Keeping the water in swimming pools free of disease is mission-critical for pool owners and operators, but some have raised concerns over possible connections between the chemicals used to treat pool water and respiratory disease.
Specifically, a team of Belgian researchers published papers showing a link between attendance at chlorinated swimming pools and some respiratory risks—particularly asthma.
This study has faced scrutiny, and the Belgian Superior Health Council recently issued its own scientific opinion, concluding that the papers did not provide enough evidence to make the connection between chlorinated-pool attendance and asthma. The experts who make up the Health Council reported that they had found several flaws in the study descriptions, and also noted that the results had not been confirmed by other researchers.
Other evaluations of the research have turned up similar conclusions.
The Health Council still called the research valuable, but warned that no conclusion would yet be drawn. In an English transcript of the official document, the team writes, “A relationship between swimming pool attendance and childhood asthma has not been confirmed, but cannot yet be excluded.”
More research obviously needs to be conducted, but it is also worthwhile to point out that numerous studies have also found a wide variety of health benefits associated with swimming. (Click here for links to various articles explaining these benefits.)