The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
Atlanta is conducting the first-ever study of ultraviolet
systems? ability to kill chloramines and improve
indoor air quality.
The study was jump-started in 2004, when more than 60
people suffered from severe eye and throat irritation due
to excess chloramines at three separate facilities in
Illinois, said Michael Beach, Ph.D., senior epidemiologist
at the CDC?s Division of Parasitic Diseases.
Chloramines are byproducts formed when chlorine-based
disinfectants react with ammonia compounds. They create the
?chlorine smell,? and cause skin and eye
irritation. Some research suggests they may cause serious
health problems such as asthma. Excessive chloramines not
only affect public health, but also can be an occupational
hazard for lifeguards and pool staffers, who breathe them
for eight to 10 hours a day, Beach said.
?We already know UV is a good supplemental
disinfection system for killing germs in the water, so now
we want to see if this is going to get public benefit from
the indoor air quality standpoint,? Beach said.
Lab researchers at DataChem Laboratories in Salt Lake
City will test a variety of water and air samples taken
from a local pool in Atlanta. Air samples are drawn using a
pump that pulls a set volume of air through a filter to
collect chemicals in the air. The lab then extracts those
chemicals and measures the chloramine levels. The data
gathering will be finished in early summer, and analysis
will be completed by beginning of 2007.
Beach hopes the findings will encourage people to
install UV systems on indoor pools. Many facilities are
already using UV to inactivate cryptosporidium,
which takes up to a week for chlorine to kill alone.