A new Dutch study adds more evidence to the need for
better air quality management, showing that indoor aquatics
professionals are more likely to suffer from respiratory
illnesses than their outdoor peers.
Conducted at Utrecht University in Utrecht, Netherlands,
the study found that swim instructors are 2.4 times more
likely to suffer sinus inflammation as a result of
bacterial infection. The risk of developing chronic cold is
3.4 times greater than from working at indoor pools.
In addition, employees are three times more likely to
report an asthma attack in the previous year. The
scientists hypothesized that chloramines were to blame for
the increased respiratory problems. Chloramines are the
byproducts of chlorine when it reacts with organic material
such as body oils, skin, sweat and urine. Trichloramine, in
particular, causes respiratory illnesses.
The researchers, whose study was published in European
Respiratory Journal, sent questionnaires to 624 pool
workers at 38 aquatics facilities. They found that the
employees experienced higher incidences of congestion,
runny noses, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes compared with
the general Dutch population.
Though the study was only recently released, experts
said the results are not a surprise.
?I don?t think that?s new
[information],? said Alison Osinski, Ph.D.,
president of Aquatic Consulting Services in San Diego.
?[Employees] have a much higher exposure than
According to the scientists, air quality is not heavily
addressed in health and safety regulations. They said
it?s possible to reduce chloramines by improving
patron hygiene, such as showering before entering.
Osinski added that having a good air handling design is
important. ?Look at temperature compared with
water, relative humidity, number of air exchanges, amount
of fresh air, pressurization and air distribution pattern
itself,? she suggested.