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Abington Heights Swimming Pool Closed For Chloramine Risk

Concerned parents present chloramine study to school board, cause temporary pool closure

Officials have closed a swimming pool at Abington Heights High School for possible air-quality dangers after children who swam there began suffering respiratory problems.

The move came one day after concerned parents voiced fears for their children’s safety to the Abington Heights School Board. At the meeting, parents presented a research paper by a national expert on the chloramines risk of indoor pools.

The high school facility was used for meets by the varsity swim team. It was also a practice facility for younger children.

School officials said they were closing the pool as a “precautionary measure.”

Following is from The Scranton Times-Tribune:

At the school board meeting on Wednesday, a number of parents shared stories of how their children had difficulty breathing after and throughout swim practice – some saying their kids had to stop halfway through to walk into the hallway and catch their breath.

Parents pointed to an excess of chloramine fumes, irritants that can cause skin, eye and respiratory problems, a report handed out by one parent said. The report, “Clearing the Air: Chloramine Control for Indoor Swimming Pools,” is by Tom Griffiths, Ed.D., president of the Aquatic Safety Research Group.

Reached by phone Thursday, Dr. Griffiths said chloramines form because chlorine is “attracted” to urine, perspiration, body oils and other organic wastes.

“It turns into gas, and it hangs on the surface of the water, so when swimmers take deep breaths they inhale it,” Dr. Griffiths said. “It’s the No. 1 problem for indoor pools that have swim teams or are heavily used.”

Apparently, there is no solution to completely eliminate the problem of chloramines in indoor pools. But Dr. Griffiths cited two solutions that should “significantly reduce” a number of chloramines at the surface level:

  • Adding an ultraviolet light. This reduces chloramines by breaking them down into water, carbon dioxide and salts.
  • Installing an evacuator. This is an add-on device to a standard ventilation system that sits at the water surface level and reduces the level of gasses.

School superintendent Michael Mahon said the board has commissioned an air-quality test to be conducted at the pool. The results of that test will be made public.

Source: The Scranton Times-Tribune

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