Many homeowners are beginning to turn to natural swimming pools due to the harmful health effects of traditional swimming pools. Chlorine and other chemicals used to keep pools clean have many health risks to the human body. Too much exposure to pool chemicals can increase a risk of getting cancer, cause reproductive issues and birth defects, and cause asthma and other respiratory issues. The chemicals can also cause mild issues such as allergic reactions, red eyes, and dry skin. Overall, the chemicals used in swimming pools are not great for the human body and it should not come as a surprise that something that is harmful to the human form is also harmful to the environment.
Here are the three top ways in which having a traditional, chemically treated swimming pool in your backyard is harmful to the environment.
- Energy consumption. The pumps used to circulate water in pools, keeping them clean and free of algae, are major energy consumers. The Energy Information Agency estimated that .9% of all the residential energy used in the United States comes from swimming pools.
- Water waste. Swimming pools waste a significant amount of water every year, mainly due to water evaporation and leaks. Because pools are typically used during the hot seasons, water evaporation rates in pools are high. Most pool owners do not cover their pools during the seasons they are using them. This means they are constantly adding more water to their pool in order to replace the evaporated water. Also, it is estimated that 1 in every 5 swimming pools has a leak and 1 in every 20 pools has a severe leak.
- Chemicals. Swimming pool chemicals, such as chlorine, have a negative impact on the environment. The evaporated pool chemicals contribute to the production of greenhouse gases. Also, the draining and discharging of chemically treated water can cause problems to waterways if not done correctly. The chemicals are harmful to organisms living in water and in soil and can affect the immune system, blood, heart, and respiratory system of animals if exposed repeatedly.
According to the National Swimming Pool Foundation, there are over 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States, and we can assume a large majority of these are traditional, chemically treated pools. If every pool owner made steps to green their swimming pool, the environmental effects of swimming pools would be massively reduced. If you are one of those pool owners, there are several ways to green your pool, such as installing energy efficient pumps, covering your pool with a pool blanket to reduce chemical and water evaporation, and converting your chemically treated swimming pool into a natural swimming pool.