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Chlorinated Pools Increase Risk of Allergic Diseases

9/14/2009

Chlorine is effective at killing pathogens in swimming pools, but it also irritates the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract of swimmers. Recent research has found swimming in outdoor or indoor chlorinated pools can increase asthma risks.

The study, “Impact of Chlorinated Swimming Pool Attendance on the Respiratory Health of Adolescents” found that children who swam in chlorinated pools had a higher risk of asthma, as well as other allergic diseases such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Researchers in Belgium compared the health of adolescents who swam in chlorinated pools to adolescents who swam in pools sanitized with a concentration of copper and silver. In children with allergic sensitivities (atopy), exposure to chlorinated pools significantly increased the prevalence of asthma and respiratory allergies.

Study authors suggest the chlorine-based oxidants in the water or just above the water cause changes in the airway and promote the development of allergic diseases. The findings reinforce the need for further research and to enforce regulations on the level of these chemicals in the water and air of swimming pools. 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.