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    Do Chlorinated Pools Cause Cancer?

    Remember the good old days of blissful ignorance, when you could bite into a bratwurst without worrying about nitrates, shampoo your hair without checking the label for phthalates, and fearlessly flip pancakes without giving the nonstick pan the side-eye? Nowadays, being health-conscious ought to come with a warning label: Dilemmas Ahead.

    We know, we know: The more you learn, the more you realize how many scary things threaten our health in this day and age. To help you sort it all out (and sleep better at night), we're debuting a weekly column in which health experts will address your "should I worry?" health concerns.

    Q: I want to start doing laps at the local gym, but I'm uneasy about dipping myself in all that chlorine. Can it cause any long-term harm?

    A: For generations, people have been swimming in chlorinated pools. And who could blame us -- it's great for exercise and relaxation! Unfortunately, there has been some recent concern with long-term harm due to chlorinating by-product exposure, and these concerns might make you think twice about your new workout routine. For example, risk for certain types of cancer (rectal, colon and bladder) are now being correlated to the consumption of chlorinated drinking water. The initial research suggests the incidence of cancer is 44 percent higher among those using chlorinated water.

    Plus: 25 Eco-Chic Ideas for Your Home

    The problem with chlorine is accumulation, as there is a limit to what we can physically tolerate. And in our modern society there are several ways we come in contact with it -- swimming, drinking, bathing, cleaning, etc.

    Tips to Decrease Your Exposure
    So, if your local gym isn't interested in investing in a saltwater pool, my suggestion is to decrease your overall exposure as much as possible. A few things you can do:

    • After your swim or anytime you are exposed to chlorine, cleanse your body immediately, using organic or all-natural soaps and detergents, as these are healthier for your skin.
    • Consider a water purification system for your home. It will help to eliminate toxins before the water is used to cook, clean, and bathe. Individual water filters for sinks and baths are also an excellent way to ensure that you are protected against the harmful effects of chlorine exposure.
    • Always drink purified water. I personally use and recommend a Berkey water filter.

    Plus: 30 Easy Ways to Be More Green

    Dr. Holly Lucille, a.k.a. "Dr. Holly," is a nationally recognized health expert. She is a licensed naturopathic doctor and registered nurse, specializing in comprehensive health solutions using compassion and empowerment. Dr. Holly was nationally recognized on TIME's Alt List "Top 100 Most Influential People" in 2007.

