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Swimming in Troubled Waters

Swimmers, beware. Chlorinated pools have been added to the seemingly bottomless- pit of cancer causing factors.//

Researchers from the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona have come out with findings that discourage drinking, bathing with or swimming in chlorinated water.

Chlorine is a disinfectant used universally. The culprit according to lead researcher Dr. Cristina Villanueva is Trihalomethanes (THM), by-products of chlorination. This when, inhaled or absorbed through the skin is bound to increase the risk of bladder cancer.

The research bases its conclusion on the survey 1,219 men and women with bladder cancer and 1,271 control individuals who did not have the disease.

They were quizzed regarding their exposure to chlorinated water via swimming pools, bathing etc. The levels of TMH were also noted in 123 municipalities.

People living in households with average household water THM level of more than 49 micrograms per liter had double the bladder cancer risk of those living in households where water THM concentration was below 8 micrograms per liter. THM levels of about 50 micrograms per liter are common in industrialized societies, according to researchers.

Study participants who drank chlorinated water were at 35% greater risk of bladder cancer than those who didn't, while use of swimming pools boosted bladder cancer risk by 57%.

Those who took longer showers or baths and lived in municipalities with higher THM levels were also at increased cancer risk.

According to Dr.Villaneuva when TMH is inhaled or absorbed via the skin as occurring while swimming, there is no chance of detoxification via the liver.

Hence the red light for swimming pools.

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