Chlorination is commonly used throughout the world to disinfect swimming pools. So when the chlorine compounds come into contact with organic material, they generate a mixture of potentially harmful byproducts-including nitrogen trichloride. Many swimmers then inhale this byproduct while swimming. Some organic materials include:
- Hair follicles
- Skin particles
- Water-borne bacteria
A new study shows that regular and frequent indoor pool use by children is associated with an increase in the risk of asthma. So while the swimmers are swimming, they are constantly inhaling air right above the water's surface. The trichloramine, or nitrogen trichloride, is a highly concentrated volatile by-product of chlorination and is activated during contact between chlorine and organic matter. This is the reason for asthma-like symptoms some swimmers face. Researchers found that children, who swam indoors as infants, were 50% more likely to suffer from wheezing and experience shortness of breath. Asthma problems aren't the only thing that indoor swimming pools cause. Chlorine, when mixed with the organic materials, irritates the eyes and upper respiratory tract.