Indoor swimming reduces testosterone in adolescent males?

Scrotal absorption?

A study in the International Journal of Andrology reports that adolescent boys with an extensive history of indoor swimming were about 3 times more likely to have lower testosterone levels.

The researchers working hypothesis is that the disinfectant by-products (DBPs) from more-chlorinated indoor pools are absorbed through the “highly permeable scrotum.” The DBPs then “might conceivably disrupt the blood-testes barrier and there by decrease the viability and number of Sertoli cells,” which help sperm cells develop.

Our view is that the weak statistical results (i.e., insignificant correlations or barely significant correlations with wide confidence intervals), speculative biological plausibility and findings of unknown clinical significance are insufficient bases on which to scare parents about indoor swimming pools.

But the real study killer here is that even the Princess of Environmental Estrogen Hysteria and Duchess of Low-Sperm Count Mania (i.e., Shanna Swan) dumped on the results in this Environmental Health Perspectives article:

Shanna Swan, a professor of preventive medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, finds the study intriguing but unconvincing due to factors such as the different hormone effects after swimming in indoor and outdoor pools, which tend to have roughly similar chlorination treatment. She also pointed to the paucity of evidence from other studies supporting the idea that the doses the boys received could do such damage, and she says effects from bath water exposures should have been considered. Bernard says those data weren’t available and that bath water likely is different from pool water due to the presence of fewer organics such as urine. But he agrees the variable is important and says it is something he plans to test in the future.

Rest assured chemophobes, you really are way out on a limb if Shanna Swan says so.

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3 responses to “Indoor swimming reduces testosterone in adolescent males?

  1. I have found indoor swimming pool chlorine levels vary from the accepted 1-3 ppm to well over 15 ppm depending on pools and also in the same pool depending on the time of day and day of the week. Also the chloramines, the result of chlorine interaction with organic material, will hover in the air just over the surface of the pool in indoor pools which are poorly ventilated, not an issue in outdoor pools. A well ventilated pool with appropritae free chlorine levels and no issue. Poorly ventilated pools caues exercise induced bronchospams in myself as well as several other competitive swimmers that I know.

  2. Should we set up a bath tub in the front yard to bathe in and carry water from the inside one? What about the “wellness challenged” neighbors and police?

  3. chuck in st paul

    It’s probably just the freezing-a$$ed temperatures of the pool water causing all their boy parts to shrink.

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