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Indoor Pool Air May Pose Hazard to Kids

Their lungs could be harmed by chlorine byproducts, study says

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Indoor swimming pools may be harmful to children's lungs, says a Swedish study in the December issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study of 33 boys and 24 girls aged 10 to 11 years old concluded that repeated exposure to airborne byproducts of chlorine pool disinfectants may damage the outermost cells that line the smallest airways in children's lungs.

Researchers found the blood levels of a lung-specific protein called Clara cell protein (CC16) were much lower among children who went to indoor swimming pools on a regular basis, compared to children who didn't regularly visit indoor pools.

It's believed that CC16 cells help defend airways against damage and protect the respiratory tract from inflammation.

This new study supports previous research that suggested repeated exposure to the air around indoor chlorinated pools may harm Clara cell function.

"Our results indicate that repeated exposure to chlorination byproducts in the air of indoor swimming pools has an adverse effect on the Clara cell function in children, such that the anti-inflammatory role of CC16 in the lung could be diminished," the study authors wrote.

"A possible role of such influence on Clara cell function in inducing pulmonary morbidity (e.g., asthma) should be further studied," the authors said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about your lungs.

SOURCE: Environmental Health Perspectives, news release, Dec. 2, 2004
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