Pool Chemicals Harmful to Children?

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Summer and swim lessons go hand and hand for many families.

But could those chemicals you often smell when you are at the pool be damaging to your child's developing lungs?

One study says yes.

Volunteer TV’s Stacy McCloud investigates if doctors think this is true or if more research needs to be done.

For years, we've heard about the developmental benefits of infants hitting the water, but now some researchers say due to chlorine related gases, those lessons at indoor pools, could be not so good.

Three hundred forty one eleven year olds provided blood samples and had their lung health tested, 43 had previously taken infant swimming lessons in an indoor pool.

In the study, those children appeared to be predisposed to developing asthma and recurring bronchitis.

"I sure haven't seen that in my practice,” Doctor David Ponder says he wants to see more research before he's convinced chlorine is the culprit, considering things like chlorine levels, time spent in the pool, proper ventilation at the facility, and extent of damage weren't noted.

"I don't think it should be a reason for someone to stop lessons or not take lessons,” Dr. Ponder agrees chemicals can be enough to irritate anyone’s lungs, and those with lung disease shouldn't continue if it bothers them, however he doesn't believe normal levels of chemicals in a pool could cause major damage.

"I have patients that can't even go to the soap detergent isle because it stirs up their asthma, that doesn't mean it causes damage per say, it just bothers them,” adds Dr. Ponder.

If the smell of chlorine at your pool seems strong, Dr. Ponder says you should ask the manager to test the water and turn on fans.

If it still bothers you, simply make a switch to the great outdoors.