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Chlorinated Pools And The Epidemic Of Allergies

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, September 14, 2009 11:29 AM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Chlorine, Allergies, Asthma, Childhood Health, Swimming Pools

Chlorine in pools may be contributing to high rates of asthma and allergies, this study suggests.


IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ young swimmers/ author: Spiderstock

A new study is adding to the suspicion that chlorine in pools may make a child more susceptible to asthma and allergies.

Dr. Alfred Bernard, a toxicologist at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels says, “These new data clearly show that by irritating the airways of swimmers, chlorination products in water and air of swimming pools exert a strong additive effect on the development of asthma and respiratory allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.”

The study is published in the October issue of Pediatrics.

The affect of chlorine on respiratory health in children appears to be five times more important than secondhand smoke, says Bernard, who concludes there is “little doubt” that pool chlorine is an important link to allergies affecting the westernized world.

In the study, 733 adolescents swam in chlorinated outdoor and indoor pools. They were compared to a control group of 114 adolescents who swam in pools sanitized with copper and silver.

Swimming for more than 100 hours increased the risk of allergic rhinitis 2.2-to-3.5 fold.

“It is probably not by chance that countries with the highest prevalence of asthma and respiratory allergies are also those where swimming pools are the most popular,” Bernard told Reuters Health.

The chlorinated pools significantly increased the likelihood of asthma and respiratory allergies, reports Reuters, especially in those children with allergic sensitivities.

Dr. Bernard says further study is needed and in the meantime regulations should be enforced concerning the levles of chemicals in water and swimming pools.

A study released last year finds that children born in the fall, just before the cold season seem more likely to have childhood asthma than those children born the rest of the year. #

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