Asthma in Children Associated w/ Chlorine Exposure
Methods: We have examined the relationships between the prevalences of wheezing by written or video questionnaire, of ever asthma, hay fever, rhinitis and atopic eczema as reported by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) and the number of indoor chlorinated swimming pools per inhabitant in the studied centres. Associations with geoclimatic variables, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and several other lifestyle indicators were also evaluated.
Results: Among children aged 13 to 14 years, the prevalence of wheezing by written questionnaire, of wheezing by video questionnaire and of ever asthma across Europe increased respectively by 3.39% (95% CI 1.96-4.81), 0.96% (95% CI 0.28 to 1.64) and 2.73% (95% CI 1.94-3.52) with an increase of one indoor chlorinated pool per 100,000 inhabitants. Similar increases were found when analyzing separately centres in Western or Northern Europe and for ever asthma in Southern Europe. In children aged 6 to 7 years (33 centres), the prevalence of ever asthma also increased with swimming pool availability (1.47%; 95% CI 0.21-2.74). These consistent associations were not found with other atopic diseases and were independent of the influence of altitude, climate and GDP per capita.
Conclusions: The prevalence of childhood asthma and availability of indoor swimming pools in Europe are linked through associations that are consistent with the hypothesis implicating pool chlorine in the rise of childhood asthma in industrialized countries.
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