Dangers of Chlorine in
By Karen Myers
Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved
Swimming Pool safety may take on a new meaning for most
after reading this brief article regarding the dangers lurking
in USA pools. I'm referring to the dangers of chlorine,
a substance often used to treat pool waters in the USA.
Think about this a moment: chlorine provides the "C" in
deadly PCB, and it is the source of the "chloro" in
ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons. And chlorine is a key
ingredient in many of the world's nastiest poisons, including
Agent Orange and DDT.
And further quoted from the MetroActive website: "Dioxin, a
byproduct of the industrial use of chlorine, is considered by
many scientists to be the deadliest chemical ever made. It has
been linked to cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, reduced
sperm counts and learning disabilities. It finds its way into
the world when compounds which contain chlorine are burned or
In addition to water disinfectants and pharmaceuticals,
chlorine is a critical element to 25 percent of all medical
plastics, 70 percent of all disposable medical applications,
and 95 percent of crop protection chemicals; it also plays a
significant role in the production of soaps and detergents,
aluminum, and pulp and paper.
And of course, chlorine is also used in USA water treatment
...and in USA Pools...
Dangers of Chlorine in Pools
Chlorinated Water Dangers
HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., has this to say regarding
the health hazards of chlorinated water in USA pools and water
"As someone who spent a TON of time in chlorinated
water (and handling chlorine levels), there is NO
question that swimming in American pools is far worse than
showering...the chlorine levels are much worse in the pool.
That's haunted me for years.
"Even worse, however, would be a hot tub...they are
positively loaded with chlorine.
"I say 'American' pools, as in Europe they refuse to
use chlorine or bromine, preferring the more expensive
process of ozonation. My feeling is the US can't afford to
have that bit of news get out, as people will then start to
question their municipal (chlorinated) water supplies.
"So, yes there's scalp absorption (plus inhalation,
don't forget) in a shower. And never, ever, get in a hot
tub unless it's ozone treated (which you won't find in the
US, far as I know)."
A book titled "Coronaries/Cholesterol/Chlorine" by Dr.
Joseph Price, explains how chlorine intake contributes to
narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). And if you want
"More evidence of pool chlorine dangers," check out this
December 10/2004 article in Brussels Expatic
The dangers of chlorine are not new...
Laboratory tests with whole effluent samples demonstrated
that chlorinated wastewater effluents from municipal wastewater
treatment plants (MWTPs) in Nova Scotia and Ontario were
acutely lethal to fish and invertebrate species, particularly
in effluents where TRC levels exceeded 0.1 mg/L (OMOE, 1991b;
Rutherford, 1992). Caged rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
experienced 40% mortality 100 meters downstream from an MWTP
located on the Sheep River, Alberta. No mortality occurred when
fish were exposed to whole effluents that had not been
Regarding the dangers of chlorine in USA pools, Dr. Greene's
website has this to say:
"The layer of chlorine gases hovering just above the
water has the potential to damage the lungs and cause
asthma, if the levels are high enough. The chlorine that
stings the eyes can also 'sting' the sensitive tissue of
the lungs. At some pools the chlorine smell is oppressive.
The risks are highest in indoor pools, and the lower the
ceiling, the higher the risk.
"In looking at 1,881 children, the researchers found a
consistent direct correlation between the total cumulative
time a child had spent splashing in an indoor pool and the
risk that the child developed asthma. They also found that
blood levels of lung proteins rose immediately after
swimming; the protective membranes in the lungs had become
temporarily open passages.
"This doesn’t make me want to limit swimming – far from
it! -- but it does make me want to urge clean, fresh air.
This means better ventilation at swimming pools, and
exploring gentler methods to prevent infection such as
better swimmer hygiene, better water circulation, and
Without a doubt, disinfection of drinking water supplies
with chlorine has been a lifesaver for many people around the
world. But in high concentrations and/or under certain
conditions, it can also pose a danger to our health. Consider
Dr. Greene's advice when taking the kids to the pool on those
hot summer days ahead.
Expatic Magazine - More evidence of pool chlorine
MetroActive News and Issues - Common Killer
IPCS INCHEM - CHLORINE DIOXIDE
EurekAlert - Experts debate benefits, dangers of chlorine
in C&EN point-counterpoint
Health Canada - Chlorinated Wastewater Effluents -
DrGreene.com - The Two Faces of Swimming Pool