During our test this last summer at the St. Paul, MN outdoor aquatic park we surveyed the swimmers twice a week. One of the most striking findings was that swimmers with asthma did not need to use their inhalers when swimming in the pools that were conditioned with PoolNaturally® Plus. We then treated the indoor aquatic park in St. Paul and had similar results.
Able to Swim AgainWatch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
In fact one lady wrote to me about her inability to swim indoors due to her asthma. She was a competitive swimmer in her younger years and had to stop swimming because of severe breathing problems from asthma caused by the air in the pool. She heard about the sphagnum moss treated pools and how people could swim without using their inhalers so she tried swimming again. She reported that she could do a full workout without breathing problems and thanked me for “giving her back her favorite sport”.
With a little research the relationship between recreational and home water, chlorine and asthma became clear.
The Chemical Reactions
Here is what happens when we use chlorine to sanitize water in a pool or in our municipal water supply. As it turns out chlorine is not the problem. A byproduct of chlorine and biological molecules that contain nitrogen is the formation chloramines. These chloramines come in many different forms such as mono, di, and trichloramines. One of these compounds, a molecule called trinitrochlorine, has been implicated in causing airway irritation.
Trinitrochlorine is a volatile molecule that is extremely irritating to tissues such as your eyes, skin and airways. Because the molecule is volatile, it rises to the surface of water and is easily inhaled. In fact, in a pool, the levels of trichloronitrate are highest in the air right on top of the water. So every time a swimmer takes a breath, they inhale an irritant that causes airway constriction called reactive airway disease. The smell we all associate with a chlorine pool is actually the smell of the multiple species of chloamines, not chlorine. The problem is that chlorine is so reactive, it immediately finds and combines with nitrogen containing compounds to create chloramines.
Correlation between Pools and Asthma
A recent study reported in the pediatric literature, showed that children who are repeatedly exposed to swimming pools have a significantly higher incidence of reactive airway disease or asthma, than those who aren’t exposed to pools.
In our research laboratory, we are currently studying why the pools treated with PoolNaturally® Plus don’t cause this reactive airway response, skin irritation, or burning eyes and don’t smell. We know that for chlorine to become trichloronitrate you need chlorine, nitrogen containing biological molecules and a low pH. It could be that the amount of organic contamination in the pool correlates with the amount of trichloronitrate because organic contamination contains and produces huge amounts of nitrogen containing molecules and it creates a local microenvironment that has a very low pH. It could therefore be the “engine” that drives the formation of these toxic molecules. In the laboratory we know that the moss in PoolNaturally® Plus inhibits the formation of organic contamination and if our hypothesis is correct it could greatly reduce the formation of chlorine to trichloronitrate by removing the primary nitrogen source, the organic contamination.