People who regularly swim in chlorinated pools or take lots of showers or baths are at an increased risk of cancer.
Swimming too much – or even taking too many baths or showers – could increase the risk of developing bladder cancer, warn environmental health experts. Carcinogenic chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs), created as a byproduct of chlorinating water, can be absorbed through the skin, they say.
People who regularly swim in chlorinated pools or take lots of showers or baths could therefore be putting themselves at risk.
Dr Gemma Castaño-Vinyals, of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology [CREAL] in Castilla La Mancha, Spain, said the effects negated the ‘purity’ benefits of drinking unchlorinated, TCM-free bottled mineral water.
She said: “People with more money and more education may think that they’re reducing their risk of exposure to water contaminants by drinking bottled water.
“However, despite being apparently cleaner and taking more exercise, as a result of taking more frequent and longer baths, and using swimming pools more often, they are actually increasing their risk of THM exposure.”
However, she said the additional risk of developing bladder cancer from absorbing THMs was “small”.
She and colleagues were looking at exposure to THMs in 1,270 people in Spain. The results are released today (WED) by the online science publisher BioMed Central.