As if you don't have enough summertime ailments to worry about—Lyme disease from the ticks, melanoma from the sun, food poisoning from the green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup that your Aunt Gladys brought to the family reunion—now add chlorinated swimming pools to the risk list.
According to research published in Swimming Science Journal at San Diego State University, swimming in heavily chlorinated pools, indoor and outdoor, can cause asthma, particularly in children. During training sessions, the journal reports, competitive swimmers of any age can absorb toxic levels of chlorine products through their skin. Even dental enamel can be eroded.
However, swimming pools, particularly public ones, need purified; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year received a record number of reported outbreaks of water-borne illnesses, spread by swallowing, breathing or coming into contact with germs in swimming pools, spas, lakes, etc.
Instead of blasting your pool, and in turn, yourself, with chlorine, try alternative methods: ozone or ionic water purification; saltwater, copper or silver ionization.
A blog devoted to healthy swimming, piscinasana.blogspot.com, lists chlorine-free public pools. There are none in North Carolina; the closest one is the NOVA Aquatic Center in Richmond, Va., which is ozone-purified.
And if you never want to get in the water again, check out cdc.gov/healthyswimming.