Don't Piss in the Pool | The Jackal

2 Mar 2011

Don't Piss in the Pool

Audion Version.

Scientists consider chlorine one of the most toxic elements around. Exposure to chlorine vapour can create adverse health effects for allergy and asthma sufferers. Checking out your drinking water might be a good idea if you or a family member has asthma and/or allergies.  A Belgian study in 2009 concluded that chlorine, a common chemical added to water to help kill bacteria, could be making asthma in children worse. 

Fumes from chlorine in pools, and even in the shower, could trigger an attack for some people with asthma and allergies.  Those who suffer are often sensitive to gases that are produced when chlorine sanitizes bacteria in sweat or urine.  These gases can build up in an enclosed shower, irritating the lungs of children and adults who have asthma and allergies.

Researchers carried out tests on 226 healthy children who swam regularly, in order to determine the levels of lung proteins in their blood. An increase in these proteins indicates that the cells lining the lungs have been damaged, which can lead to asthma. The researchers also measured the lung proteins in 16 children and 13 adults before and after exposure to an indoor chlorinated pool. As well as this, they studied relations between pool attendance and asthma prevalence in 1,881 children. The study found that those who attended pools regularly, whether they were swimming or not, were most likely to have high levels of lung proteins. However those who swam most often had protein levels similar to that of a regular smoker.

Synthetic chemicals are all around us: in the products we use, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. It's no wonder that many people have become sensitive to the chemicals around them. In fact, it's estimated that 15 percent of the population has become sensitised to common household and commercial products like chlorine, bleach, detergent, cosmetics, perfume, and paints.

Chemical sensitivity is defined as an adverse reaction to toxic chemicals in the air, food, and water. It can affect your breathing, digestion, and heartbeat, as well as cause headaches, arthritis, and urinary tract infections. Judgment, perception, and memory may also be impaired. Other symptoms include bloating and gas after eating, irritability, extreme fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and recurring throat infections. Almost 30 percent of those diagnosed with chemical sensitivity are exposed to chemicals at their jobs. Special testing is available to diagnose chemical sensitivity, and treatment will depend on the type of chemical involved. The best treatment is to avoid or eliminate the harmful chemicals.

Clean water is one of the most important requirements for a healthy body. It is a sad fact that something as essential to life as clean drinking water can no longer be granted to us. Unsafe water is not just a third world problem, with many areas of New Zealand falling under safety standards. National has failed to properly regulate this sector removing many of Labours initiatives to clean up our water.

More than 700 organic chemicals have been identified in drinking water, and some of them are suspected to be cancer-causing agents. There are 35,000 pesticides containing 600 chemical compounds. Yet water management is required to only test for a small amount of poisonous substances. Many of these chemicals are known to cause birth defects, nerve damage, sterility and cancer.

Chlorine, the chemical used to keep swimming pools clean, increases a child's risk of developing asthma. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world.

It appears that when chlorine reacts with organic matter such as sweat or urine a mixture of harmful chemicals result, which are then inhaled.  Based on these findings, the Belgian researchers concluded that 'the increasing exposure of children to chlorination products in indoor pools might be an important cause of the rising incidence of childhood asthma and allergic diseases in industrialised countries'.

The finding offers an unexpected explanation for why asthma rates have risen so sharply over the past few decades in industrialized countries.