Part II of What's in Your Water:
What's in Your Pool.
Alright, folks--if you're reading this you're on Part II of our water series all about the importance of clean water in regards to our health. This week, we're talking pools, which couldn't be more topical with this fantastic sunshine we've been seeing.
It's a relatively universal conclusion that chlorine exposure isn't great for your health. Yet, it's a relatively universal experience to either visit or own a pool with chlorine. Why is this? We're going to start from the basics of how chlorine effects our health, why people still use it, and what alternatives could be beneficial in the long run.
How chlorine effects our health
An article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled "Impact of chlorinated swimming pool attendance on respiratory health" concluded that chlorinated pool attendance seemed to be correlated with an increase in asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions. Furthermore, as stated by The Healthy Home Economist in its article "The dangers of chlorinated pools" there is also a link to certain types of cancers and even reproductive disorders.
So already chlorine isn't making a great name for itself. But unfortunately, this isn't where it ends; because even if we don't swim, we can still be impacted by the close proximity of chlorine pools, especially in an enclosed place. Have you ever walked into a hotel and immediately smelled that strong "pool" scent? Oddly enough, this scent isn't just from the chlorine. In fact, what you're smelling is a chemical known as chloramine. Chloramine is created by the combination of chlorine and...us. That's right, all the body waste products including sweat and urine that get into public pools combine to create this chemical that can impact us even when we're not even directly inside of the pool. This is why it's strongly suggested to, if you are going to swim in a chlorinated pool, shower before and after to avoid these chemicals. Pretty wild, right? To read more on this visit: cdc.gov.
Why people still use chlorine
The short and sweet answer is this: chlorine is cheap, and it's effective at its job. It's meant to do three things, according to houselogic.com : clean/remove germs and bacteria, control the debris from body oils and waste, and ensure no algae growth occurs. And for the most part, it's pretty good at this. However, the added health concerns are something to strongly consider.
What can you do to combat this
The most obvious answer to this would be to avoid chlorine pools and swim in natural bodies of water. However, this may not be an option for every
one and that's completely fine. We have a few suggestions depending on if this is a home pool or a public pool.
For public pools (for more info go to wellnessmama.com):
Try find one that's outdoor, as it is less likely to trap the chemicals in an enclosed location.
Shower or rinse off before and after.
Use goggles to avoid direct eye contact.
Spend some time in the open air afterwards
There's some evidence that suggests vitamin C can help neutralize chlorine exposure. Ingesting foods great in vitamin C could be an easy and effective option (oranges, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, and even Brussel sprouts).
For home pools:
Our recommendation for home pools is ultimately to switch the filtration systems in your pool to something more health conscious. There are many up-and-coming alternatives including a salt water based pool, a mineral purification system, bromine, and many more. Unfortunately the downfall is that some of these methods don't offer the same level of sanitation provided by chlorine; because of this, you may need a small amount of it or something comparable. Head over to Pool Supply World to do more research on the matter and choose what works best for you and your wellness journey!