Evaluation of eye and respiratory symptoms among employees at an indoor waterpark resort
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Evaluation of eye and respiratory symptoms among employees at an indoor waterpark resort

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      The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a local health department to evaluate symptoms and exposures to chlorine and disinfection byproducts among employees at an indoor waterpark resort. When investigating complaints from waterpark resort patrons, local health department officials became concerned about eye and nose irritation, difficulty breathing, cough, and vomiting among employees. We surveyed employees about work-related symptoms. We evaluated the ventilation systems and indoor environmental quality, and measured contaminants in the air. We found that employees had work-related eye and respiratory symptoms consistent with exposure to chemicals formed when chlorine used to disinfect pool water reacts with materials from swimmers' bodies; the chemicals formed are known as disinfection byproducts. Work-related eye and respiratory symptoms were about 5 times more common among employees who worked in the waterpark than other parts of the resort. We found low concentrations of chloroform in the air samples from the waterpark; also an indicator of potential exposure to disinfection byproducts. Levels of endotoxins and chlorine in the air were low. Water chlorine levels were at or above the waterpark's internal guidelines. The ventilation systems in the waterpark were not operating properly and did not meet current standards and guidelines. Waterpark air temperatures were lower and relative humidity levels were higher than the guidelines recommended. We recommended the waterpark improve the ventilation systems to ensure enough air movement, and proper dilution and removal of air contaminants. The waterpark should train employees (including maintenance staff) on the chemical and biological hazards in the waterpark. The primary focus should start with hazards related to chlorine. Employees should report work-related health concerns to their supervisor.

      Recommended citation for this report:

      NIOSH [2017]. Evaluation of eye and respiratory symptoms among employees at an indoor waterpark resort. By Chiu S, Burton N, Dunn KH. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2015-0148-3272, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2015-


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