We created this page because we believe that people should be as well informed as possible and to demonstrate that indoor pools are not the perfect answer to safe swimming as claimed by those determined to control our leisure activities. It is not about downgrading indoor pools - we prefer swimming in open water but many of us swim in indoor pools too. We uphold the right of anyone engaged in swimming to decide which risks to accept.

Chlorine by-products in swimming pools are linked to higher incidents of asthma, skin disease, lung damage stillbirths, miscarriages and bladder cancer, according to research conducted in the US, Canada, Norway, Australia, and Belgium. One researcher noted that 10-year old children spending an average of 1.8 hours a week in a pool environment suffered lung damage she'd expected in adult smoker. Dr K Thickett of the Occupational Lung Disease Unit at the Birmingham Heartlands Hospital says swimmers are more prone to asthma than other athletes. 'Our results show that nitrogen trichloride (produced by chlorine) is a cause of occupational asthma in swimming-pool workers like lifeguards and instructors'. When asthma patients stayed away from pools, asthma symptoms where often resolved. [Julia Stephenson,The Green Goddess, The Independent, 1/8/05]

The safety aspect of swimming pools, previously hailed by the health and safety freaks as the only safe place to swim has now come under doubt following publication of the results of a recent study conducted at the Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, which indicates that chlorine used to disinfect indoor swimming pools is linked to the destruction of cell barriers that protect the deep lungs. Researchers led by Dr Alfred Barnard, found that among children who swum the most frequently the effects were equivalent to the damage found in the lungs of regular smokers. When chlorine reacts with organic matter, such as urine or sweat, several by-products are produced including nitrogen trichloride - a powerful irritant. The study which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine measured blood protein levels of 226 healthy primary school children. The children had swum regularly since early childhood. Samples were also taken from children and adults before and after a session in an indoor pool to see how quickly nitrogen trichloride has been effective. Finally they correlated childhood asthma using data from about 2000 children aged 7-14 and concluded that swimming in indoor pools can be behind the surge in childhood asthma. The researchers raised the question of whether non-chlorine disinfectants should be used.
The results of a more recent investigation by Dr Barnard (reported in the press in September 2008) indicate that the problem exists even in outdoor, chlorinated pools. Click here
Click here to see what other doctors have to say

Chlorine and 'organic matter' - no substitute for natural flowing water

June wrote after reading this article:
I am commenting after reading your article about effects of chlorine . I am about to give up my job of 11 years doing 37 hours a week as a swimming teacher in a school pool with a low roof and lack of ventilation. It is a very distressing time as I really enjoy my work and although I have suffered throat and respiritory problems,I have not had lengthy times off work.I am going to do a diffrent type of work which I need to be trained to do.
I am fine in the holiday time and although I was skiing at xmas, I was really feeling so fatigued during December and my doctor gave me an inhaler to use if needed in the pool.
I am seeing a consultant about my throat problem which is not painful but feels I have a lump all the time. He examined me and he is going to take a tissue sample from my tongue as I have a swelling on the back of my tongue.I am going to do a peak flow record for three weeks and have the results analysed. In the mean time a colleague who works in a similar pool and has been ill for a long time, is having a chlorimines test done in her pool. The authority will only allow her to work a few hours a day and she has to do office work the rest of the time.
Myself and two colleagues in other pools are complaining about our unhealthy working conditions.
Kind Regards
And Rosalie added this:
I am an aqua instructor and have been having a lot of problems, with my breathing from teaching in a pool for 20 years. The article by Dr. Alfred Barnard, was right on. And after reading about June, I am leaving too! I feel we need more guidelines in pools concerning hot tubs, mixing steam with chloride, etc.
Thanks, Rosalie