(NaturalNews) Recently published research conducted at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium has shown that exposure to toxins during childhood can have a profound effect on hormone levels later in life. Alfred Bernard and his colleagues recently published a study in the International Journal of Andrology showing that boys, who spent a significant portion of time in indoor chlorinated swimming pools during childhood, had decreased reproductive hormone levels at adolescence.
Bernard measured the hormone levels of 361 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 years, who had previously visited swimming pools disinfected with either chlorine or copper-silver ionization. They discovered that boys, who had spent more than 250 hours before the age of ten or 125 hours before the age of seven in indoor chlorinated swimming pools, were three times more likely to have unusually low levels of total testosterone or inhibin B. Inhibin B is a hormone that inhibits the production of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), and low levels of this hormone have been associated with male infertility .
The interaction of chlorine and human material (sweat, skin cells, hair, dander and urine) in indoor chlorinated swimming pools causes the release of chlorination by-products or CBPs. It has been known for some time that these CBPs are a health hazard. Other published studies have shown that exposure to CBPs damages the testes and disrupts sperm formation. The scrotal skin is especially vulnerable to toxins due to its high permeability. Children are more vulnerable to hormone disruptions than adults, and childhood is a critical time when exposure to toxins such as CBPs can be especially damaging.
Bernard and colleagues measured the blood levels of various testicular hormones. It was found that adolescents, who had spent a longer amount of time as children in indoor chlorinated swimming pools, had lower levels of inhibin B and total testosterone than those who spent time in either outdoor chlorinated swimming pools or pools disinfected with an alternative method. Chlorination byproducts are found in greater concentrations in indoor swimming pools. It is thought that CBPs absorbed via the scrotal skin during childhood damage the testes.
Pool Disinfection Alternatives
Children and adults alike enjoy swimming for both health and recreational reasons. More and more studies have come out about the dangers of chlorine in indoor swimming pools. These dangers aren't limited to affecting male reproduction...lung permeability and cancer rates are also affected by exposure to chlorine byproducts. Finding safe alternatives is of the utmost importance. Copper-ionization is one aforementioned method of pool disinfection. This is a metal-ion method that has gained popularity in Europe.
Ozone is another method used to disinfect pools. This method uses a special system to convert oxygen in the air to ozone in pool water. Ozone dissolves impurities and clumps debris together so they can more easily be filtered out.
A third method is ultra-violet light, although this method by itself is not enough to completely disinfect a pool and reduced levels of chemicals may still be needed.
The most natural method of pool disinfection is to recreate a pond environment using beneficial bacteria, certain plants and sometimes even fish to provide natural filtration and cleansing. This method is gaining popularity in Europe, and pools created this way are referred to as Natural Aquatic Plant Pools.
As more research illuminating the dangers of chlorine exposure is conducted, the need for chlorine alternatives becomes apparent. Swimming is wonderful exercise and recreation, but more effort needs to be made to prevent toxin exposure.
About the author: Amelia Bentrup is the owner and editor of http://www.my-home-remedies.com a well-researched collection of natural home remedies. Discover natural cures for a variety of ailments and find specific information and safety guidelines for various herbs, vitamins, minerals and essential oils.