Bradford professor fights for swimming pools to stop using chlorine

Dr Andrew Wright

Dr Andrew Wright

First published in News

SWIMMING pools using chlorine are discriminating against people who cannot take a dip because it irritates their skin and worsens their asthma, according to a top Bradford doctor.

Dr Andrew Wright, a consultant at St Luke's Hospital and professor of dermatology at the University of Bradford, said pools should get rid of traditional cleaning chemicals such as chlorine and bromine and replace them instead with ozone filtration.

Ozone filtration is a system where a form of oxygen is pumped into the water, putting contaminants such as dead skin, urine and sweat in a suspended state so they can be easily removed by the standard water filtration process.

Dr Wright said he had spent the last 25 years trying to get leisure bosses and policy-makers to listen to his concerns about chlorine - and failed.

Even lobbying MPs and sitting on an all-party Parliamentary committee on skin has not brought about change

He said chlorine was a potent irritant for anyone who had eczema - meaning millions of Britons with it including many of his own patients in Bradford were stopped from enjoying a swim.

"Suffering with red, itchy, angry skin is difficult enough. Not being able to take a swim when a solution exists to this mounting problem is, quite simply, discrimination," he said.

More research was needed but studies have found the chlorine used in pools can increase a youngster's risk of asthma up to six-fold and that rates of hay fever and other types of allergies are also said to be increased, he added.

Dr Wright is also worried babies who swallow chlorinated water in the pool may be at particular risk of asthma because their lungs are still developing - and with soaring rates of obesity he says pool providers have asocial obligation to keep the population fit and healthy.

"We could resolve this seemingly unresolvable problem - keeping our pools both clean and eczema-friendly - if we junked traditional cleaning chemicals such as chlorine and bromine and replaced them instead with ozone filtration.

"This cleaning system is equally, if not more, effective and is much kinder to skin. The pungent smell you get when you walk into swimming pools is just chlorine and muck."

He says there are only about four pools in the whole country known to have ozone filtration schemes and believes it needs to be made law that the skin and asthma friendlier system is used in all new-build pools.

"Running the system is no more costly that the chlorine version,the obstacle is the cost of removing the old system to make way for the new.

"I would willingly meet and talk with anyone who is interested in supporting the cause."

Comments (11)

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9:08am Wed 30 Jul 14

OLDLAD says...

Next he will want the salt to be removed from the sea!
Next he will want the salt to be removed from the sea! OLDLAD
  • Score: 5

9:18am Wed 30 Jul 14

collos25 says...

OLDLAD wrote:
Next he will want the salt to be removed from the sea!
You obviously do not understand english.
[quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: Next he will want the salt to be removed from the sea![/p][/quote]You obviously do not understand english. collos25
  • Score: -3

9:24am Wed 30 Jul 14

OLDLAD says...

collos25 wrote:
OLDLAD wrote:
Next he will want the salt to be removed from the sea!
You obviously do not understand english.
I do but unless you can back it up with how many this would help it could be a waste of money. It is also just his opinion, no research has been carried out to substantiate the claim.
[quote][p][bold]collos25[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: Next he will want the salt to be removed from the sea![/p][/quote]You obviously do not understand english.[/p][/quote]I do but unless you can back it up with how many this would help it could be a waste of money. It is also just his opinion, no research has been carried out to substantiate the claim. OLDLAD
  • Score: 5

9:52am Wed 30 Jul 14

collos25 says...

Yes there has buy almost every council and health service.
Yes there has buy almost every council and health service. collos25
  • Score: -7

10:07am Wed 30 Jul 14

OLDLAD says...

collos25 wrote:
Yes there has buy almost every council and health service.
buy should be by
[quote][p][bold]collos25[/bold] wrote: Yes there has buy almost every council and health service.[/p][/quote]buy should be by OLDLAD
  • Score: 8

10:08am Wed 30 Jul 14

basil fawlty says...

