Cancer From Swimming?


Researchers have found in a recent study high levels of haloacetic acids (HAAs) in the urine of test subjects after just 20 minutes of swimming in heavily chlorinated pools. Chlorine is used in swimming pools to kill harmful bacteria. HAA is a by-product of when the chlorine reacts with impurities in the water. The environmental Protection Agency has linked high levels of HAA to birth defects and cancer.

In this study, children were more likely to have higher concentration levels of HAA than adults due to the fact that children are more inclined to inadvertently drink pool water than adults. It also found the higher levels to be associated with outdoor pools when compared to indoor pools.

Researchers caution that the health of swimmers is still unclear and this research is still in its infancy. HAA levels did return to normal in swimmers within 2 to 3 hours. They do suggest to teach children not to drink the pool water and try and keep their mouths closed while in the water. Also caution should be taken for pregnant women, they may want to consider skipping swimming pool activities while pregnant. It is highly recommended to keep pool water within the established guidelines for proper pool chlorination, since over chlorination may play a part in the higher levels of HAA.

Swimming is a valuable exercise regime and should not be completely avoided, but taking cautionary steps is always advisable.

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