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11 April 2007

Why Are Swimming Pool Workers More Prone to Colds?

I've warned you in the past about staying away from swimming pools due to the unsafe amount of chlorine found in most public water systems. If you remain skeptical at all about this important issue, you'll be really surprised how damaging the pool water can be for workers, according to a Dutch study.

Researchers reviewed the health of more than 600 pool employees at 38 pools and measured trichloramine, a volatile chemical known to be an irritant to a patient's eyes and upper respiratory tract.

In comparison to those who worked near and, not necessarily, in pools, swimming instructors were more than three times likely to suffer chronic colds and more than two times likely to encounter sore throats and sinus problems. Compared to the average Dutch citizen, pool workers were generally at a greater risk for a host of respiratory problems, for example, like a seven-fold increase in breathlessness while walking.

The probable culprit -- tricloramine exposure -- is a given in this case, because levels of this harmful chemical at poolside can be as much as three times higher than normal. Just a reminder, your body absorbs more chlorine swimming in public pool in an hour than drinking unfiltered tap water for a week.
European Respiratory Journal, Vol. 29, No. 4, April 2007: 690-698

Yahoo News April 9, 2007