Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

I'm pretty new around here, and I really appreciate all of the great information. Some of it is applicable, and all of it is informative. Thanks.
Anyway, my 5 year-old has been diagnosed with Focal Onset Seizures. She has had two Complex Partial Seizures in as many months, and is now on Keppra (after an alergic reaction to Trileptal). We're just waiting for the next one.
In some of the research that I have done, I have found a couple of studies that linked Chlorine exposure to seizures. Most chlorine exposure research focuses on lung damage, but these focused on neurological damage that caused seizures.

My question, is it possible to get elevated levels of exposure to Cholorine from a pool / hot tub? Daily use? Hot tub vapors? Over chlorination? All summer exposure?

Another question might be "Do epilepsy diagnosis go up in the summer or among children who are exposed frequently to pools?

I know this is a far reach, and there is no supporting research, that I have found on the relationship between pool use and epilepsy, but I thought that I would throw this out there and see if anyone else sees an similarities in their situation.

Thanks again for the awesome information.



Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

I am 37 and had a grand mal seizure for the first time last week while visiting an indoor water park.  All of my tests have come back "normal" and the only thing anyone can think of is the chlorine.  I have been trying to research this and haven't come up with any definate answers.  Glad to know I'm not the only one with this question!



Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

hi,  i have temporal lobe epilepsy.  i was diagnosed when i was 20, but i now know i had been having seizures for most of my life.  the first memory i have of having a simple partial seizure (altered perception, feeling ill, no loss of consciouness) was when i was a lifeguard, at 16 or 17.  i was on the high school swim team and then started life guarding in the indoor pool.  on more than one occasion i experienced this odd sensation while in the pool area.

i do not think that the exposure to the chlorine caused my seizures.  it was probably a trigger though.  to this day, i often feel overwhelmed at the first surge the smell of chlorine when entering an indoor pool.  my sister, also a swimmer, and also an epileptic, once had a petite mal/absence seizure in the pool.  she had to go to the hospital and could have drowned.  

i have always been sensitive to smells and i am now realizing that when a smell makes me feel sick, i might be having a type of seizure.  i definately think that smells can be triggers...

good luck to you all.


Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

Hi Kat,

I am also very sensitive to smells. Chlorine may not be the only reason why your sister had a seizure in the pool. Its dangerous for epileptics to have pressure on the head, so tell your sister not to put her head under the water. I went for a swim yesterday, and I put my head under the water a few times. After that I was feeling nauxious and dizzy, so I left the pool. Later in the night I could not fall asleep and I had buzzing in my head. The smell of chlorine from my hair was bothering me, and making me feel very hyper. I stood up in the morning, fell asleep in the afternoon, and had a seizure. For the first time during my seizure, I experienced that I was choking on my tongue. The suffocation woke me up. So again, its best not to have any pressure on the head, both physically and mentally.


Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

hi. I am 14. I have been on a competitive swim team for almost 6 years and have practice 6 times a week. I also play water polo. i have absence seizures. I have not noticed anything that really changed when i started swimming as much as i do now. swimming is an amazing sport. but everyone is different and the best way to solve this could be through trial and error. i hope this was of some help.

Re: Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

Thanks for the reply, it provided some great insight. You are most likely in a swimming pool more than just about anybody that I know with your competitive swimming and polo. My little girl is 5, and she is a FISH and has been since she was 3. We can't keep her out of the pool, which now means that someone has to be with her at all times in the pool She misses the independence greatly.
Have you ever had a seizure while swimming? What happened? Is swimming dangerous with absence seizures?
Best of Luck with your water sports. Cris

Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

nope. my seizures are very well controlled. I am as of now seizure free and have been for years. Just find the right meds and right doctor!

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Hi, this caught my eye because I was just reading about some exposures to chemicals, such as chlorine can cause seizures. Something about free radicals. I was looking into this b/c my 3 yr old daughter had a siezure 4 mths ago after a week long virus with diarhhea and vomiting for several days. The day after she seemed to get better we went on vacation and she played in the pool the entire day(this was her first time-ever) and that night (or morning 6:30 AM) she had a seizure. Was your daughter sick when she had her seizure, or was it just after being in the pool?

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She was not sick before either of her seizures. She did, however, spend a lot of time in the pool and hot tub all summer. In addition, I kept the chlorine level up high (5+ ppm), to help fight an algae problem. None of my other family members had any problems with skin, eyes, breathing, etc that usually occur with chlorine exposure.
Here are some links to the research that I did on chlorine exposure and seizures. Of course, with epilepsy, it is very likely that the swimming is simply a coincidence...but worth checking out.

(Sorry No link on this one)
Piikivi, L. & Hanninem, H (1989) Subjective symptoms and psychological performance f chlorine alkali workers.
Scandanavian Journal of work, environment and Health 15, 69-74

Please let me know if you find any more research on this topic.


Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

Thanks for your post Chris- Our 9 year old daughter had two seizures last summer- the first in June and the second in August - both times she had been swimming the day before and the temperatures had been in the high 90's - She has not had a seizure since August and after she was diagnosed with benign rolandic epilepsy we chose not to give her any medication but I can't help feeling that either exposure to certain chemicals in the pool or her bodies inability to process heat somehow triggered her seizures. All of the doctors that I spoke with did not think that this was the cause but you obviously have been drawn to a similar conclusion with your daughter's situation - I hope she is doing well and I will post any research on this subject that I am able to find - Jill  


Re: Chlorine Exposure and Seizures

I am representing a client who developed severe seizure disorder after toxci exposure to chlorine resulting from a very negligent well 'repair'- IF there is any information that any of you have- PLEASE share it with me so I can help this woman.


I would be willing to pay someone if they have done signficant research.


Thanks very much, I can be reached at

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From what I've read, chemicals such as chlorine may not necessarily be the cause of the seizures but they can be a seizure trigger. From what I've read everyone has their own seizure triggers but people with seizure disorders have a much lower tolerance for these triggers. My son happens to be very sensitive to chemicals. I haven't noticed a problem when we go swimming, but when he was at preschool his seizures would always happen between naptime and the time I picked him up. Come to find out the two times they mopped the floor during the day were at naptime (when his head was close to the floor) and right before everyone went home.

When I was trying to pinpoint exactly what chemicals could be triggering him at preschool, I did a lot of reading up on chemicals and found something interesting I never thought about before. A lot of floor cleaners have Ammonia in them and most schools clean their tables with a chlorine bleach solution. When you combine ammonia and chlorine, it produces a deadly gas so you have to be very careful that you don't use them at the same time. I still don't know if my son is just sensitive to chemicals in general or if it was the combination of the two chemicals that triggered his seizures. At any rate, I try to keep him away from the smell of chemicals as much as possible so as not to trigger more seizures.

Emily C