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Chlorine in Pools Raises Kids' Asthma, Allergy Risk
Date:9/14/2009

Too many homes over-treat their pools, boosting the odds, experts say,,,,

MONDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Swimming in pools disinfected with chlorine may increase the odds that a child will develop asthma or allergies, new research suggests.

The study found that teenagers who spent more than 1,000 hours swimming in chlorinated pools, either indoors or outdoors, had more than eight times the risk of having asthma than did teens who primarily swam in pools using a copper-silver disinfecting method.

"Chlorinated pool attendance has a very significant impact on the prevalence of allergic diseases in the studied population," said lead author Alfred Bernard, a professor of toxicology and research director at Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, Belgium.

"When used properly, [chlorine] is an efficient and safe disinfectant for swimming pools. However, when too much chlorine is added to water or builds up in the air of indoor pools, there is unavoidably some irritation of the organs of the bather in contact with the water and air," he explained. "There is now increasing evidence that these irritating effects may be detrimental to the airways of regular swimmers, especially the children who are the most vulnerable and the most frequent attendees of chlorinated pools."

Results of the study will be published in the Sept. 14 online issue of Pediatrics.

More than 17 million people in the United States have asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Symptoms of the disease include wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. The airway disease can be triggered by a number of factors, such as cold air, exercise and chemical irritants. While chlorine has long been known to be an airway irritant and potential trigger of asthma, particularly in indoor pools, Bernard's study suggests that chlorinated pools might play a role in the development of asthma an
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