February 11th, 2002, 01:45 PM
Long term Health Effects
I am 47years old and have returned to swimming as a fitness choice. I get 3 workouts of 2500yds/week and feel great. I also have an inground pool that my family enjoys in the summer months. My question relates to the long term consequences of chlorine exposure. Do studies exist that show whether swimmers have an increased health risk to cancers? Has anyone looked at pool chlorine exposure as a health risk in any way? The pools I swim in all use chlorine as a sanitizer and I would hate to think my exercise regimen may be doing me more harm than good!
February 11th, 2002, 02:08 PM
I can't answer your specific questions (although will be interested in other responses); however, one tip I do have is to always shower right before you swim. I've read and heard this decreases the amount of chlorine your body and hair absorbs. Supposedly the dry body absorbs a large portion of the moisture at the initial time you get wet. I think someone also posted once that showering before jumping in the pool also decreases the amount of chlorine your bathing suit absorbs and hence can help your suits last longer.
February 11th, 2002, 03:04 PM
Gosh I hope not, becasue if they ever discover that chlorine causes serious health problems...I am in big, big trouble.
February 11th, 2002, 05:21 PM
Very Active Member
Chlorine-haters Unite !
This is a serious question and deserves some air time. As a retired coach and pool manager, I feel I have some good ideas. First, let me tell you about the chemical factory I swim in. This is a fairly new 25 yard - 8 lane pool in a High School. It has an Ozone System for sanitizing the water. Unfortunately, no-one seems to know how to run it and so the pool personnel (janitors) just continue to use Chlorine ! Incredible ! After I do my workout in the evening, I must not only shower like a surgeon readying for an operation, I must also completely cover myself with the lotion du jour or else suffer a night of scratching and listening to my wife say " you stink". Even with this, I worked out Thur. night and by the Sat. AM shower at home, Chlorine was still to be smelled coming from my pores. That ain't right, folks !
Now, I have read articles that suggest Chlorine may be hazardous to teeth and I darn sure know that it sets off my allergies bigtime. I take an anti-histamine before and after for this very reason. Don't tell me Chlorine is not an allergen ! By the way, goldfish will not survive in tap water that has 1/100th of the Chlorine in most pools.
In 1986 !!!, I swam in the Worlds at Tokyo, Japan. There was no chlorine in the pool and we could all swim without goggles.
Here's the problem : Many pools in the USA are run or serviced by boneheads who do not have to swim in the soup they create. The standard line is to just add chlorine and then try to cancel it out with Soda Ash. Most of us spend all of our aquatic time swimming in dilute Hydrochloric acid. Anyone else care to weigh in ???
February 11th, 2002, 09:37 PM
If you can smell the chlorine in the air then it isn't right mixture in the pool. I must have it good because at my pool you cannot smell the chlorine, I don't itch if I don't put on lotion, my hair is okay, and the ph isn't so bad that the eyes sting. One of the instructors went to pool school and does all the water chemicals. She doesn't want to be in it if it isn't right.
February 11th, 2002, 10:06 PM
how much is enough?
What's the name of the pool? The chief "chemist"?
I would like to at least give the information to my pool people. Fortunately, I like the smell of chlorine ... warm fuzzies about working out or something. But, it is a major smell and a major eye-stinger. At least I don't itch.
February 11th, 2002, 10:21 PM
Very Active Member
Long Term Health Effects of Swimming in Contaminated Water
If you think the long term health effects of swimming in chlorinated water is bad ...
Long term effects of swimming in untreated water is even worse!
What's better, swimming while exposed to swimming or not swimming?
Ozone pools are a great idea but I'm not convinced on how much of the ozone remains in the water. This in turn makes me wonder about the kill time of ozone treated pools.
February 11th, 2002, 10:23 PM
Very Active Member
swimming while exposed to chlorine I mean
February 12th, 2002, 08:55 AM
Thank you for your posts. I'm actually looking for prospective or retrospective epidemiological studies on swimmers at the recreational or competitive level. I recognize that there are large variations in the "soups" we swim in and I certainly hope that swimming in sanitized "soup" is better than no swimming at all. However, long term exposure to oxidants like chlorine is something I feel is worthy of study. I take antioxidants (Vit E) and shower with antioxidant soaps but there is at best anecdotal evidence to support this as helpful (or even necessary). Please keep posting!
February 12th, 2002, 12:17 PM
Showering beforehand might keep chlorine from geting in through the skin so much, but that benefit gets cancelled out fast when you drink a couple gallons from someone's butterfly kick ahead of you. I try not to think about it too much.
February 12th, 2002, 02:57 PM
This might be something of interest, IndyJR. After reading through this, I've decided to skip practice tonight.
February 12th, 2002, 03:35 PM
Sometimes the pool water makes my body hair disappear. I call this the 'dilute Nair effect' and makes shaving for big meets easier. It usually means the water is too alkaline. So what happens to the lungs when you breath that stuff? I know of several older swimmers that have developed excercise-induced asthma. I *don't* know the cause, but I wonder . . .
February 12th, 2002, 05:57 PM
Tens of millions of people have been drinking chlorinated water from their taps for generations. You can smell the chlorine. No one seems to have associated it with any illness
February 14th, 2002, 03:25 PM
Okay some thought from a pool person and swimmer.
