Chemicals Used to Clean Pools Can Cause Health Hazards

July 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. disinfect / ˌdɪsɪnˈfɛkt / (v.) – to clean and eliminate bacteria
Example: They disinfected the tables using chemicals from spray bottles.

2. obtain / əbˈteɪn / (v.) – to get or have something
Example: They obtained access to the website after hours of hacking.

3. indoor / ˈɪnˌdɔr / (adj.) – happening inside a building
Example: They decided to play indoor games since it was raining outside.

4. intense /ɪnˈtɛns/ (adj.) – describing something very strong or extreme (e.g. emotions)
Example: His intense longing for a vacation made him book a last-minute flight.

5. ventilation/ ˌvɛn tlˈeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of providing fresh air in a room
Example: Putting more windows might improve ventilation in the room.  


Read the text below.
A new study found that disinfected swimming pools and hot tubs can be harmful to one’s health.

When mixed with microorganisms, sweat, urine, and skin products, chemicals used to clean pools can create disinfection byproducts (DBPs). These byproducts can damage a person’s DNA and increase the risk of cancer. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of South Carolina, was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The team obtained samples of water from indoor and outdoor pools, and public and private hot tubs. They also got samples after both normal and intense use of the pools and hot tubs. The study’s findings show that all pools and hot tubs tested, regardless of location and usage, cause health hazards. However, the researchers warned that indoor pools and hot tubs pose greater risks.

Susan Richardson, the study’s co-author, said that the air people breathe around indoor pools and hot tubs could be one of the DBPs. According to her, the smell of the air is like chlorine but is not actually chlorine. Instead, it can be the combination of urine and chlorine, also known as trichloramine. This chemical is known to cause colds and asthma.

Laboratory results reveal that trichloramine is only one of more than 100 DBPs, some of which can damage cells, found from the samples.

The researchers recommend pool owners to use filters with silver in them because it cleans pools without producing DBPs. They also suggest improving the ventilation for indoor pools and hot tubs, and changing water completely and more frequently.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think pool owners should do to prevent such health hazards?
·         Do you think the government should be strict about the use of chemicals that do not produce DBPs? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Would you still swim in pools or hot tubs after reading this article? Why or why not?
·         How can parents keep children away from diseases while letting them have fun, especially in pools?

July 25, 2016