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42-43 CHLORINE & ASTHMA:SPN Master pages 19/11/08 00:58 Page 3
Chlorine links “not enough
to confirm it causes asthma”
The second stage of research into the “Young children are more exposed
effect of chlorine and asthma has because they take more water into their
established that swimming in outdoor airways and their lungs are still
chlorinated pools appears to increase the developing,” Bernard said.
odds a child will develop the illness. Looking more closely at their data, the
Other studies have linked chlorine and researchers found that asthma risk largely
asthma but the new findings published in stems from an interaction between pool
the European Respiratory Journal cast attendance and atopic status, as
doubt on the idea outdoor pools are evaluated on the basis of total serum
safer than indoor ones where chlorine immunoglobulin E (IgE), a test reflecting
vapors remains trapped inside an the predisposition to develop allergies.
enclosed space. However, as this interaction was triggered
“The more you swim, the higher the from relatively low level of serum IgE (25
risk,” said Alfred Bernard, a toxicologist kIU/L), asthma risk concerns nevertheless
at Catholic University of Louvain in more than 60% of the children regularly
Brussels, who led the study. “What is new attending outdoor pools.
in this study is that we looked at outdoor The research team also found that kids
pools for the first time.” having regularly attended a backyard
Asthma, which affects more than 300 pool before the age of seven were more
million people worldwide, is the most likely to be allergic to cat or dust mite
common pediatric chronic illness. than those who had never attended an
YES “PWTAG has been clear and Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of outdoor pool so early.
remains so that there must be an breath, coughing and chest tightness. Leanne Male, Assistant Director of
oxiding residual disinfectant in the pool But a spokeswoman for the National Research at Asthma UK, said: “There are
water at all times. In the case of SPATA Asthma Campaign said: “We know that a number of studies to suggest that
and BISHTA Standards, a residual chlorine is an irritant and can trigger chemicals such as chlorine might be
disinfectant is chlorine or bromine asthma but there is not enough involved in the development or
based products or a Polymeric evidence to state conclusively that it can aggravation of allergic conditions
biguanide.” cause asthma. including asthma. This is due to the fact
Howard Gosling Chairman of “This is an interesting study but more that chlorine products may compromise
SPATA technical review research is needed to prove there is a protective cell barriers within the lungs,
committee possible causal relationship.” meaning people with allergic asthma are
Bernard and colleagues showed that more vulnerable to allergens.
YES “Chemicals have proven results. outdoor pools are just as or more risky Martin Baulcombe, is Sales Manager at
There is a lot of non-traditional than indoor ones because harmful chemical control equipment specialists,
treatment emerging on to the market. vapours remain at the pool surface and Topline, the country’s only manufacturer
These still have questions surrounding do not drift away. of chemical control equipment, on-site
them, and very few are endorsed by And because children tend to spend chlorine generation equipment and UV
PWTAG, SPATA or any of the other more time in pools they are more likely systems. “Chemicals have proven
recognised bodies in the industry.” to swallow chlorinated water or ingest results,” says Baulcombe. “There is a lot
Martin Baulcombe, Topline vapours containing chemicals that attack of non-traditional treatment emerging
the cellular barriers protecting the lung onto the market. These still have
NO “PWTAG’s attitude to ‘novel’ from allergens, Bernard said. questions surrounding them, and very
treatments is going to leave them “We see that the risk of the outdoor few are endorsed by PWTAG, SPATA or
looking increasingly isolated as the pool is equal and even higher than any of the other recognised bodies in the
industry moves on around them. I indoor pools because children tend to industry.” The company also supplies a
believe the changes and new spend longer in outdoor pools and they low pressure UV system, which does not
developments in water treatment will are more chlorinated,” he said. replace the need for chlorine, but can be
create better and safer swimming The Belgian team tested 847 students used alongside it to provide an even
environments for all. The level of around the age of 15 for allergies and stronger defence against bacteria.
interest and enthusiasm people have for asthma and asked their parents about
a chlorine free pool is amazing.” exposure to asthma risks such as tobacco Title Of The Original Article
Celina Brown, PoolSan smoke, pets and pollution, and how “Outdoor swimming pools and the risks
much time the children had spent in of asthma and allergies during
NO “The more you swim, the higher chlorinated pools. adolescence.”
the risk. What is new in this study is that The researchers determined that the M. Nickmilder 1, C. Voisin
we looked at outdoor pools for the first risk for the 50% of children Eur Respir J 2008,
time. We see that the risk of the predisposed to allergies and asthma doi:10.1183/09031936.00114807
outdoor pool is equal and even higher was directly related to the amount of
than indoor pools because children time spent in a pool. The European Respiratory Journal is the
tend to spend longer in outdoor pools Children with the highest pool scientific publication of the European
and they are more chlorinated.” attendance – one hour per week for 10 Respiratory Society (more than 8,000
Alfred Bernard, toxicologist at years – were five times more likely to be specialists in lung diseases and
Catholic University of Louvain in asthmatic than young people who had respiratory medicine in Europe, the
Brussels never swum in a pool, the study found. United States and Australia).
Visit our website at DECEMBER 08 swimming pool news 43
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