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Chlorinated Pools Harbor Cancer Risk

September 14, 2010

In a study published Sunday, Spanish researchers found a possible link between the risk of cancer and swimming in chlorinated pools.

The researchers, from the Barcelona-based Centre of Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and Research Institute Hospital del Mar, studied changes in indicators of mutagenicity (permanent mutation of the DNA) among a group of swimmers at an indoor chlorinated pool.

“The evidence of genotoxic effects were observed in 49 healthy adults after swimming for 40 minutes in a chlorinated indoor pool,” researchers at CREAL said in statement on Monday.

The researchers found possible increase in the risk of cancer among healthy subjects as well as potential respiratory problems from the chlorine used as a disinfectant, the researchers said.

“The positive health impacts of swimming can be increased by reducing the levels of these chemicals,” said CREAL co-director, Manolis Kogevinas, adding that the findings should not deter people from swimming.

“In no case do we want to stop swimming, but to encourage the reduction of chemicals in swimming pools,” Kogevinas told AFP.

He suggested the problems caused by a reduction in levels of disinfectant could be offset if swimmers showered before swimming, wore bathing caps and refrained from urinating in the water.

The study is published in the Sunday issue of the US journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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