Experts discuss dangers and benefits of chlorine

HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - If you've visited a pool, have you ever wondered why sometimes they ask you to take a shower before and after going in the water?

Part of that reason has to do with chemicals such as chlorine, and how it can irritate your skin.

"If not used properly according to manufacturer's recommendation, we can get what we call chlorine poisoning," said Lloyd White from the Marion County Health Department. "Typically that involves inhaling the chlorine gas."

"Maintaining the correct level of chlorine in disinfection in the pool is critical to remove any viruses or bacteria, contaminants, that typically would cause illness in the pool," White added.

Joe Shuttleworth with the City of Bridgeport knows these chemicals quite well. He says they serve a few major purposes.

"It's a very effective disinfectant because it sanitizes the water, which kills all the germs and pathogens and stuff that's in the water," he said. "It keeps your pool from turning into a pond."

"Any organic material that comes off a person's body, it'll take care of that," he added.

There are issues that come with the chemical, because that's exactly what it is.

"It's an irritant on skin, so that's one of the reasons they say take a shower before and after you're in the swimming pool is because of the chlorine that your skin absorbs," Shuttleworth added.

There's an important message to parents, especially when the little ones are splashing around.

"If your children are in the pool, I would try and remind them not to drink the water, not to swallow the water, not to put the water in their mouth."