Articles Magazine

How to Spot a Toxic Gym

This article may use affiliate links. Eluxe Magazine only links to products we trust.


By Cailyn Cox

After the holidays, gyms will see their memberships increase as people resolve to lose weight, gain strength and fitness and generally look and feel better.  And yet, some dangers may be lurking in the places we believe will help us to stroll down the road of longevity for years to come. So want to know  How to Spot a Toxic Gym?  Here are the top areas of potential harm to watch out for before you sign up for that new gym contract.

1. The Pool

Of course, swimming is a fantastic form of exercise. However, when chlorine, the chemical that is used to kill bacteria in the pools, is combined with sweat and even urine from swimmers, it forms a toxic by-product that can trigger asthma, rashes and red eyes in certain individuals. It can also produce coughing and wheezing.

Our advice? Find a pool that is decontaminated by ozone, saline or another more natural means.

diving

2. The Shower

Most of us are aware we may catch plantar’s warts and other fungi on our feet from the shower room floor, so flip flops are a must when getting into the shower. But there’s another hazard lurking there: mould.

Let’s face it–most gym cleaners can’t be bothered to reach into the dark corners of the showers, and the consequence of constant humidity is mould.

Symptoms of even a bit of mould exposure include:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose
  • Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, chest tightness
  • Cough
  • Throat irritation
  • Skin irritation, such as a rash
  • Headache
  • Sneezing

Black mould is a serious health risk that can be toxic, leading to brain damage, and long-term exposure to mould can lead to hair loss, reproductive problems and even death.

Point out any visible mould to your gym manager and insist it be professionally cleaned immediately. To scared to speak up? Take pictures and send an email to the gym manager, threatening to call the health inspector if no action is taken. Seriously. Do it.

3. Cleaning Products

Most gyms aim to be clean, and usually have staff trailing after clients with spray bottles of products. In fact, many gyms ask clients themselves to use them after they finish with a cardio machine. But did you know recent studies have shown links between triclosan, a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps and cleaning products, and illnesses? These can include allergies, compromised immune systems, thyroid diseases and even harmful hormonal changes that can affect your weight and health.

What’s more, many gym managers use toxic disinfectants in the showers and changing rooms that often contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, phenol and glutaraldehyde. These common cleaning chemicals could seriously comprise your health and have been linked to headaches, allergies, asthma and in extreme cases, cancer.

It is therefore important to avoid gyms that use industrial anti-bacterial cleaning products–ask your gym manager to buy those that are EcoCert or Green Seal Certified instead.

bathroom cleaning

4. Other People’s Deodorants  

There are always a few people in the changing room who insist on misting themselves from head to toe with obnoxious body sprays and deodorants.

While most people don’t think twice about such activities, they really should– body sprays can contain hundreds of phthalate-loaded fragrance chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be extremely hazardous to your health and a range of health problems, including asthma, hormonal disruptions, and even cancer. Add dozens of spray deodorants to hairspray mist, and you’ve got a terribly toxic cloud in the change room!

If your gym is allowing body and hair sprays in the changing rooms, the indoor air may be dangerously polluted–more so than on a busy outdoor street. According to the World Health Organisation, indoor air pollution is responsible for more deaths worldwide than outdoor air in even the most contaminated cities–so make sure you make your concerns known to your gym manager.

5. Dirty Air Conditioning

When not properly maintained and cleaned, air conditioners can circulate outdoor and indoor pollution and mould spores found in showers and carpeting, all of which gymgoers will be inhaling profoundly.

Even when clean, they can transmit infectious respiratory viruses and mould spores into the atmosphere, which can result in health problems for people with weak immune systems.

Remember that when working out you need to be in a cool environment to stay comfortable, but what you may not realise is that this lower temperature also reduces the amount that you sweat and the cleansing effect of releasing toxins. Ensure your gym cleans its air conditioning filters regularly, and try to avoid working out directly under or in front of a unit.

sports sneaker

6. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs)

Electromagnetic fields in gyms are a serious issue: high levels of EMF radiation has been found in certain gyms because of the frequent use of electronic equipment such as mobile phones and other wireless devices, the proximity to power lines, cellphone towers and broadcast transmission towers, as well as, of course, the EMFs emitted from all the electrically-powered cardio equipment in the cardio rooms.

