Swimming is a sport that not only makes children happy, but also promotes good health. Again and again, however, studies show that especially in indoor pools, the chlorine contained could damage your health, especially that of children. Can chlorine in the water possibly increase the risk of developing asthma and allergies?
Chlorine as a risk for asthmatics?
Especially for children suffering from asthma, swimming has been recommended by experts as an ideal sport, as regular swimming increases the lung volume and also improves the breathing technique. As early as 2001, however, a Belgian study showed results that alarmed many parents. A relationship between chlorine in the water and the tendency to asthma or allergies was detected.
Currently, this topic has been taken up by the media in the health sector. In the discussion is to what extent and from what amount chlorine in the water can possibly represent a health risk for small children and children.
Chlorine for disinfection in the swimming pool
It's no secret that chlorine is pure chemistry. For parents, this quickly raises the question of why it is even necessary to add chlorine to the water, even though this may possibly be associated with a health risk. It is important to know that wherever there are many people, germs can be formed and spread quickly. Especially humid and warm climates, such as indoor swimming pools, are ideal for germination. For this reason, it is very important that the water in the pool is clean and regularly disinfected.
This is where the positive property of chlorine comes into play. Because once chlorine mixes with water, it can combine with bacteria and other organic substances that are already in the water. This makes chlorine harmless to the bacteria and kills all pathogens present. This is very convenient and useful, because even in a public swimming pool, where many people are staying, even larger amounts of dirt can get into the water and contaminate it. For this reason, urban swimming pools in Germany are even subject to the obligation to give certain amounts of chlorine in the water. In addition, the standard DIN 19643 requires a limit of one milligram per liter of water, which must not be exceeded. This legally stipulated limit value should be able to exclude any possible health risks from chlorine and by-products of chlorine.
However, experts point out that chlorine, once it combines with organic matter such as sweat, urine or small hairs, produces bound chlorine called chloramines. This includes the irritant trichloramine, which is caused by a reaction of chlorine and urine. The chloramines can attack the mucous membranes, get into the respiratory tract and into the eyes - the latter often causes the children to come home after swimming with reddened eyes.
Since the lungs of children, especially infants under the age of 3, are still developing, they may be particularly sensitive. The chlorine can cause a bronchitis in the children, which in turn can lead to an increased risk of respiratory disease. If it smells strongly of chlorine in the air in the indoor pool, the chlorine itself is not the trigger for the extreme smell, but the chloroamines. Incidentally, a strong smell of chlorine is always a sign that there are too many chloramines in the air!
Healthy swimming through adequate ventilation
For these reasons, good and adequate ventilation in the indoor pool is very important. If children get a strong coughing sensation during their stay in the pool or even complain of a sudden burning sensation in the throat, this can be a clear sign of irritation by Chloramine. In this case, specialists advise you to leave the swimming pool and make sure the lifeguard on it. Because as soon as the water is refreshed, the air is clearer again. Some swimming pools have now opted for alternatives to chlorine, but these are more expensive, with the vast majority of municipal swimming pools still using chlorine at present.
Conclusion: Swimming is a sport that promotes good health and well-being. Especially in indoor pools, it is important that they are well ventilated and the formation of chloramines is kept as low as possible.