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artistsl

swimming pool and chlorine

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Has anyone ever suffered a reaction from swimming in the pool? Is that even possible? Just curious. Thanks in advance

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Anything is possible.  I suppose a truck full of wheat flour could drive into a pool and you could swallow gluten.  You might even get stuck, like a paper mache figure.  Seriously, I am in a public pool three times a week.  I am sure my risk for gluten is pretty much non-exisitant.  I have a greater chance of picking up a nasty bacteria.  But our pool requires folks to shower prior to entering and you can not drink (water excepted) or eat on deck.  

A community pool full of birthday-cake, pizza-eating kids?  Who knows?  Hopefully, their parents insure that they eat and swallow prior to jumping into the pool.  Any residual gluten in their mouths would probably not affect even a celiac.  Kids do need to be taught not to swallow water.  Dry drowing is a real risk.  

http://www.webmd.com/children/features/secondary-drowning-dry-drowning#2

Feel free to do a search within the forum on this very subject to get additional input.  I hope this puts your mind at ease.  Now go swim  200 meters of freestyle!  

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Former lifeguard and competitive swimmer here. There could be some potential issues, but I think it's pretty unlikely. Here's why I think that:

1. The water volume in a standard 25m pool is enormous (hundreds of thousands of liters). Assuming there are people swimming in the pool, any hot spots are likely to get dissipated pretty fast, so you'd have to swallow a lot of water to get a serious gluten hit.

2. By law (at least in Canada), the water inflow and outflow rates must be such that the volume of water that makes up the pool must be replaced every 24 hours in public pools. There are always some dust bunnies, bandaids and whatnot trapped in the corners at the bottom of the pool, but the main volume you're interacting with gets replaced regularly, so no build-up. Public pools are also vacuumed on a regular basis. For cleaning agents, typically on bleach and baking soda are used in my experience. Private pools are another story and there no guarantees.

3. Most public pools prohibit food on deck due to public health regulations and/or wanting to avoid cleaning up messes. This limits potential sources of gluten to personal care products on other people's skin. Considering the volume of a pool, I'm having trouble imagining this resulting in a significant exposure, but I have also swam in packed outdoor pools that taste like sunblock, so who knows. I would definitely worry if people were eating hot dogs or shotgunning beers in the pool though (definitely a thing at backyard pool parties).

4. Pool chlorine can be either tablet based, liquid based or gas based depending on the pool. Either way, it is bleach-based (sometimes literal bleach gets dumped in smaller volume bodies like hot tubs when the chlorine is off). The pool I worked at, which was newer used liquid injection, and I would imagine this is true of most newer facilities (gas is undesirable as it can leak and kill people because it is odourless - some older pools still have this set-up though). Tablets are more common in backyard pools, and it's possible that these might contain gluten in some form (I have no idea and have never checked).  For reference, the concentration of chlorine in a swimming pool should be between 0.5-5 ppm, depending on the pool temperature and your region (lower for colder pools, higher for hot tubs). 

So, I guess my opinion would be that a public pool is most likely pretty safe from a gluten perspective. Chlorine (or rather, the volatile gases resulting from the reaction of chlorine with biological waste in the pool) is an irritant though - occupational asthma rates in lifeguards and swimmers is quite high. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. My dad cannot swim anymore because he becomes ill for a week with severe upper respiratory symptoms (open water swimming is ok). I get similar, but less severe symptoms (part of the reason I don't swim anymore, sadly). Not sure what symptoms you experienced, but something to consider.

http://www.ncceh.ca/documents/practice-scenario/pool-chlorination-and-closure-guidelines

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