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| Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC

Sad story about former Olympian Catherine Garceau and her struggle with her health after years of being in the pool:

Garceau retired in 2002 and began looking into holistic medicine. Experts suggested detoxifying her body to rid it of chemicals, including what fellow teammates used to jokingly refer to as "eau de chlorine — the swimmer’s perfume."

"As part of my journey to determine the factors that affected my health, I delved into the possible effects of chlorine and discovered some shocking facts," Garceau writes in the appendix of her upcoming book, "Heart of Bronze."

Apparently, the ecosystem of the pool is disturbed with each new person who gets into the pool. The more that has been disturbed, the greater the chlorine smell is because the smell indicates too many "disinfectant byproducts," or DBPs, in the water.

In June, Dr. Alfred Bernard is a professor of toxicology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, published a study in the International Journal of Andrology linking chlorine with testicular damage. Swimming in indoor, chlorinated pools during childhood was shown to reduce levels of serum inhibin B and total testosterone, both indicators of sperm count and mobility. Bernard notes in the study summary that the "highly permeable scrotum" allows chlorine to be absorbed into the body.

Bernard has also substantiated previous studies’ claims of a link between swimming in indoor chlorinated pools and the development of asthma and recurrent bronchitis in children. His 2007 study showed airway and lung permeability changes in children who had participated in an infant swimming group.

The best way to prevent increased contamination is for each swimmer to take a shower before entering the pool. The idea is to eliminate the sweat, hair, urine, makeup, sunscreen, etc that accumulate throughout the day before you get in the pool.


  1. Gravatar for Jan

    How about we do away with chlorine all together and go to salt water systems? They're safer, cleaner and less expensive than chlorinated systems!

  2. Mike Bryant

    That is a very good point, thanks for reading and the comment.

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