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 Chemicals In Pools and Spas
  Nobody would deliberately swim in a river that was polluted by a factory dumping chemical waste into it. Why is it that most people arenít concerned about swimming in chlorinated water? Perhaps they just assume that since chlorine is in drinking water there is no harm in swimming in pools or sitting in hot tubs that have chlorine added. What they might know is that as much as 70% of the chemicals in water enter the body through the skin vs. ingestion. You absorb more chlorine sitting in a pool or hot tub than by drinking tap water.  
  Health Effects  
  Swimming in chlorine dries out your skin, sinuses, hair and eyes, bleaches your clothes and hair, and makes your skin smell. It can also cause cancer. Studies have also shown that chlorine:  
  • Increases the risk of bladder cancer by 21%1
  • Increases the risk of rectal cancer by 38%
  • Increases the chance of stroke and heart disease
  Chlorine reacts with organic matter to form cancer-causing compounds called trihalomethanes (THM). Researches have found links between THM and birth defects such as spinal bifida3, miscarriage and spontaneous abortion4  
  Chlorine can trigger asthma and allergies. As far back as 1934, chlorinated water has been cited as a cause of asthma5.  
  Alternative Sanitizers  
  A lot of people have switched to using bromine instead of chlorine. Bromine is NOT a safer alternative. Bromine is in the same class of highly reactive, toxic chemicals as chlorine6.  
  You donít need chlorine or bromine to keep your pool or hot tub clean. Non-chlorine sanitizers include ozone and mineral treatment systems.  
  Mineral treatment systems work by putting copper and silver ions into the water. Silver kills bacteria. Copper prevents algae. Unlike chlorine, the minerals do not evaporate and are not oxidized by sunlight. They remain in the water to be used as needed. Mineral systems cost less than installing an ozone system which only works when the pump is running and may be corrosive to the plumbing.  
  Even if you donít have a non-chlorine treatment system, you can immediately reduce your use of chlorine by switching to a non-chlorine shock treatment. This is typically potassium permanganate. Most pool store stock it. It is also reported to be used in rural areas to remove iron and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) from well water as well.  
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Revised: July 05, 2017.

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