Moms everywhere are starting to question the safety of the chemicals our children encounter in the average American lifestyle. With June comes weekly trips to the pool, and one wonders if sweet little ones are marinating in a toxic soup. After all, when you can smell the chemicals, that’s usually a very bad sign!
Healthy Child Healthy World, one of my favorite organizations, published Chlorinated Pools and Your Child’s Health, by Janelle Sorensen last year. The article raises concerns about the safety of the air above the water, which in chlorinated pools will emit fumes that have been shown to trigger asthma, and the safety of the water itself, which will contain volatile compounds as a result of the chlorine coming into contact with hair, body products, sweat, saliva, or urine. These volatile compounds are carcinogens (links to studies are included).
Swimming is a wonderful, healthy past time. This is not to say that we should keep our kids out of pools, but we can make choices that will minimize these risks.
There are alternatives to chlorine. If you have your own pool, consider using a mineral sanitizer, ozonization or ultraviolet light to sanitize the pool without dangerous chemicals. Nature2 Express is a quick, affordable ($175) and eco-friendly sanitizer that uses the mineral elements of silver and copper, with a bit of chlorine, to keep your pool clean. Read more about alternatives in this article at the Green Upgrader.
If a chlorine-free pool is not available to you, be sure to swim in an outdoor pool, which will have exponentially cleaner air than an indoor pool. Favor pools that have “shower before swimming” rules and be sure to follow them. Even swimming in less popular pools or when few people are present does something to counteract the concerns. If your community has a pool, talk to the management about how often it is emptied (which clears out some of the volatile disinfection bi-products) and about experimenting with greener sanitizing options.