The use of Ozone as a disenfectant in pools is only partially true (at least in Oregon) we have an ozone system (about the size used for a small waste water treatment plant yet our pool is a 25meter by 25 yard pool). We are required to keep a trace amount of disenfectant (chlorine in our case, but could be bromine or something else) the reason being is all of the ozone disenfecting is done in the backroom, the ozone is injected into the water lines and then filtered out later before the water returns back to the pool. When we fill our small toddler pool after a scrub down, the incoming tap water is cloudier then what our lap pool is - something to be said about our pool treated water versus our tap water.
How much disenfectant you use in a pool depends on what you are using and the pool pH. For chlorine the pH controls how volutile (for better words) it will be, you will actually have better disenfection with a pool that has .4ppm (parts per million)chlorine and a pH of 7.2 than a pool with 4.0ppm and a pH of 7.6. As for the smell, burning eyes things like that has to do with your combined chlorine or chlorimines - this is what happens after your chlorine does its job disenfecting, a high combined chlorine results in bad water (smell & burning eyes). Going back to Ozone, ozone actually destroys combined chlorine - so how good is this - we play water polo for 1-2 hours and do not have burning eyes or halo's around lights when we are done. Lastly as for pool chemist schools there are several organizations that teach pool chemistry the biggest two certifications tend to AFO (Aquatics Facility Operator) or CPO (Certified Pool OPerator).
This is probably more than you wanted to know about pool stuff, have fun swimming.
February 24th, 2002, 06:53 PM
Everything in life has a benefit/risk ratio.
There is no doubt that swimming in chlorinated water exposes one to choramines, which are potentially mutagenic/carcinogenic and which clearly increase the risk of asthma. It would be important for USA Swimming or someone else to fund a study (a "case control" type of study) to answer the question of whether or not the incidence of sarcomas or leukemia (cancers of childhood and adolescence) is increased in age group and senior swimmers. Owing to the rarity of these tumors in the general population of young people, this should be a "doable" study, requiring reasonable expenditures. At minimum, a central registry should be established, where cases can be recorded and archived, for use by a future researcher. Club swim coaches should be required to report cases of cancer in young swimmers to a central registry (protecting individual privacy, of course).
At the masters level, cancer is so common (and so is death) that it would be a much more difficult proposition to get data to answer the question of whether or not pool swimming has serious long term health risks.
The risks of pool swimming may not be completely known, but the benefits are pretty obvious. I take personal comfort in the fact that my 87 year old father (for the past 5 years a USMS All Star), has been a dedicated pool (and open water) swimmer since age 6 and has so obviously benefitted in so many ways that, to me, it makes the benefit/risk ratio obvious also - decisively in favor of a lifestyle which includes swimming often, swimming seriously, and remaining a competitor for life.
>>I am 47years old and have returned to swimming as a fitness choice. I
get 3 workouts of 2500yds/week and feel great. I also have an inground
pool that my family enjoys in the summer months. My question relates to
the long term consequences of chlorine exposure. Do studies exist that
show whether swimmers have an increased health risk to cancers? Has
anyone looked at pool chlorine exposure as a health risk in any way? The
pools I swim in all use chlorine as a sanitizer and I would hate to
think my exercise regimen may be doing me more harm than good!<<
February 25th, 2002, 02:14 PM
Very Active Member
Anyone with concerns over exposure to chlorine should visit
the website indicated by Zoomer in his Feb 12 post.
Most local YMCA's are always looking for ways to cut costs--
"defered maintenance" would seem to be a popular choice.
At our Y, the coach
noticed an increase in respiratory problems in the
kids. Found out the air-to-air heat exchanger (a heat saving
device that warms fresh outdoor air while exhausting pool
area air) had never been cleaned! It was "stuffed". It
made a big difference when it was cleaned.
Imagine some of the synergistic effects the could take place
when the chloramines mix with mold spores.
Now that I think about it, I have had bronchitis almost every
January for years (and am otherwise extremely healthy).
Oh, and my back itches like crazy every winter, too.
What the heck, I'm going swimming anyway.
Last edited by Fisch; February 25th, 2002 at 04:59 PM.
February 25th, 2002, 02:38 PM
My back itches too, all the time. My wife puts some moisturizer on it at night. That's nice - and it helps
February 25th, 2002, 03:28 PM
Very Active Member
There is a lot of baloney out there about this subject and some of it comes from people who supposedly know the chemistry but do not swim in the water they guard so zealously. Let's get real; chlorine is a poison. It doesn't take long for janitors and lifeguards to figure out that the water can be kept really clear and clean by just adding lots of it to the water. Then they attempt to "cancel it out" by adding a bunch of soda-ash which brings the pH up and looks good on a report. Soda-ash is poisonous too. The net result is flaming eye-balls and super-dry skin. When I swim in our pool, I suffer both. In some other pools, I don't. When I bring this to the attention of management, the attitude seems to be that it is somehow my fault !!! I would like to talk to a CPO who also trains in the pool they manage. Bert
February 25th, 2002, 04:58 PM
Well I hope you are planning to attend the T-Hills Pentathlon meet at Nike. I am not a CPO but an AFO (same difference really, but we also have a CPO on staff). The difference is I do swim in my water so you can bet it's going to be good. Unfortunately other places I have worked the water quality is poor but the upper management didn't want to spend the money to fix it, so it's not necessarily the pool tech - that's like blaming the teachers for not teaching up to date material because they have 20 year old text books. Hope to see you in a few weeks.
February 25th, 2002, 05:18 PM
Very Active Member
betchurlife I'll be there
I'm doing the 100's............ c ya Bert