The old adage “keep your head above water” may not be the best advice when it comes to swimming in indoor pools.
Currently, little is known about the chlorine-based chemicals used to treat pools and their off-gassing rates into the surrounding air, which is inhaled by both spectators and swimmers.
Research to ensure the proper amount of ventilation is used to remove or dilute those pollutants is being conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
ASHRAE approved funding totaling $1,010,768 for 11 research projects in the areas of energy conservation, operating and maintenance tools, indoor air quality, comfort and health, design tools and refrigeration systems at its 2004 Winter Meeting.
Among them is 1083-RP, Chemical Off-Gassing From Indoor Swimming Pools. Richard Cavestri, Ph.D., Imagination Resources, Dublin, OH, will serve as principal investigator. The project is expected to take one year to complete with ASHRAE contributing $98,420.
Because little or no data exists on the chlorine-based chemicals, it is unknown whether the amount of ventilation air supplied to the pool enclosure is sufficient to remove the pollutants emitted by the water, according to Reinhold Kittler, a member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 8.10, Mechanical Dehumidification Equipment and Heat Pipes, which is sponsoring the project.
The project will identify the major pollutants, which may represent a health hazard and classify that hazard to human exposure. It also will focus on proper pool treatment based on bather loads and their activities.
“In the past, high ventilation rates simply covered up poor pool water treatment methods,” Kittler said. “This project will investigate the complex chemical reaction that takes place when pool water chemicals kill the pollutants in the water. The pollutants in the air are the result of what is going on in the water.”
It will involve testing of 10 pools, including community pools with waterslides and fountains, those in fitness centers, and pools at universities or community facilities suitable for swim competitions.
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