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CURRENT ISSUE
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AUGUST 2017

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Golden Coast
LATEST NEWS
Germany ready to report on asthma worry
A German Federal Environmental Agency investigation that exposure of children under two years of age to trichloramine while swimming may lead to an increased risk of developing asthma, will report formally this summer.

Trichloramine can be formed as a reaction product of chlorine, used to disinfect pool water, and urine, sweat, cosmetics or skin cells – it causes the typical odour found in swimming pools, generally perceived as the ‘chlorine smell’.

The possibility of a link between asthma and swimming in chlorinated pools was first raised in 2003 when Belgian scientists indicated a possibility that trichloramine causes damage to the lining of the lungs, measured by a drop in a specific protein in the blood.

Subsequent studies supported this hypothesis and showed a significant correlation between the age of a child’s first swim and a decrease in the marker protein. However, further studies are needed to determine fully the contribution of trichloramine and other by-products of chlorine to this process, and the critical concentrations of these chemicals at which damage may occur.

Preliminary investigations in Germany have found trichloramine concentrations in a small percentage of pools of up to 18.8mg/m³, despite recommended WHO guidelines of 0.50 mg/m³. UBA states that until further investigation is carried out, concerned parents of infants under two years with a predisposition to allergies must weigh up the benefits of swimming for their child with the possibility of an additional risk of developing asthma






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