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Countless articles have been written and papers delivered in recent times regarding the adverse health issues associated with exposure to chlorine such as eczema, sinus infections, inflammation of ears and eyes and of course asthma. In 2001, lung disease expert Alfred Bernard told a conference at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium that exposure to chlorine fumes, particularly in a closed-in environment, can damage lung walls and trigger asthma.

Other experts were not so sure. However, a report in the June 7 2003 edition of the global science and technology weekly, NEW SCIENTIST provided telling new evidence. A survey of 1,881 students in Brussels revealed a stronger link between asthma and swimming in a chlorinated pool than with other accepted factors such as pet ownership, or exposure to second-hand smoke.

The article reports that you donít even have to be in the water to be affected. Toxic gases such as nitrogen trichloride, which is generated when chlorine reacts with organic chemicals in sweat and urine, can build up in the surrounding air. This places indoor pool users particularly, at risk.

The city of Brussels has recently passed a law requiring pool air to have less than 300 micrograms of nitrogen chloride per cubic metre. However such laws are tricky to enforce, and it makes more sense to remove, or significantly reduce, the proximate cause of the problem, Chlorine.