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Why Are Swimming Pool Workers More Prone to Colds?

Swimming teachers, and others who spend time near chlorinated pools, face an increased risk of breathing problems.

Chlorine reacts with urine and sweat to create chemicals called chloramines that irritate the respiratory tract. A research team surveyed more than 600 swimming pool employees and measured levels of trichloramine, the most volatile type of chloramine, at 38 swimming pools.

Swimming instructors were more than twice as likely to suffer frequently from sinusitis or sore throat, and more than three times as likely to have chronic colds, than pool workers with less trichloramine exposure, such as catering employees or receptionists.

Compared to the general population, employees with high levels of exposure were at a 40 percent greater risk for tightness of the chest, and were over 700 percent more likely to suffer breathlessness while walking.

European Respiratory Journal, Vol. 29, No. 4, April 2007: 690-698

Yahoo News April 9, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Summer is around the corner for most of us, which means that soon many will be jumping in the pool regularly. 

I've warned you in the past about staying away from swimming pools due to the unsafe amount of chlorine found in most public water systems. Trichloramine levels can be as much as three times higher than normal at poolside.

In addition to the problems mentioned in the linked study, chloramines also leach lead and copper  into the water supply. Lead in water has been linked to kidney damage, miscarriages, nervous system damage, anemia, high blood pressure, brain damage and reproductive difficulties, as well as learning and behavioral problems in children. Long-term exposure to high levels of copper can cause liver damage, kidney damage, headaches, stomach problems and dizziness, among others.

Chloramines can also create byproducts, such as N-nitrosodimethylamine, which is a human carcinogen. Some research links chloramines to bladder cancer.

Please remember that your body absorbs more chlorine swimming in a public pool in one hour than drinking unfiltered tap water for a week.

This is one of the primary reasons why I typically avoid hotel or resort pools -- they are loaded with chlorine. Last year I purchased a home and inherited a swimming pool so finding a practical alternative became a recent practical challenge.

After carefully evaluating the options I elected to install an ozone generator as the way to keep the water clean. This radically reduced the amount of chlorine use and seems to have been working quite nicely for the few weeks that I have had the pool operating.

So if you have a pool that is something you might want to consider.

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