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Formerly Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company is now a part of Clear Comfort.
Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company is now a part of Clear Comfort.
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Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Why Pool (Combined) Chlorine is Harmful

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November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month – a time to promote good lung health and raise awareness for the second most common cancer in both men and women and the leading cause of cancer death.

There’s a common misconception that lung cancer only affects the elderly or smokers, but anyone is at risk. So, whether it directly ties to lung cancer or not, we should all be conscious of what we expose our lungs to – even when we swim.

How chlorinated swimming pools make chloramines

Have you ever wondered where that pool chemical smell at indoor pools comes from? Many people assume it’s the pool chlorine; however, you’re actually smelling the chloramines, which can potentially lead to lung damage. Also known as the combined chlorine, chloramines form when chlorine reacts with organic material – like sweat, skin oils or lotions – in the pool water.

These chloramines build up in the pool and produce a gas on the surface of the water, and then swimmers, coaches and lifeguards breath in this contaminated air. Indoor swimming pools are more likely to have chloramines build up because they have less fresh air circulation.

Why chloramines are harmful to lung health

Chloramines can have many effects on the pool environment and the people around it. Lifeguards and elite swimmers are more likely to experience the long-term health effects of chloramines exposure.

Chloramines in swimming pools can lead to harmful health effects and discomfort, such as:

  • Eye, skin and respiratory irritation
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Lifeguard Lung, which causes chronic coughing, chest tightness, headaches and shortness of breath


How pools can reduce chloramines

The best way to get reduce chloramines is to reduce chlorine in the pool. Pool treatment systems like Clear Comfort’s secondary sanitation can significantly lower the amount of chlorine needed to keep a swimming pool sanitized, which leads to a decrease of chloramines in the water and air. With Clear Comfort, even an indoor pool with poor air circulation can maintain air that’s safe for swimmers, coaches and lifeguards to breathe.

In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, you can spread awareness by telling avid swimmer in your life about the of the harmful effects that pool chloramines has on lungs – or – let your local community pool know about healthier sanitation options, like Clear Comfort.  

Want to hear from a former competitive swimmer? Read our blog on how chloramines affected Claire McDaniel lungs during her swimming career, here.

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