High exposure to EMFs can damage your memory, disrupt sleep and cause changes in genetics and possibly neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s–make sure your gym is well ventilated to avoid such issues.

 7. Street Pollution

Some gyms are located on busy streets. Whilst air conditioning systems can filter out some pollutants IF they are new, clean and effective, older systems will just circulate polluted outdoor air inside–even worse if the windows are open. You see cyclists wearing masks when they bike through traffic–if your gym is on a busy street, consider that you’re breathing in the same air those cyclists try to avoid.

8. Air Fresheners

Sometimes, if clients are particularly odorous, gym staff will walk about with an air spray to ‘freshen’ the air. Bad idea–just as with body sprays, almost all commercial air fresheners contain hundreds of phthalate-loaded fragrance chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which you inhale deeply as you work out.

The resulting indoor air pollution is a serious health risk: short term exposure to indoor air pollutants is linked to asthma, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and eye/nose irritation, and long-term exposure is associated with respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer.

bathroom scales

9. Carpeting

Shockingly, some gyms are carpeted; why is beyond us. Most carpets are made from  petroleum byproducts such as nylon, acrylic, PVC and more. These substances, as well as the glue that binds the fibres to the carpeting base, give off toxic chemicals including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde, which you breathe in deeply when working out. Synthetic materials like carpeting can create indoor air pollution that’s 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels.

Additionally, in the gym, sweat, hair and cleaning products fall to the floor and linger in the fabric. Normal cleaning will do nothing to remove such toxins, as they typically migrate into the padding below. Gross. If your gym is carpeted, you may want to consider moving to one with more sanitary rubber or wood flooring.

10. Gym Mats

Most gym and yoga mats are made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which is a known carcinogen. Among the most common additives to gym mat materials are lead, cadmium, and a class of hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates, which help make yoga mats ‘sticky’.

When the mat is new, these additives can off-gas while you’re practicing (!) and will seep into groundwater when you throw your mat in the garbage, before it winds up in a landfill, where it will never biodegrade, but will end up polluting ground water and if put into an incinerator, will cause toxic, cancer-inducing air pollution. Nice.

It’s unlikely that the gym or studio where you practice has invested in environmentally friendly (i.e. safe) mats, since they can cost twice as much as standard (i.e. toxic) mats, so the only solution seems to bring your own eco-friendly mat. They may be more expensive, but they’re much kinder to the planet, and your own health, too–plus your personal mat will be free of the  athlete’s foot fungus and plantar warts sometimes carried by public mats. Click here to purchase.

Images: www.freeimages.com



You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy

The Eluxe privacy policy applies to all your personal information, given and received. Personal information is information that might identify you, like your name, address, phone number, email, or website. When you visit our site, we may gather information about you such as your name, email, cookie information, and IP location. We may contact you regarding your preferences for information and updates. This information allows us to honour your requests for products and services and to improve our service to you. We never share or sell your personal information, unless we need to do so in order to provide a product, information or service that you have requested. Please note that no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% safe, thus, we cannot warrant that your information will be absolutely secure. Eluxe Magazine has a variety of safeguards – technical, administrative, and physical – in place to help protect against unauthorised access to, use, or disclosure of user information. We guarantee adherence to industry best practices that ensure complete security, and we fully comply with all federal regulations. If we change our privacy policy, we will tell you.

Copyright

All material on our site is original unless stated. Original content is fully copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We make every effort to ensure all published images respect appropriate copyright. Should there be any issue, please contact us immediately.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

Eluxe Magazine uses affiliate links throughout the site. We may be compensated if readers click on those links. We only provide links to products and services we genuinely like and trust.

Our Site will also occasionally contain links to, and quotations of, material from other sites. Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave Eluxe Magazine’s Site, and to read the privacy statements of any website that may collect personally identifiable information. Some of the links found on our site may be links that have been paid for by the sponsor. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any violation of personal or proprietary rights of you and/or any third party (including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, service mark, misappropriation, unfair competition, trade secrets, privacy publicity rights, etc.), false advertising that is harmful, or violates any law or governmental regulation and/or any media that may constitute libel or slander of any person or entity or infringe upon or violate the right of privacy or any other right of any person or entity arising out of content, practices, or other media of any third party links.

Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites we link into and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any damages or detriment arising out of content, practices, or other media of third party links.

Editorial Statement and Disclaimer

The views expressed at here are the views of the Eluxe staff and do not necessarily represent the views of Eluxe sponsors and/or partners. Eluxe content is for informational and entertainment purposes, and any views expressed should not be accepted as a substitute for qualified expertise. Though we make every effort to provide accurate information, it is up to you, the reader, to use Eluxe’s content responsibly; in return, we promise to publish responsibly. We stand by our content, our writers, and our editors. In the rare case we make a mistake, we will take whatever reasonable course of action we can to acknowledge and correct it.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THE SITE, CONTENT, PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES ON THE SITE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ON AN “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW AND EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, TGT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. ELUXE MAGAZINE DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT ANY DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES THE SITE AVAILABLE ARE FREE FROM VIRUSES OR ANYTHING ELSE HARMFUL. FURTHER, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, ELUXE MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, USEFULNESS, RELIABILITY, OR COMPLETENESS OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, CONTENT, THE CONTENT OF ANY THIRD-PARTY SITE LINKED TO OR FROM THIS SITE, COMMENTS, INFORMATION, INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OUR VENDORS, OR ANY OTHER ITEMS OR MATERIALS ON THE SITE OR LINKED TO FROM THE SITE.

ELUXE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR (A) ANY, ERRORS, MISTAKES OR INACCURACIES OF THE CONTENT, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, SITE AND MATERIALS SET FORTH ON OR MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE, (B) PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, OF ANY NATURE WHATSOEVER, RESULTING FROM YOUR ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S), PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, (C) ANY UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SERVERS THAT HOST THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) AND/OR ANY AND ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION STORED THEREIN, (D) ANY INTERRUPTION OR CESSATION OF TRANSMISSION TO OR FROM THE SITE OR THIRD PARTY SITE(S), (E) ANY BUGS, VIRUSES, TROJAN HORSES OR THE LIKE, WHICH MAY BE TRANSMITTED TO OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) BY TGT OR ANY THIRD PARTY, AND/OR (F) ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE NETWORK OR ANY CONTENT, INFORMATION AND MATERIALS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THIRD PARTY SITE(S)) OR FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY OF THE FOREGOING.

NO PERSON (INCLUDING ANY AGENT, DEALER OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ELUXE MAGAZINE) IS AUTHORISED TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY CONCERNING PRODUCTS AND BY USING THIS SITE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NOT RELIED ON ANY OTHER WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS.

IN NO EVENT SHALL ELUXE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, VENDORS, MANUFACTURERS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF USE, DATA, REVENUE OR PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OR GOODWILL, ARISING FROM OR IN CONNECTION WITH (A) THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE; (B) THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, PRODUCTS, MATERIALS, CONTENT, OR SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM, ON OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITE(S); OR (C) THE CONDUCT OF OTHER USERS OF THE SITE, WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF ELUXE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. YOU ASSUME COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF THE SITE. YOUR SOLE REMEDY AGAINST TGT FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT IS TO STOP USING THE WEBSITE. THAT SAID, IF ELUXE MAGAZINE IS FOUND TO BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS ARISING OUT OF OR WHICH IS IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR USE OF THE SITE, ANY CONTENT, OR PURCHASE OF ANY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ON OR THROUGH THE SITE, ELUXE MAGAZINE’S LIABILITY SHALL NOT EXCEED $100.00 IN THE AGGREGATE.

These Terms of Service (together with our Privacy Policy, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference and which can be accessed on this Site, and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) contain the entire understanding between you and us with respect to your use and access of this Site, and supersede all prior agreements, terms, conditions and understandings, both written and oral, with respect to such use and access of the Site. No representation, statement or inducement, whether oral or written, not contained in these Terms of Service (and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) or the Privacy Policy shall bind any party to this agreement. No additional or different terms or conditions will be binding upon us unless expressly agreed to in writing by an officer of ELUXE MAGAZINE. No other representative has any authority to waive, alter, vary or add to these Terms of Service. Before using this Site please read through all referenced documents carefully.

