Occupational Exposure to Trichloramine and Trihalomethanes in Swedish Indoor Swimming Pools: Evaluation of Personal and Stationary Monitoring

Ann Occup Hyg. 2015 Oct;59(8):1074-84. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mev045. Epub 2015 Jul 7.


Introduction: Chlorination is a method commonly used to keep indoor swimming pool water free from pathogens. However, chlorination of swimming pools produces several potentially hazardous by-products as the chlorine reacts with nitrogen containing organic matter. Up till now, exposure assessments in indoor swimming pools have relied on stationary measurements at the poolside, used as a proxy for personal exposure. However, measurements at fixed locations are known to differ from personal exposure.

Methods: Eight public swimming pool facilities in four Swedish cities were included in this survey. Personal and stationary sampling was performed during day or evening shift. Samplers were placed at different fixed positions around the pool facilities, at ~1.5 m above the floor level and 0-1 m from the poolside. In total, 52 personal and 110 stationary samples of trichloramine and 51 personal and 109 stationary samples of trihalomethanes, were collected.

Results: The average concentration of trichloramine for personal sampling was 71 µg m(-3), ranging from 1 to 240 µg m(-3) and for stationary samples 179 µg m(-3), ranging from 1 to 640 µg m(-3). The air concentrations of chloroform were well below the occupational exposure limit (OEL). For the linear regression analysis and prediction of personal exposure to trichloramine from stationary sampling, only data from personal that spent >50% of their workday in the pool area were included. The linear regression analysis showed a correlation coefficient (r2) of 0.693 and a significant regression coefficient β of 0.621; (95% CI = 0.329-0.912, P = 0.001).

Conclusion: The trichloramine exposure levels determined in this study were well below the recommended air concentration level of 500 µg m(-3); a WHO reference value based on stationary sampling. Our regression data suggest a relation between personal exposure and area sampling of 1:2, implying an OEL of 250 µg m(-3) based on personal sampling.

Keywords: exposure assessment; exposure assessment methodology; trichloramine; trihalomethanes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Chlorides / adverse effects
  • Chlorides / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Nitrogen Compounds / adverse effects
  • Nitrogen Compounds / analysis*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Sweden
  • Swimming Pools*
  • Trihalomethanes / adverse effects
  • Trihalomethanes / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Chlorides
  • Nitrogen Compounds
  • Trihalomethanes
  • nitrogen chloride