Chlorine in Swimming Pools Causes Cancer: Facts

Picture about Chlorine in Swimming Pools Causes Cancer
Chlorine in Swimming Pools Causes Cancer


Chlorine in Swimming Pools Causes Cancer.

Other Versions

1. Swimming in chlorinated pools can lead to cancer.

2. Chlorinated Pools Cause Cancer.

Picture about Chlorine in Swimming Pools Causes Cancer
Chlorine in Swimming Pools Causes Cancer


These health warning messages suggesting Swimming in Chlorinated pools can cause Cancer have been around since few years now. There have also been studies raising such concerns and alerting people, so let us analyze the facts today!

The Problem

Chlorine is used in swimming pools because it is good at killing microbes in water; in fact, chlorination was first proposed in 1910 as a method to purify water for troops in the field. It is also a common practice of washing any ready-to-eat fresh vegetable product with chlorinated water, because it acts as a preservative, and protects the consumers’ health by reducing bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. Amidst these concerns, there were also claims that Baby Carrots sold in supermarkets are processed in Chlorine and so can be cancerous to human health when consumed. While the bacteria-killing properties of chlorine are very helpful for humans, chlorine also has some side effects that also include the “itch factor” which can cause certain skin types to become itchy and irritated.

When you put chlorine in water, various chemicals are produced, and in a swimming pool, it reacts with sweat, skin cells, urine, cosmetics, and other organic materials typically found in pools to produce all sorts of chemical byproducts called disinfection byproducts, or DBPs. Apart from direct consumption, these chemical byproducts of chlorination can get into our bodies through the skin. The exposure also comes from breathing air at the surface of the water, where the chemicals become volatile. Some people have linked these concerns of chlorination in swimming pools to certain types of cancers (rectal, colon and bladder) as well.

What Studies Say

Few limited studies, mostly conducted in indoor pool water, have seen an increase in biomarkers that are associated with cancer risk, also observing slight respiratory problems like asthma. A test conducted in chlorinated water from a public swimming pool in Barcelona identified more than 100 chemical byproducts in the water, many of which were toxic. Some other studies have linked DBP exposure in drinking water to a risk of bladder cancer and other problems. In animal studies as well, some of those chemicals have been linked with asthma and bladder cancer.

What to Take

The limited studies on chlorination concerns in swimming pools have suggested a long-term harm that is not sure to happen, but a possible risk. The scientists have in fact suggested that no one should give up swimming for these concerns, and have advised people to be careful with the side effects. Since swimming is great for exercise and relaxation, they said the positive effects of it could be increased by reducing the chemicals.


  • When you are swimming in pools, especially in public places, make sure to check out the pool first, more so in case of babies and young children because their bodies are sensitive.
  • While permissible levels of chlorine are generally considered safe, high concentrations can lead to many health complications. Swimmers can buy test strips available at pool supply stores and test the water themselves.
  • Swimmers can also check the pool maintenance records from the pool operators and make sure it is maintained properly.
  • Regular emptying and cleaning of the swimming pool helps; so does introducing freshwater.
  • The people who swim in indoor pools have to follow certain healthy rules, like not urinating in the pool and showering before and after swimming using organic or all-natural soaps.

Hoax or Fact:

Partially fact.


Swimming Pool Chemicals May Carry Cancer Risk
Chlorinated Pools May Increase Cancer Risk
Cancer myth: Chlorine and cancer
Do Chlorinated Pools Cause Cancer?

Like it? Share with your friends!

Prashanth Damarla