Is Chlorine Bad For You?
Also Known As: Cl (periodic table)
Chlorine can be dangerous, but whether or not amounts present in pools are a health threat is still unknown. It should be noted, however, that children can absorb in more chlorine than adults exposed to the same amount.
View Full Grading System
'N' stands for neutral. Things placed into this category are (a) neither good nor bad for you, or (b) lack the necessary evidence to reach any conclusions.
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. Side effects are rare. Things rated an 'A+' are typically necessary for survival (for example, water).
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. A few harmful qualities may be associated, but only under certain circumstances such as an allergic reaction.
Very healthy and numerous health benefits. Harmful qualities may be associated, but aren't usually serious.
It is important to note that even the best things in life can become bad in immoderate amounts. So, although something may be rated an 'A+', overconsumption/overdoing can bring unwanted effects.
Very beneficial to your health. Things rated a 'B+' may have a few harmful qualities to pay attention to.
Overall beneficial to your health. Things rated a 'B' may have some harmful qualities to pay attention to.
More beneficial to your health than not. However, harmful qualities are most likely associated and shouldn't be overlooked.
The main difference between category 'A' and category 'B' is the harmful qualities typically present in 'B' items. Serious side effects are usually uncommon, but are still possible and should be taken note of.
Both beneficial and harmful qualities associated. Things rated a 'C+' are typically a bit more on the beneficial side. Still, moderation is important.
A fairly even ratio of beneficial and harmful qualities. Moderation is important. Very general topics that can lean towards both sides of the spectrum will be placed here as well. Rice, for example, can be good or bad depending on the type.
More harmful than beneficial. Side effects are common, especially when consumed/done excessively. Moderation is very important.
Category 'C' usually denotes to both good and bad qualities. When it comes to this category, it is important to keep this word in mind: moderation.
Harmful to your health. Although benefits may be associated, the bad most likely outweighs the good. Moderation is very important.
Harmful to your health. A few benefits may be associated, but the bad outweighs the good. Moderation is extremely important.
Harmful to your health. Very few, if any, benefits are present. Things in this category should be avoided as much as possible.
Category 'D' is typically for things that are more harmful than beneficial. While consuming/doing something unhealthy once in a blue moon shouldn't hurt, we definitely recommend eliminating 'D' items as a regular part of your routine/diet.
Category 'F' is for things that fail to bring anything beneficial to the table, and are very harmful to your health. We recommend completely avoiding anything in this category. Long-term side effects of 'F' items are usually very serious.
'N' stands for neutral. Things placed into this category are generally (a) neither good nor bad for you, or (b) lack the necessary evidence to reach any conclusions.
For the purpose of brevity, this article will be concerned with chlorine as it is used as a disinfectant. Not all compounds containing chlorine, such as table salt (sodium chloride), will be considered. Chlorine is found primarily as a liquid or gas (it is a gas at room temperature) - in fact, it was the first poison gas to be weaponized during World War I. Nowadays, commercially available chlorine is made by electrolysis applied to brine. It is found in several products, but most well-known (especially for causing the distinctive smell) is household bleach and a freshly-cleaned swimming pool.
Chlorine is very effective at killing microbes. However, it does come with some risks. According to one specific study, chlorine exposure causes a rise in blood markers associated with cancer. While this does not mean that there is an increased risk of cancer, it does mean that more research needs to be conducted to find out just how safe (or dangerous) chlorine used in swimming pools is. Other studies have shown higher rates of asthma in lifeguards and competitive swimmers as well as higher rates of eyes, nose, and throat irritation in pool cleaners.
Mild symptoms related to chlorine poisoning include blurry vision, wheezing, and redness on the skin. More serious symptoms are burning pain, blisters, and pulmonary edema.
While not usually fatal, chlorine poisoning has no antidote and the effects can only be treated, but not reversed. Various symptoms call for various methods of treatment. While ingestion of chlorine gas is unlikely to cause anything severe, when mixed with water (such as in bleach or swimming pools), chlorine can become more dangerous - especially when swallowed.
Possible short-term side effects
- irritation to soft tissue
Possible long-term side effects
- kills microbes that inhabit pools
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