced the sand in my filter with Green Tea and I now fill my chlorinator with Ginkgo.

Surfergirl
January 8th, 2008, 05:21 PM
i suspect chlorine is why i used to get headaches swimming in the pool. i don't get them when i swim in the ocean.

LizGoldsmith
January 8th, 2008, 07:05 PM
Ah yes, this reinforces my decision NOT to sit in hot tubs.

I also use a chlorine blocking lotion (DermaSwim Pro) when I swim. It has vastly reduced the itching/rashes that I get from swimming and I no longer reek of chlorine for days.

Yes, I'm sure that immersing myself in chlorine is bad, but I feel worse when I don't swim.

eve
March 25th, 2008, 05:56 PM
after 48 years swimming in public baths in England/Ireland, found out now allergic to chlorine/chloride. Everytime I get itchy tops of inside legs and most recently neck, burnt/hurting under arms, really badly. Can only rest when this happens and apply lots of cream. Doctor suggests I put vaseline on me before swimming!!!! Any help out there? eve

eve
March 25th, 2008, 05:59 PM
Not just hot tubs - I was in a hot sulphur spring in France and I was affected. Didn't think chlorine would have been added to this!

eve
March 25th, 2008, 06:04 PM
I don't sit in hot tubs - I just want to swim. Will try and get that lotion in Ireland or the internt. thanks

geochuck
March 25th, 2008, 06:09 PM
Sorry for your problem but we cannot, to my knowledge be allergic to chlorine. How ever many do say they are allergic. It is probably chemical inbalance that cause the problem. Every time I get really deep into this there are more than likely other problems.

If allergic to chlorine it would not be feasible to drink water that is chlorinated. Not much of that kind of water around nearly all drinking water is chlorinated.

SwimRobin
March 25th, 2008, 06:22 PM
My son swims on a USA Swimming team. During Christmas break, the team took a couple of days off for the holidays, and the pool was closed during that time. When the team got back in the water, the chemicals were so out of balance that all of the kids had bad reactions - some kids had loss of hair, itching, rashes on their faces and bleeding where their suits rubbed. If I remember correctly, it was the PH level that was so high.