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Indoor Pool Air Quality is Often Hazerdous

She deserves clean safe air to breathe while swimming

Ever spent time at an indoor pool?  Many of us have experienced indoor pools while traveling to hotels with them or attending swim meets.

Indoor pools provide a great way to break the winter blahs and get some good exercise. But is it truly a health way to exercise?

In a recent travel trip to Michigan I stayed at a large national chain hotel that boasted a convention center and large pool area repeat with water falls and gardens. Charging a premium for the off the pool rooms I elected to stay away from the pool area to avoid the noise. Immediately upon entering the lobby the unmistakable odor of chlorine was noted.  Moving into the hotel atrium the odor was quite overpowering and I immediately began to feel the effects of the bad air quality that permitted the interior of the 30,000 square foot interior atrium. The rooms in the hotel reeked of chlorine.  In the morning I awoke with a headache, scratchy throat, and burning eyes. As I checked out I asked the hotel manager about the strong chlorine off gassing and was informed that “We are working on that”.

I recently started doing research on the subject.

At a 2013 Junior Nationals Championship in Greensboro, NC an Olympian was hospitalized in the middle of a meet. The culprit? Bad Indoor Air Quality. (  Pools across the country repeatedly leave swimmers and spectators alike struggling to catch their breath. Although poor air quality effects nearly all swimmers at some point, little effort has been made to address the problem.

I was unable to find a single study, after extensive research, that addresses the problem on the effects of prolonged exposure to bad air on swimmers after they hang up their goggles.

Beyond just breathing the bad air, swimmers bodies, are soaked in the soaked in the toxic soup and reused remains on them even after a good shower.

Understanding the Source of the Problem:

The issue is not purely the chlorine. Chlorine itself is essentially a chemical weapon. Chlorine alone can be deadly. What swimmers actually breathe is a collection of molecules.

The number on offender is urea…… Urine (urea) from swimmers and poor hygiene from recreational bathers increases the toxic soup. Urea has two nitrogen molecules, which react with chlorine to create chloramines. Oils from our bodies also create Chloramines. It has been demonstrated that a few persons urinating in the pool can have a massive chloramine impact on a large pool for many days. Stop peeing in the pool.

Toxic Chlorine

UV Lights can minimize chemical needs for swimming pools.

Chloramines Are The Culprit:

Chloramines when a agitated as swimmers hit the water cause the coughing and irritations experienced. The US Center for Disease Control notes that chloramines are most concentrated  just above the surface of the water where swimmers are hyper breathing. The gas released is heavier than air and so sits just above the water surface. Opening doors or turning on fans just multiples the problem.  Often the fix is to “flush” (bring in) the enclosed pool area with fresh air from outside while evacuating interior conditioned air to reduce concentrations at the same rate. This is seldom done as “conditioned air” is expensive and considered both a waste and hinders swimmers and spectators thermal comfort. Open doors alone are  useless, according to experts, and cold exterior air magnifies the problem indoors.

The answer to the problem is multi faceted.  All swimmers should shower, throughly, with soap prior to using the pool, use the toilets as needed before during and after entering the pool and pool managers need to sanitize water using Ultra Violet (UV) light technology to minimize the use of chlorine in pools. UV can kill chloramites in pool water in minutes and reduces the need for other chemicals.

My simple solution:

Avoid Indoor Pools altogether and when booking a hotel room avoid, the premium interior atrium or courtyard rooms. Fresh Air is a good thing.

Pools can be toxic due to off gassing chlorine.

Indoor pools can be amazing and toxic





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