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    22 comments

    • M T  •  2 hours 54 minutes ago
      While this is old news in ways, there are many who don't follow these tips and during the beginning of summer, for younger people and those who may not be concerned, a reminder and focus on these things could help prevent illnesses and is not something that I don't appreciate. There are lots of people who aren't concerned enough and those of us who know care that someone may make a difference for them so we have cleaner pools and keep well.
    • RA  •  Minneapolis, Minnesota  •  1 hour 13 minutes ago
      One blogger says our skin doesn't absorb chlorinated water. Just try putting Mustard Gas on your skin and see if his hypothesis is true.
    • AM76  •  3 hours ago
      your tap water contains chlorine..... how do you think drinking water get purified??? if the studies are true then we're all up sh&! creek....(pun intended)
      • Sam 40 minutes ago
        When they refer to purified water they are not talking about drinking pure tap water. Get a filter or water purification system. The tap water is just safer than lake water from having the chemicals in it.
      • Sam 39 minutes ago
        Everyone knows this btw.
    • Michael Z  •  Phoenix, Arizona  •  2 hours 6 minutes ago
      I was a swimmer growing up so I was in swimming pools all the time as an adolesent. Now as an adult, after having cleaned commercial swimming pools, I no longer use them. Everything from being exposed to the strong smell of chlorine and the irritation on the skin it causes when handling it, to cleaning out a filter tell me me that swimming pools aren't as clean and healthy as they appear. Give me a lake, river or ocean anyday over a swimming pool. I often find examples in society when Americans aesthetic sensibilities cause them to strip foods or environments of its natural healthy elements along with its perhaps less then pleasant appearance all for the sake of enhancing its appearance. One thing that might surprise many is that there are natural antibacterials in water (called algae....thats right, the the yucky green stuff) that essentially consume, contain and digest the bacteria in the water.
    • Mamalicious  •  Tampa, Florida  •  1 hour 4 minutes ago
      Don't let this "stuff" keep you up at night. The best offense to any enviromental toxin we may consume through our skin, lungs, etc. is to assist your liver (our own personal filtration system) in detoxifying. Chlorella is an amazing detoxifier! Along with a host of "other" green fighters. Drink plenty of filtered water and enjoy your summer! Life's too short!
    • Victoria  •  Los Angeles, California  •  40 minutes ago
      is there anything that doesn't give us cancer these days? I just try to eat as healthy as possible, use "organic" products as much as possible and just live my life. Maybe if we stopped putting harmful chemicals in everything we come into contact with there would be a lot less cancer victims...
    • Margaret  •  Fort Myers, Florida  •  3 hours ago
      we should stop worrying about chlorine in a pool. Swimming is still one of the best forms of excercise there is. I do not drink the pool water and I trust that most people do not actually 'pee" in the pool. We are exposed to so many chemicles and toxins from not only the foode we eat, but also the environment that we should not worry about being exposed to chlorine. I think it depends on the strengh. I know that we are not swimming in concentrated chlorine. Give me a break ... just another article to freak people out. I say swim and enjoy!! Just be careful where you swim. I live in Florida,and I swim in the Gulf. I have to worry about all of the toxins from the BP oil spill. I cannot really swim in the rivers or lakes becasue of gators. So I either swim in the gulf w/ the sharks or in a pool. Lately I have chosen to swim in a pool.
      • Jamie 3 hours ago
        this just in on yahoo today: 1 in 4 or 5 adults admit to peeing in the pool....... and that's just the adults....
      • maureen 3 hours ago
        Everything is contaminated!!!!!!
      • craig p 2 hours 52 minutes ago
        AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!
    • Agustina l  •  6 days ago
      The water absorbed by our skin can cause as much harm as the water we drink so it makes sense to use water filters and to avoid chlorinated swiming pools. You don't need to be scared you just need to be aware.
      • Amanda 2 hours 47 minutes ago
        We don't absorb water. Ever noticed our skin is wrinkly after long periods of time in the water its cause we push water out, if we absorbed we would be bloated when we got out not wrinkly.
      • Maxime M 2 hours 8 minutes ago
        Scarry! Everything we do kills nowadays?
      • Vandal 2 hours 8 minutes ago
        Actually Amanda the skin is wrinkly because of the absorbed water. In osmosis water travels from areas of low concentration of solute (the water you are in) to areas of high concentration of solute (your skin). The wrinkles have to do with the keratin in the external epidermis swelling while the inner epidermis does not.
    • Lauren  •  10 days ago
      This is great news for someone who is in the pool two hours a day, six days a week..
    • Stacy  •  11 days ago
      "...using organic or all-natural soaps and detergents, as these are healthier for your skin." This is such crap! Natural/organic doesn't equal better for skin. Poison Ivy is natural and doesn't do any good for skin!! Synthetic ingredients are not always bad for skin. There are bad ingredients of both types!
      • Crystal Sparks 4 hours ago
        I use organic soap because it doesn't have endocrine disrupting parabens...also, your poison ivy statement makes no sense because the writer never said thats all things in nature are good for your skin, but that SOAP and products made from natural sources ARE, I don't think anyone would be dull enough to make poison ivy skin products...natural foods and products are the way to go. The FDA in America lets so many chemicals be used in everything, it builds up, and the endocrine system plays a huge role in your overall health.
      • ron 4 hours ago
        A saltwater pool does not eliminate chlorine.You are producing chlorine from salt not a tablet or a liquid.
      • Scott 4 hours ago
        Aren't animal fat and lye naturally occurring?
    • CHARLENE  •  Boston, Massachusetts  •  2 hours 39 minutes ago
      Kangen water filters are the BEST for drinking water google them or search them on the web.
      Not cheap, but the best never is. Then just get a whole house filter that removes chlorine to protect you from your shower and your laundry and dishwasher. If we spent half as much money on healthy living as we do on having the latest, car, house, gadget or other socially appealing products we woul live out whatever time we have here robustly healthy! Peace and Godspeed to all!
    • Miho  •  Tokyo, Japan  •  10 days ago
      My water here in Japan suddenly got very chlorinated after the big quake and radiation spewing out of the Fukushima plants. If people think the chlorine is going to help they are stupid.
      • Snake 4 hours ago
        You can come here and live!
      • Jamie 3 hours ago
        @ snake
        LMFAO ... :-)
    • DigB  •  1 hour 56 minutes ago
      "So, if your local gym isn't interested in investing in a saltwater pool..."----Salt pools still have chlorine, its just extracted from the salt.
    • Amanda  •  2 hours 43 minutes ago
      Chlorine is only going to hurt you if your the wierd kid drinking all the pool water cause your thirsty. I seriously doubt it causes cancer, the article said 44% of people who had cancer swim a lot. So what? your pretty much taking a toll of how many people with cancer like to swim. That doesn't mean chlorine causes cancer.
    • Scott  •  Reno, Nevada  •  2 hours 37 minutes ago
      A saltwater pool is a chlorinated pool, it is just a matter of how the chlorine is generated on site or off, you would think someone giving this kind of advice would know this...
    • Claire  •  3 hours ago
      Everything causes cancer these days. Let's all just face the fact, anything we do causes cancer. Hell. You can get cancer from just sitting out it the sun.
    • Molly  •  Denver, Colorado  •  10 days ago
      The article said if you drink it. Easy get a water filter. People, well not normal people, drink pool water. Such a pathetic excuse for fear mongering.
    • Elaine  •  10 days ago
      WOW I remember growing up and hating the school water fountain because it was chlorinated....glad that my home had water from a natural Artesian aquifer!!!
    • Curtis  •  Atlanta, Georgia  •  4 hours ago
      you;re supposed to shower off after a dip in the pool!!!!! thats info from the 40's ok??!!
    • Raisen  •  Tampa, Florida  •  3 hours ago
      strange how all these things the "sky's falling" bunch keep trying to panic people with are some how causing us to live longer
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