Aggregate information (non-personally identifiable information)

Eluxe Magazine may, from time to time, automatically collect aggregate information about our visitors to our advertisers, sponsors, promotional partners and affiliates. This aggregate information includes, but is not limited to, IP addresses connecting to our site, how many persons visited a particular page or activity, dates and times of image uploads, device characteristics, operating system, browser type, type of connection, page and image viewing statistics, and incoming and outgoing links.

Like most websites, we use log files to store this information. None of this automatically collected technical information is associated with any identified person at the time it is collected, but it could be associated with you under two circumstances: First, if you choose to give us personal data about you as described above, the technical information we collect that would otherwise be anonymous could instead be logged as coming from you. Second, if we are required to disclose our server logs as a result of a subpoena or other legal process, some third party such as your internet provider could match our anonymous technical information with you, using information beyond what is found on our servers.

Eluxe Magazine may use cookies, web beacons, pixel tags, or other anonymous tracking information to improve our server’s interaction with your computer, and we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognise a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customised ads, content, or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. Although our servers currently don’t respond to “do-not-track” requests (see below), you can block these cookies in other ways, for example by searching “[your browser] + disable cookies.”

Eluxe Magazine will never share, sell, lease, or rent PII to unaffiliated third parties, except in the following circumstances:

a) If we have a good faith belief that we must disclose such information for legal reasons, such as to enforce our Terms of Service, protect or assert the rights, property interests, or personal safety of Eluxe (including its employees, directors, suppliers, distributors, service providers, users of the Website or others), or if we are otherwise required to disclose such information by law. We will disclose information only to the extent necessary to comply with the purpose of the request.

b) We may share aggregate, anonymous or summary information regarding our customers and their behaviors with partners, advertisers or other third parties. This data is not personal information and so will not identify you personally. We may share information with companies that provide support services to us, such as a printer, mailing house, fulfillment-company, credit card processor, email service provider or web host, amongst others. These parties may need personal information about you in order to perform their functions. However, these parties may not use any personal information we share with them about you for any other purpose other than in connection with performing supporting functions for us.

You have the right at any time to prevent us from contacting you for marketing purposes. If and when we send a promotional communication to a user, the user can opt out of further promotional communications by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in each promotional e-mail. Please note that notwithstanding the promotional preferences you indicate by unsubscribing or opting out in some other fashion, we may continue to send you administrative emails including, for example, periodic updates to our Privacy Policy.

In order to access a profile on Eluxe Magazine’s shop, you must first create an account with a username and password. The registration system requires that a valid email address be used to confirm the account. You should choose a username that does not include your last name and does not specify your city or your address. Eluxe Magazine asks that you use your first name only, or an alias, for your display name. This is to safeguard your privacy and protection. We do not use and cannot access this information.

Eluxe Magazine is 100% opposed to unsolicited commercial email (“spam”). We do not have any desire to send unsolicited marketing emails to anyone without permission and we do not sell or provide user email addresses to any unauthorised third party in violation of this Policy. All of our newsletters and other general email marketing communications also include an “unsubscribe” opt-out link that you may use to tell us to stop sending you marketing emails.

In the event of a change in control resulting from, for example, a sale to, or merger with, another entity, or in the event of a sale of assets or a bankruptcy, Eluxe Magazine reserves the right to transfer your personal information to the new party in control, or the party acquiring assets. We will only do so if the party we transfer the information to agrees that they will abide by our Privacy Policy for as long as they hold the information, and that they will not transfer the information to any other party who will not abide by our Privacy Policy.

We use third-party advertising companies to deliver online advertising. These companies facilitate the delivery of ads, conduct market research, and use cookies for record-keeping purposes. These cookies sometimes enable the companies to serve you ads tailored to things you have shown an interest in based on your prior web activity. This is generally known as behavioral advertising. For example, this means that if you frequently read movie reviews online, it is possible that you might see ads on other websites relating to upcoming movies. Online advertising companies generally conduct this activity in an anonymous format, with online information not combined with information that would allow for your identification.

The third-party companies that will be serving advertisements on Eluxe Magazine may include DoubleClick, Google and Taboola.

We may periodically modify, alter, or update these policies. We will alert users to any material changes to this policy by posting the revised information here. We encourage you to review our Privacy Policy on a regular basis to stay informed about how we are protecting the personal information we collect. Your continued use of TGT’s website constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Policy and any future updates.