Skin, urine, sweat, i'm never going again
Skin, urine, sweat, i'm never going again basil fawlty
  • Score: 4

10:09am Wed 30 Jul 14

OLDLAD says...

OLDLAD wrote:
collos25 wrote:
Yes there has buy almost every council and health service.
buy should be by
I could have said don't you understand english
[quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]collos25[/bold] wrote: Yes there has buy almost every council and health service.[/p][/quote]buy should be by[/p][/quote]I could have said don't you understand english OLDLAD
  • Score: 1

12:22pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Robin of Loxley says...

He said chlorine was a potent irritant for anyone who had eczema - meaning millions of Britons with it including many of his own patients in Bradford were stopped from enjoying a swim.


So we change things for the majority because a minority are a bit peed off?

(no pun intended)
[quote]He said chlorine was a potent irritant for anyone who had eczema - meaning millions of Britons with it including many of his own patients in Bradford were stopped from enjoying a swim. [/quote] So we change things for the majority because a minority are a bit peed off? (no pun intended) Robin of Loxley
  • Score: 4

11:27pm Wed 30 Jul 14

kevmoz says...

My son went swimming at eccleshill swimming baths yesterday and his hay fever induced asthma has flared up really bad. Had to take him to the doctors today it was that bad. Warning ! Keep your eye on your child after swimming in Bradford Pools especially when they have asthma. Thank you for the interesting article. My son will not be going swimming again till Bradford sort this serious problem out as I would never have associated his hayfever asthma flare up with chlorine.
My son went swimming at eccleshill swimming baths yesterday and his hay fever induced asthma has flared up really bad. Had to take him to the doctors today it was that bad. Warning ! Keep your eye on your child after swimming in Bradford Pools especially when they have asthma. Thank you for the interesting article. My son will not be going swimming again till Bradford sort this serious problem out as I would never have associated his hayfever asthma flare up with chlorine. kevmoz
  • Score: 0

9:36am Thu 31 Jul 14

Poolboy says...

I have a few comments to make.

1: if you remove chlorine from the water that people are swimming in, sweating in, urinating in etc then what is killing the bacteria in the water that bathers are IN. It's all good and well killing the bacteria when the water is in the plant room / filter but that isn't where people are swimming....

2: Either a badly written article or just some strange research - SWALLOWING chlorinated water effect babies LUNGS? Surely you mean breathing in the chlorine fumes from badly operated pools increases the chance of asthma?

3: touched on slightly in point 2, if the pool Is managed, maintained, tested and balanced properly this would not be so much of a problem.

4: if EVERYONE showered and went to the toilet before they swam the chlorine levels wouldn't need to be as high as they are in pool water and there would be less pollution so the by products of chlorine would be lower. It is the by products NOT the chlorine that causes the irritation.

My rant is over!
I have a few comments to make. 1: if you remove chlorine from the water that people are swimming in, sweating in, urinating in etc then what is killing the bacteria in the water that bathers are IN. It's all good and well killing the bacteria when the water is in the plant room / filter but that isn't where people are swimming.... 2: Either a badly written article or just some strange research - SWALLOWING chlorinated water effect babies LUNGS? Surely you mean breathing in the chlorine fumes from badly operated pools increases the chance of asthma? 3: touched on slightly in point 2, if the pool Is managed, maintained, tested and balanced properly this would not be so much of a problem. 4: if EVERYONE showered and went to the toilet before they swam the chlorine levels wouldn't need to be as high as they are in pool water and there would be less pollution so the by products of chlorine would be lower. It is the by products NOT the chlorine that causes the irritation. My rant is over! Poolboy
  • Score: 1

9:38am Thu 31 Jul 14

Poolboy says...

Addition.

Ozone is massively more expensive than chlorine... Not just in installation but running costs eg electricity.

Look it up yourselves and please don't listen to this "professor".
Addition. Ozone is massively more expensive than chlorine... Not just in installation but running costs eg electricity. Look it up yourselves and please don't listen to this "professor". Poolboy
  • Score: 0

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