Summer fun at a backyard or community pool offers healthy exercise and recreation, but traditional pool chemicals can expose swimmers to chlorine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Chlorine wreaks havoc on skin and hair by stripping away natural oils, causing skin to dry out and hair shafts to break. As the chemical of choice for pool sanitation and municipal water treatment systems, chlorine is designed to attack and destroy organic materials.

The water chlorination process causes a reaction with natural organic substances in the water to form trihalomethanes, or THMs. Chloroform is one THM typically found in the highest concentration in swimming pools. It has been shown to be carcinogenic in laboratory animals. Pool chemicals are absorbed through the skin and respiratory system, with the surrounding air in indoor pools posing a particular hazard of THM exposure. Chlorine can also cause rashes and breathing problems such as asthma.

With safer residential and commercial options available, health risks can be minimized. There are several systems available, all designed to eliminate or significantly reduce the need for pool chemicals. Options include_

  • Pool ozone generators- Ozone has been proven to purify and sanitize pool and spa water faster and more effectively than traditional chemical methods. Water is treated up to three thousand times faster with ozone, eliminating undesirable by-products, such as chloramines and bromamines (created by use of traditional chlorine and bromine chemicals). Ozone's primary by-product is oxygen.
  • Pool ionizers- Ionizers can save 70 percent to 90 percent on the cost of chemicals by killing bacteria and algae in the pool. To maintain clean and clear water, the only other item needed is a sanitizer (preferably non-chlorine) added about once a week to shock and kill all the organics in the pool. Options include a solar ionizer that combines solar electric power generation with ionization.
  • Ultraviolet Light System- UV light sterilizes pool water, destroys chloramines and other toxic by-products of chlorine, and helps to control algae. Chlorine use is reduced by up to 90 percent, improving water quality and atmospheric conditions.
  • Solar Ionization - Pods- utilizes a small photovoltaic panel to supply electricity to two electrodes. These electrodes then produce a combination of copper and other ions which prevent the growth of microorganisms. The device floats in the pool and works when exposed to sunlight.
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Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology (r) at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children's health issues, and is a contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com. For more information go to www.dienviro.com

Deirdre Imus, Founder of the site devoted to environmental health, www.ImusEnvironmentalHealth.org, is President and Founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health CenterĀ® at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a frequent contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com, and Fox Business Channel. Check out her website at www.ImusEnvironmentalHealth.org. Follow her on Twitter@TheGreenDirt and 'like' her Facebook page here.