Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies (DSHEFS), Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA.
CDC/NIOSH responded to a request to investigate complaints of eye and respiratory irritation among workers in a poultry processing facility's evisceration department.
Investigators administered symptom questionnaires and sampled for chlorine and chloramines. Spirometry was performed on workers before and after their work shift.
Symptoms were significantly more prevalent in evisceration workers than in dark meat workers (a control group). Air concentrations of chloramine compounds (i.e., trichloramine and 'soluble chlorine') were significantly higher in the evisceration area than the dark meat area. Exposure levels were significantly higher for employees reporting various symptoms compared to employees not reporting those symptoms. Mean trichloramine exposure concentrations were significantly higher in workers with significant cross-shift declines in lung function; air concentrations of 'soluble chlorine' were higher as well, however, not significantly so.
Results of this evaluation suggest a health hazard may exist from exposure to chloramines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disinfection is mandatory for swimming pools: public pools are usually disinfected by gaseous chlorine or sodium hypochlorite and cartridge filters; home pools typically use stabilized chlorine. These methods produce a variety of disinfection byproducts (DBPs), such as trihalomethanes (THMs), which are regulated carcinogenic DBPs in drinking water that have been detected in the blood and breath of swimmers and of nonswimmers at indoor pools. Also produced are halogenated acetic acids (HAAs) and haloketones, which irritate the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes; trichloramine, which is linked with swimming-pool-associated asthma; and halogenated derivatives of UV sun screens, some of which show endocrine effects. Precursors of DBPs include human body substances, chemicals used in cosmetics and sun screens, and natural organic matter. Analytical research has focused also on the identification of an additional portion of unknown DBPs using gas chromatography (GC)/mass spectrometry (MS) and liquid chromatography (LC)/MS/MS with derivatization. Children swimmers have an increased risk of developing asthma and infections of the respiratory tract and ear. A 1.6-2.0-fold increased risk for bladder cancer has been associated with swimming or showering/bathing with chlorinated water. Bladder cancer risk from THM exposure (all routes combined) was greatest among those with the GSTT1-1 gene. This suggests a mechanism involving distribution of THMs to the bladder by dermal/inhalation exposure and activation there by GSTT1-1 to mutagens. DBPs may be reduced by engineering and behavioral means, such as applying new oxidation and filtration methods, reducing bromide and iodide in the source water, increasing air circulation in indoor pools, and assuring the cleanliness of swimmers. The positive health effects gained by swimming can be increased by reducing the potential adverse health risks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although chlorine and most of its derivates are known toxic agents, it has been pronounced as a safe disinfec-tant for water treatments. More detailed analyses and extended studies concerning chlorine safety have only started re-cently. The objective of this article was to review data on the use of chlorine in pool environments, the resulting chlorina-tion by-products in these environments and their potential effects on allergic and respiratory health in humans. The MEDLINE database search comprised articles from 1966 to August 2006. Additional studies were identified by searching references of already published articles. A total of twenty-one studies evaluating effects of chlorine and its by-products on allergic or respiratory health were included in the analysis. Exposure to chlorination by-products through swimming pool attendance showed adverse health effects on children, subjects occupationally exposed, athletic swimmers and asthmatic subjects. These adverse effects were seen despite the presence of official directives in most countries to control and regulate the use of chlorine for water disinfection. Contact to chlorination by-products might not be the lead-ing reason for poor respiratory health, but might not be as harmless as earlier thought. In particular, baby swimming in chlorinated pools is highly questionable.
Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews 02/2007; 3(1). DOI:10.2174/157339807779941839
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