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Ann Occup Hyg. 2015 Oct;59(8):1085-9. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mev038. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Investigation of Air Quality Problems in an Indoor Swimming Pool: A Case Study.

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Direction de la santé environnementale et toxicologie, Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec, Canada;
Division de l'expertise technique, Ville de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada;
Direction de la santé environnementale et toxicologie, Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec, Canada;
Service de la gestion et planification immobilière, Ville de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.



Trichloramine (NCl3) is the contaminant suspected the most to cause irritative respiratory symptoms among swimmers and swimming pool workers. Following complaints by employees working in an indoor swimming pool, this study set out to identify the determinants of NCl3 air concentrations in that particular swimming pool.


To document NCl3 air levels, air samples (n = 26) were collected once or twice a day for 3 h, at least 3 days per week, between October and December 2011. Water samples were taken three times during air sampling to verify free chlorine, chloramines, alkalinity, conductivity, pH, water temperature, and turbidity. Water changes were also recorded, along with the number of bathers. Ventilation (outdoor air flow) was modified to verify the influence of this important variable. Data were evaluated by analysis of variance.


Mean NCl3 air concentration was 0.38 mg m(-3). The best model explaining variations of NCl3 air levels (r2 = 0.83) included sampling period (P = 0.002, NCl3 was higher in the evening versus the morning), water changes (P = 0.02, NCl3 was lower with water changes between 60 and 90 min day(-1) versus <60 min day(-1)), and ventilation (P = 0.0002, NCl3 was lower with ≥2 air changes per hour (ACH) versus <1 ACH).


Although based on only 26 air samples, our results indicate that ventilation is an important determinant of NCl3 air concentration in swimming pool air. There is limited information available on the air quality of indoor swimming pools and the relationship with ventilation. Efforts are needed to document the situation and to develop state-of-the-art facilities for ventilation of indoor swimming pools.


NCl3; air quality; chloramines; chlorine; disinfection by-products; swimmer; swimming pool; swimming pool worker; trichloramine; ventilation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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