Swimming Pools: Summer Fun or Danger to Earth Swimming pools can be great during the warm summer months for recreation, relaxation, and family bonding. However, many people are not aware of the numerous environmental and health problems that arise from this recreational fun. The problem that creates the most concern for the public would be the amount of chemicals put into swimming pools, and the many harmful ways that they can affect humans. These chemicals can lead to acute illness and injury especially from the chemical chlorine due to the ways that it interacts with the human body. Not only can these chemicals lead to concerning health risks, but also many environmental problems from the chemical emissions that chlorine releases, as well as other harmful chemicals used in swimming pools. Environmentalists should also be aware of the hazards that arise during the production of chemicals like chlorine as well as other chemicals used in swimming pools that can greatly harm our environment. Lastly, there is a very substantial amount of water that is used in swimming pools, which is taken out of the environment to be filled with chemicals. There are alternatives to having a pool with chlorine, but these options will take a toll on the pool owner’s wallet.
Many people have no clue just how big of a negative effect that chlorine can have on humans. Chlorine is widely used in thousands of swimming pools around the world mostly because how effective it can be when acting as a disinfectant. However, as great as the chemical is as a cleaning product, its side effects are troubling. According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), “although chlorine exposure can cause general irritation to eyes, nose and throat, it is the caustic hyperchlorite solution that can cause the most serious damage to the esophagus, stomach and digestive tract.” (Reynolds) Furthermore, some people are more at risk to health problems stemming from chlorine than others. For example, those with chronic respiratory conditions are at risk to develop reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS). (Reynolds) RADS has a sudden development of symptoms that resemble that of asthma following contact with corrosive chemicals of gasses like chlorine. (Varney) Other major side effects from chlorine exposure can include airway irritation, wheezing, sore throat, eye irritation, and skin irritation as well as many others. These are just a few of the many health risks to humans as a result of chlorine use in their swimming pools. They are also just the beginning of a slew of side effects of Chlorine use on not only human beings, but also the Earth and our environment
Environmental awareness is becoming more and more prominent in communities today. There are several ways that a chemical like chlorine can be detrimental to our environment. Chlorine is a chemical that is known for evaporating very quickly, so when a swimming pool has too much chlorine an excessive amount can end up in the atmosphere according to the Chlorine Institute (CI). “The CI admits that highly reactive chlorine can contribute to hydrochloric acid in rainfall and that it may be an agent in forming and destroying troposphere ozone, which is a fundamental component of urban smog.” (Reynolds) While Chlorine is not necessarily as bad at the atmosphere as chlorofluorocarbons, it is still a chemical we do not want to be releasing into the atmosphere. There are other environmental problems that can arise while a chemical such as that of Chlorine is created. While chlorine is a naturally occurring substance, when it is manipulated and used in artificial chemical products it has “had devastating effects on the environment which we are only now beginning to understand.” (Link) The production of artificial chlorine is where we begin to create hazardous environment problems. While in its artificial forms chlorine is seen