Chlorinated Pools May Raise Allergy Risk
Study Shows Higher Risk of Allergies and Asthma for Kids Who Swim in Pools
Sept. 14, 2009 -- Chlorine kills germs in swimming pools, but it may also
contribute to risk for asthma and nasal allergies.
Children with allergic sensitivities (atopy) who have spent more time in
chlorinated pools have a higher risk of asthma and nasal allergies, such as
allergic rhinitis and hay fever, researchers from Belgium report in the Sept.
14 issue of Pediatrics.
The researchers, led by Alfred Bernard, PhD, of Catholic University of
Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, examined 847 students aged 13 to 18 who went
swimming in outdoor and indoor chlorinated pools.
Among kids with atopy, the odds for asthma increased with the lifetime
number of hours spent in chlorinated pools, reaching sevenfold to 14-fold when
chlorinated pool attendance exceeded 1,000 hours compared to adolescents who
had less than 100 hours of chlorinated pool exposure.
Adolescents with atopy and greater chlorinated pool exposure also had
increased risk of nasal allergies.
The researchers note that chlorine and its by-products can irritate the
skin, eyes, and upper respiratory tract. "The chlorine-based oxidants in water
or air floating at the pool surface cause some airway changes and promote the
development of allergic diseases," they write in the study.
The researchers urge for additional studies and enforcement of regulations
regarding chemicals in pools.