Swimming Pools & Cancer: The Surprising Way to Cut Your Risk

Swimming lapsFall is just around the corner, but that doesn't mean I'm getting out of the pool just yet. With a little luck and some good weather, I've got another good month of this healthy activity ahead of me.

I love swimming laps, and although I'm not fast, I aim for at least a mile a couple of times a week.

Because I'm paranoid about skin cancer, I always make sure I'm covered with sunscreen head to toe.

Imagine my surprise when I read that recent research indicates sunscreen often reacts with pool disinfectants, creating toxic chemicals capable of mutating genes, as well as causing conditions including asthma and bladder cancer.


The Telegraph recently reported researchers from the University of Illinois discovered that pool water led to more cell damage in humans, including mutations that contribute to birth defects, accelerate the ageing process, cause breathing problems, and induce cancer after long-term exposure.

Think about everything that's in the water you swim in -- there's sweat, hair, skin, cosmetics, hair products, sunscreens, and maybe even urine. Add in the pool's existing disinfectants, and that's a big toxic mess.

Luckily, there's something you can do to cut your risk -- wash off before you get in the pool. It may not be convenient, but it sure will go a long way toward reducing what's in the water you're swimming in.

I have to admit I never used to rinse off before swimming, and I never thought much about it. I never saw anyone else do it, and even thought my gym posts signs asking swimmers to do so, I really didn't see the reason behind it.

You can bet I do now!

Do you rinse off before you swim?


Image via Jim Bahn/Flickr

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