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Living Water? (Part 1)

Public baths and swimming pools as dangerous environments – Water composition analysis and expert advice for health

COVID-19 fundamentally changed the way people think about health and quality of life. As a result, people are prioritising the health and overall well-being of themselves and their family members. Since the pandemic has emphasised the importance of good health, the need for a healthy lifestyle is at the top of people’s motivational preference scales in almost every country, and in most cases, at the top of the list, according to current professional research.

Prevention on a sound professional basis

This advancement of health-consciousness has also drastically changed consumption habits and the decision-making processes of people and companies. It is therefore unsurprising that since the emergence of COVID, the issue of disease prevention has also become paramount. Before consumers choose a product or service, they want reassurances from credible, professional sources that it is healthy and in no way harmful to them or their loved ones. This need has allowed issues and information to come to the fore that, although not common knowledge, have been proven facts for decades, but simply have not reached the “threshold” of society’s “interest” to be addressed in a meaningful way.

One area where such health-conscious thinking has taken hold is in services related to water use. Because of lockdowns and health restrictions, the public was barred from using spas, swimming pools, and similar services during the pandemic. In these areas, ensuring high standards of disinfection and cleanliness was a fundamental expectation even before the pandemic, but since 2020, expectations have increased considerably on the client side. This change has also brought to the fore the issue of water disinfection, where chlorine and its negative health impacts are finally receiving the real and deserved attention.

Two-faced chlorine, the dangers of chlorine disinfection

Generally speaking, everyone has information, knowledge and experience about the role of chlorine, but it can be said that very few people have sufficient and real background knowledge about this important disinfectant. Chlorination of water dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. At the beginning of the 1900s, waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever were on a massive scale in the United States, causing many deaths. By 1920, chlorination was practised in more than 1,000 American cities, and by 1950, the widespread use of chlorine had virtually eliminated these diseases. Today, precisely because of the past, chlorine is seen by many as the perfect disinfectant to kill pathogens in water to protect public health.

Together, the filtration of drinking water and the use of chlorine was among the greatest public health achievements of the millennium. Although chlorine is an effective means of treating water, there is less written about the unfortunate and obvious fact that this “perfect substance” can be responsible for very serious health problems and fatal diseases. This is because the use of chlorine produces certain undesirable, unintended disinfection by-products (DBPs). Chlorinated DBPs are a group of compounds that are formed when chlorine or bromine comes into contact with natural or man-made organic substances in water. When showering and swimming in chlorinated water containing organic substances, these substances can be absorbed through contact with the skin. Some DBPs are more readily absorbed and can quickly move anywhere in the human body. The resulting accumulation of dangerously high levels of trichloromethanes and tribromethanes in the human body is responsible for problems such as central nervous system depression and serious liver damage, but is also a catalyst for the development of several types of cancer.

So it is no coincidence that since the 1970s, serious research has been carried out to identify the dangers of chlorination and to ensure and solve the problem of its replacement on an ever wider scale. The research shows very clear, objective results: chlorination results in the presence of more than 70 identified unwanted by-products and compounds in purified water. The experiments carried out have confirmed that these so-called THM compounds, above certain thresholds, cause cardiovascular diseases and are also responsible for the development of cancer (mainly gastrointestinal cancers, bladder cancer, and rectal cancer). It is also now well known that these diseases have unfortunately become the leading cause of death in recent decades. Thus, it is clear that the role and responsibility of chlorination in the development of the most common deadly diseases of modern man is undeniable. This is also the reason why disinfection solutions that ensure the disinfectant effect and effectiveness of chlorine, but eliminate chlorine itself, are increasingly in demand, especially among guests, family members, users, and operators who really focus on people’s health!

It is a natural order of life that the world evolves in knowledge. Things that decades ago were of great benefit or even saved humanity are now obsolete. Because they are of great service to humankind at the time, focusing on the main problem often obscures the side effects that can later lurk, often insidiously, and cause serious problems for users. It is up to you to move on to a safer solution in due course!