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Cancer Risks: Swimming in Indoor Pools

Cancer Risks: Swimming in Indoor PoolsWhat's the difference between not enough and too much and how does that gap really affect your health? That's the conundrum I'm seeing in today's blog post about the potential for rising cancer risks associated with swimming in chlorinated indoor pools.

A recent CDC review reported the many problems with keeping outdoor swimming pools clean. More than half of the 120,000 routine pool inspections done in 13 states in 2008 yielded at least one violation, and 12 percent were closed immediately due to more serious health concerns.

Unfortunately, swimming in potentially bacteria-laden water may be the least of your worries. According to this trio of reports from Environmental Health Perspectives, when the disinfection by-products (DPBs) used to keep indoor pools clean come in contact with the skin, sweat and urine from swimmers, one result could be DNA damage that may lead to cancer, a process referred to as genotoxicity.

Spanish scientists detected evidence of short-term genotoxic effects in the bodies of 49 healthy adults after they swam in a chlorinated pool for 40 minutes. One of two increased biomarkers associated with genotoxicity (detected in the exhaled breath of patients) -- micronuclei in blood lymphocites -- has been linked to cancer risks in healthy folks. They also discovered more than 100 DPBs in pool samples, including some never reported before in chlorinated drinking water or pools.

Fortunately, lowering one's cancer risks is as simple as reducing the amount of disinfectants in pool water. But what about keeping pool water clean and your body protected from the bugs found in the CDC report released earlier this year? Not wanting to discourage exercise in any way, researchers recommended folks wear swim caps, take a shower before swimming and be mindful not to urinate in the pool area.

And, yes, that goes double for your kids too!

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Environmental Health Perspectives September 12, 2010 Free Full Text PDF

Environmental Health Perspectives September 12, 2010 Free Full Text PDF

Environmental Health Perspectives September 12, 2010 Free Full Text PDF

ScienceDaily September 14, 2010

Yahoo News September 13, 2010

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