Swimming can be a fun and healthy activity, for children and adults alike, especially in the summer heat. Unfortunately, with that fun there are dangers lurking that most people don’t think about.
Chlorine, like household chemicals has many risks, if not used and stored properly.
Chlorine is used to keep swimming pools clean, and free from bacteria, alga and other harmful substances, so the water is safe for swimming. “Chlorine breaks down oils, lotions and skin flakes, more commonly known as “bather waste”.” (LovetoKnow.com)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 4,535 people per year have gone to the emergency room for exposure to chlorine, in the last decade. More than half of those injuries are taking place at home pools, and more than a third of the injured are children and teens. (CDC.com)
The most common injury is poisoning, by breathing in the fumes. Other injuries occur when chlorine is not secured out of the reach of children, and “when people enter a pool too soon after chemicals have been added.” (TheWashingtonPost.com)
The dangers of chlorine:
- Can be a skin irritant, causing skin rashes like eczema, and aggravating conditions like acne, psoriasis and seborrhea. If you notice your skin becoming irritated by a chlorinated pool, doctors suggest supplementing your diet with essential fatty acids.
- Can cause itchy, burning eyes.
- Can aggravate or trigger bronchial problems, such as asthma.
- There is a possible association between exposure to chlorine and some types of cancer (bladder and breast cancer, and malignant melanoma).
- Can be linked to bowel difficulties.
The reported dangers of chlorine use in swimming pools is scary, but there are some things you can do to keep safe.
Safety tips for pool owners and operators:
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for safe usage and storage. Chlorine is poisonous, flammable and corrosive. When “used improperly, chlorine poses serious risks of illness, injury, fire and explosion.” (LovetoKnow.com)
- Wear safety equipment, like gloves, respirators, and goggles.
- Keep pool chemicals out of the reach of children, teens and animals.
- Do not mix chlorine with any other chemicals.
- Do not mix different forms of chlorine together.
- Do not remove chlorine from its original container.
- Keep poison control phone number handy.
- Maintain proper water pH levels.
- Do not over chlorinate your pool.
- Research chemical-free alternatives.
Safety tips for swimmers:
- If possible, limit your time in the water.
- Keep the chemicals in the pool healthy by showering for at least 1 minute before getting into the water. This will remove dirt, oils, sweat and chemicals from your body.
- Never use the pool as a toilet. This causes an unhealthy reaction with the chlorine.
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