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 chloraminesHave 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 healthChloramines 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