Disinfection byproducts: The unhealthy side of pool treatment

Chloramine-3D-vdWMy last two blogs explained how Clear Comfort’s Advanced Oxidation Process is a safe and effective pool sanitization method.  Now I discuss one health issue that makes this new technology so important.

When chlorine reacts with organic and inorganic matter in a pool, this reaction forms disinfection byproducts (DBPs). While chlorine is the most commonly used chemical for pool treatment in the United States today, continuous exposure to DBPs causes asthma, allergies, dry, itchy skin, and red, irritated eyes. Studies have found some DBPs are carcinogenic and are linked to more serious health problems.

DBPs produce the heavy chlorine smell in some pools, and they don’t mean the pool is cleaner. Rather, the intense odor means chlorine reacted with more contaminants to produce more disinfection byproducts.  Many studies show that exposure to DBPs increase risk of allergies and respiratory problems for elite swimmers and children.

Elite swimmers, synchronized swimmers, water-polo players, swimming instructors, coaches and other swimming pool personnel who are continuously exposed to chlorinated pools have greater risk for serious health consequences.  One DBP, trichloramine, is found in the air in indoor swimming pools and is thought to increase the incidence in asthma in competitive swimmers.

As an elite swimmer myself, I battled “exercise-induced asthma” that disappeared when I switched training locations to an outdoor facility.  Olympic synchronized swimmer Catherine Garceau also struggled with chlorine-related health issues from spending years in the pool.

Though chlorine has been the main pool treatment method for many years, we now know how harmful DBPs are to our health. Even salt water pools (called chlorine generators because they produce chlorine) have harmful DBPs.

Clear Comfort’s AOP Technology provides a healthier approach to pool sanitation without DBPs.

Learn more.


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Claire McDaniel

Claire is a swimming and nutrition expert who loves to educate and motivate others to healthier living. She swam competitively for 18 years, is a five time All-American, a Division I National Champion, was co-captain of Team USA at the 2007 World University Games and was named a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She also has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. After swimming, Claire started coaching and has coached all over the US and even in Switzerland! Her experience and expertise about both swimming and health fuel her passion for Clear Comfort’s mission – to make swimming a 100 percent healthy activity for swimmers, coaches, lifeguards and pool staff.