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Chlorine Health and Hazards

Trihalomethanes (THM’S), are a byproduct of chlorine and are formed when chlorine reacts with hair and skin. If people using swimming pools and spas treated with chlorine shower prior and after entering the water, the development of THM’s are reduced.

The Imperial College London found that even low levels of THM’s found in tap water contribute to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital malformations. Of course, THM’s are much higher in pools than tap water.The uptake of all chemicals found in water can be as much as 141 times greater in a one hour swim verses a 10 minute shower. On the other hand, a hot shower opens the pores, which allow for an even greater permeability of chemicals through both the skin and via inhalation.

Regardless of the studies and concerns of the public, Ralph Riley of the National Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group maintains that, “The medical benefits of swimming far outweigh any problems caused by chemicals.”  Now that is an interesting comment, isn’t it?

Belinda Phipps, of the National Childbirth Trust highly recommends that the chlorine count in swimming pools be reduced. She states, “The burden of responsibility here lies with the appropriate regulatory bodies and not with pregnant women to restrict their habits and lifestyle because of preventable and unnecessary factors such as this.”