Swimming isn’t just for cooling off. It’s also one of the best ways to exercise. Swimming forces you to use your whole body to build strength and stamina. It also puts minimal stress on your joints. But spending time in the water may be doing you more harm than good.
Pools may be weakening your immune system. But that’s not even the worst of it—you could also be putting yourself at greater risk for cancer.
New research from the CDC found that exposure to pool chemicals led to almost 5,000 emergency room visits in 2012 alone.1
The most frequent diagnosis? Poisoning.2
The worst—and most common—offenders are chlorine and bromine. Most people who use these chemicals have good intentions: Shocking a pool with high amounts of chlorine kills bacteria. This is especially important in public pools. But using too much may do way more than just irritate your eyes. It can cause serious lung damage over time. After all, soldiers in World War I used chlorine as a chemical weapon.3
Your skin absorbs chlorine. So you don’t have to swallow pool water to be at risk. But the chemicals themselves aren’t even the worst part. The disinfection byproducts (DBPs) they produce when they meet organic matter—like your skin and hair—are even more dangerous.
One study found that regular exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs)—a type of DBP—in swimming pools increases bladder cancer risk by up to 57%. Even more disturbing? This risk was over 20% higher than people who frequently drank water polluted with chlorine.4 But this isn’t the only study showing the dangers of DBP exposure.
Researchers in Thailand found that skin exposure from swimming in chlorinated pools made up for 94% of total THM-related cancer risk.5 Another study revealed that just 40 minutes contact with DBPs in swimming pools causes DNA damage that may lead to cancer.6 And don’t forget that DBPs seriously weaken your immune system. This may be why indoor swimming pool workers are up to three times more likely to suffer from respiratory problems and chronic colds.7
Pool chemicals and the toxic byproducts they form are dangerous. But swimming in a stew of other people’s bacteria doesn’t sound great either. Your best bet is to avoid these pools entirely. They aren’t your only options.
If you live close enough, try the ocean instead. Swimming in the ocean may help balance skin flora and serotonin levels.8 You can also find facilities that have saltwater pools. They expose you to far less chlorine than conventional pools.
If you’re all out of options—or already have a pool of your own—try limiting the amount of time you spend in the water. Taking a few quick dips instead of a long soak may help cut down your exposure. Just remember to rinse off with fresh water before and after getting out.
Of course, when it comes to cancer, it’ll take more than just avoiding chlorine pools…
You’ll need the help of powerful, natural cancer-fighting solutions.
Deep in the Austrian Alps, a thawing glacier has uncovered a medical secret hidden since before the pyramids of Egypt.
Today, a medicine developed from this discovery is the most popular natural cancer treatment in the world. Dr. Georges Halpern, a UCLA researcher, calls it a “major anti-cancer agent,” and “effective in treating many kinds of cancer.”
In human trials, this plant-like organism boosted the blood cells that can kill cancer by 547%.