5 Tips to Reduce Chlorine Exposure in Pools August 11 2014, 0 Comments

Swimming is the most popular summer activity for people of all ages. There’s nothing more refreshing than diving into some cool water on a hot, sweltering day. Unfortunately, there is one downside of swimming: chlorinated water. If you swim in a pool, it’s likely treated with chemicals like chlorine to kill bacteria. Chlorine is widely used in pool water treatment because it’s a cheap and effective disinfectant, but it has its drawbacks. Like any chemical, it's quite hazardous to your health.

Aside from eye and skin irritation, chlorine exposure has been linked to allergies, asthma, respiratory problems, digestive disturbances, hormone disruption, and even some types of cancer. According to one study published in the America Journal of Epidemiology, people who swam in chlorinated pools had a 57 percent greater risk of developing bladder cancer than those who didn't. Additionally, chlorine forms toxic byproducts when mixed with substances like sweat and urine - yes, urine. Believe it or not, urination in pools is pretty common. Researchers at Purdue University have found that more than 90 percent of uric acid in pools come from human urine.

If you plan on spending some time in a pool this summer, consider the following tips to help protect your body against chlorine’s harmful effects:

  1. Rinse off before getting in. 

Have you ever noticed the sign at public pools instructing people to rinse off before they swim? Hardly anyone actually takes this precaution seriously, but it exists for good reason. Not only does rinsing your body help remove organic matter like dead skin and sweat, but it also removes residue from consumer products like lotions, shampoos, and sunscreens which all contribute to the creation of toxic byproducts when they come into contact with chlorine. Rinsing off decreases the likelihood of harmful byproducts. 

  1. Swim outside. 

The major problem with indoor pools is poor air quality. Lack of fresh air over the pool's surface, combined with inadequate air circulation and ventilation cause chlorine gas and other irritants, like chloramines, to accumulate in the air. Breathing this air can increase eye and respiratory problems. So if given a choice your best bet is to stick to the great outdoors, where the air is much fresher. 

  1. Shower & Soothe. 

Your skin is covered by a film that serves as a barrier against pollutants. Swimming in chlorinated water can lead to dry, irritated skin because chlorine strips away at this film. Aside from wearing a wet suit, there's not much you can do to shield yourself while you're in the pool. But what you do afterwards can make a big difference. After you swim, take a shower in non-chlorinated water and wash thoroughly to help rinse off any chemicals. Then, apply a natural moisturizer (e.g. coconut oil) to soothe and restore your skin. 

  1. Add vitamin C. 

The chemical structure of ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) completely neutralizes chlorine and chloramines, so applying concentrated vitamin C to your skin will instantly counteract any damaging effects. There are some existing products on the market, but you could also make your own solution (dissolve 1 tsp. of vitamin C crystals in pure water and spray over your body). And don't forget about your diet; eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods may boost your immunity to give your body some extra protection.

  1. Drink purified water. 
Drinking enough water helps flush toxins out of your body by helping the kidneys and bowels maintain proper function. The general rule-of-thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day, but don't forget about water quality. The more unfiltered water you drink, the more toxins you're consuming. Make sure your drinking water is purified and filtered. 

    These are just a few tips anyone can incorporate. Our hope is to start a discussion on a topic that is important, but easy to forget when all you want to do is jump into that refreshing pool!

    So tell us… do you worry about chlorine exposure? What are your tips on avoiding it? We’d love to learn more, so feel free to share any tips that you’ve learned!


    Sources for continued research: