Tag Archives: swimming

Recreational Water Parks, Spas and Pools Unhealthy?


Updated: 19 April 2018

Leisurely public pools, water parks and spa tub use are not without its sanitation challenges for pool staff. There are many potential health risks public swim facilities pose for swimmers regardless of whether located indoors or outdoors.

Since our skin is the largest organ capable of absorbing environmental impurities; all should be aware that improper water sanitation practices lead to microorganism growth and chemical absorption that may increase health risk.

Most public pool facilities treat water with Chlorine to kill impurities that would otherwise be unhealthy for the swimmer. Chlorine is also easily absorbed through skin as well as  lungs through air born emitted chloroform and enters the blood exchange system. Chemical overexposure should cause great concern for those that spend a lot of time in treated water especially in hot tubes. The skins pore surface dilates and acts more sponge-like when submersed in hot water.

Listed below are potential health risks swimmers should be aware – if using public pools.

Public Swim Facilities Transmit Impurities and Increase Health Risk is Cause by the Following Elements.

1) Fecal contaminants discharged, or washed off of swimmers and bathers. 2) There is also non fecal shedding off the body such as, saliva, mucous, vomit and skin. 3) Infected users can contaminate hot/cold environment with potential pathogenic viral, or fungi organisms. 4) Opportunistic bacteria from users of the aquatic facilities can adapt and survive as amoebae in both hot/cold environments. 5) Indoor spas and pools ventilation systems can be contaminated and transmit pollutants and microorganisms. 6) Wet public use floors have high potential of unsanitary microorganism surface growth. (7) Outdoor facilities are challenged with wildlife excretion and other environmental microorganism sanitation issues. (8) Diarrhea-causing a gastrointestinal illness that chlorine doesn’t always kill is Cryptosporidiosis parasites. 9) Too much chlorine absorbed, or chloroform inhaled, or consumed can cause illness and disease.

High Chlorine Use and Exposure Awareness Facts

Chlorine treated water and its air born Chloroform can cause allergic symptoms i.e.,: skin rash, irritation to eyes, sinuses, throat and lungs. Including problematic intestinal symptoms, arthritis and headaches.

Chlorine also weakens the immune system, dries the scalp and hair and creates worse dandruff. Animal studies found too much chlorinated water consumption causes genetic mutations, is a cancer catalyst causing liver cancer in laboratory animals. Canadian researchers found Chloroform risk to be 70-240 times higher in the air within indoor pools than outdoor pools. After an hour of swimming in a chlorinated pool, chloroform concentrations in the swimmers blood ranged from 100-1,093ppb.

Minimize Microorganism & High Chlorine Exposure Risk

Shower before use; avoid swallowing water, report fecal matter release.

Aerobic exercises in a pool is very popular. Especially when you need to unload painful weight bearing joints during rehab..
  1. Pool disinfectants burn skin, irritate respiratory; report and avoid use if any of these conditions are experienced.
  2. If you note see particulate matter, or cloudy water report and avoid pool use.
  3. Wear eye goggles when in pool and thongs when walking on spa surfaces.
  4. Inquire on maintenance practices: Chemical treatment, air filtration & ventilation.
  5. Consult with your physician if swimming benefits outweigh risks per current health condition.
  6. If you have diarrhea don’t enter spa/pools until 2 weeks after it ends.
  7. If swim facility is shut down for sanitation cleanup… Inquire on how the microorganisms were killed, e.g., extra chlorine, ultraviolet radiation, or ozone treatment.
  8. If the pool smells heavy of chlorination avoid the facility use.

Note: There are pools that don’t use chlorination: Ultraviolet-ozone and salt.

Each impurity health concern has the potential to cause a variety of respiratory, dermal or central nervous system allergic reaction, infection or illness and possible disease. And in order to reduce risk requires one to become knowledgeable about public pool water treatment and sanitation practices before use.

The practice of proper chemical use includes but not limited to, creating and maintaining a neutral PH to provide a non-toxic/microorganism environment while simultaneously maintaining proper water/air filtration and pump system upkeep.

Indoor pools that use chlorine need to ensure ventilation systems have proper filter change out and remove excess chloroform by replacing it with fresh outdoor air makeup.

Without proactive maintenance practices to reduce environmental health risk to swimmers – adults and children are at increased risk of contracting an infectious illness that could manifest to disease.





Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2018 Copyright. All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Get your Swim-On at the Tigard Swim Center

Tigard Tualatin Aquatics District (TTAD) on Durham Road, Tigard OR

The other day I was on a walk and was sidetracked by the playful sound of children’s voices coming from the Tigard Tualatin Aquatic District (TTAD) pool facility located at 8680 SW Durham Rd next to Tigard High School. It’s been years since I used that facility before I graduated from St. Anthony’s Grade School in 74, and Tigard High Class of 78. So I checked it out.

Since the building has a public access door into the public viewing area at the NE corner, it was easy enough to enter, sit on a bench, and reminisce of years long past. I immediately noticed the excitement and joyful expressions of young faces in the water. This brought back many fond memories from my childhood, especially how much I loved swimming in that pool while attending St. Anthony’s grade school.

That’s where I, like many other young classmates, earned a prized swimmer’s patch of various colors for swimming achievement. Back then the patches were circular with a “T,” when the pool was owned by the School District. Today they are off-circular with “TT” for Tigard Tualatin Aquatic District.

TTAD Swimming Facility

I wondered, “How many know about the fit healthy benefits swimming can provide for anyone?” The fitness trainer in me pondered… Swimming isn’t only for the young, but is great at any age and ability – and is especially beneficial for those who now find themselves overweight, or out-of-shape, and want to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle. It is well known by health and medical experts swimming is one of the best cardiovascular, body toning, and aerobic fat burning exercises anyone can participate in.

It’s also an anti-gravity, non-resistive force exercise for those overweight, out-of-shape, or managing body pain, meaning the combination of buoyancy and low-impact exercise in water can provide a painless transition toward increasing fitness levels and sustaining good health.

The Tigard Tualatin Swim facility offers an impressive array of activities for everyone.

The Tigard Tualatin Swim facility offers an impressive array of daily and evening activities for all. For example: lap and easy paced swim, deep water aerobics exercise, senior fitness non-impact aerobic exercise, and they have a general use swim session open to the public. TTAD is also a Silver Sneakers participant where seniors may be eligible to swim at no cost. Simply check with your insurance or Medicare provider and coordinate with program administrators to see if you qualify. Learn more about the district facilities and swim sessions and classes at www.ttadpools.com.

Upon leaving I continued the day’s walk and thought – the place looked exactly as I remembered it. Well maintained and popular with the public. What struck me most was the enjoyment and prideful expressions of both children and parents and how it brings community together to do something many love to participate in and watch, swimming!

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. Is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org