The determinants of prevalence of health complaints among young competitive swimmers
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Objectives: Chloramines, which are produced by the reaction of chlorine with the organic matter present in indoor pools, are potential airway irritants in swimmers. The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of health complaints of young swimmers and young indoor soccer players and to evaluate the relationship between chloramine concentrations and the athletes’ health complaints. Methods: Health complaints were first (Part 1) documented by questionnaire in 305 competitive swimmers and 499 indoor soccer players of the Québec City region (Canada). Then, (Part 2) health complaints were documented during five training sessions in 72 competitive swimmers in comparison to 73 soccer players. The chloramines in the swimming pool air and water were measured as well as the peak expiratory flow (PEF) before and after the training session. Results: In Part 1, the swimmers reported more lower (adjusted OR: 1.5; IC95%= 1.0–2.2) and upper respiratory symptoms (adjusted OR: 3.7; IC95%= 2.4–5.8). In Part 2, the swimmers experienced more frequent lower (adjusted OR: 3.5; IC95%= 2.0–6.0) and upper respiratory symptoms (adjusted OR: 3.1; IC95%= 1.8–5.4). Overall, swimmers exposed to the highest levels of chloramines in the air and water had more respiratory complaints. Conclusions: Swimmers exposed to chlorination by-products in both the water and air of indoor swimming pools experience frequent respiratory symptoms that could potentially be reduced by limiting exposure to these products.
KeywordsAsthma Wheezing Respiratory diseases Chlorine byproducts Swimming pool
This study was conducted thanks to the financial support of the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ) through a grant from Hydro-Québec. We thank these organizations for their support. We also want to thank all the swimmers, soccer players, trainers and swimming pool managers who took part in the project, as well as Marc Amyot, Jean-Pierre Haubert, Karl Dupuis, Sylvain Allaire, Jean Tardif, Philippe Cantin, Lise Côté, and finally, Luc Pelletier from Medigas for supplying the peak flow meters.
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