Swimming pool chemicals linked to cancer, lung disease

Friday, October 15, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: swimming pools, chemicals, health news

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(NaturalNews) Frequent use of swimming pools, especially indoor ones, can lead to long-term health problems, say three new studies published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. According to the reports, chemical disinfection byproducts that form in pools -- and in the air surrounding them -- can potentially cause both lung damage, asthma and cancer.

In the first study, samples of blood, urine and exhaled air from otherwise healthy individuals who swam in an indoor pool for 40 minutes revealed a significant increase in bio-markers of toxicity. Such toxicity occurs as a result of chlorine and other pool chemicals reacting with organic matter that is either introduced into the water through sweat and skin, or that is present in the water naturally.

Exposure to disinfection byproducts increased the four bio-markers of toxicity sevenfold, indicating they are a serious threat to health.

The second study found that a 40-minute swim in the pool can also cause short-term cell damage in the lungs. Perpetual cell damage from prolonged exposure can lead to serious respiratory illness.

The third study revealed that both chlorinated and brominated pools are loaded with dangerous disinfection byproducts. Samples of water from both sources revealed more than 100 toxic byproducts, many of which have never been identified in either swimming pool or drinking water.

Research continues to show that long-term exposure to the countless disinfection byproducts present in both swimming pool water increases users' risk of developing asthma and bladder cancer. Many are calling for sweeping changes to be made in the way water is disinfected in order to reduce the threat to human health.

Until then, concerned individuals can choose to swim in ultra-violet (UV) disinfected pools and spas. The UV treatment kills dangerous pathogens and pollutants without creating toxic byproducts. Minimal, if any, chemicals are required to keep UV-treated pools optimally purified.

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