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Determination of nitrogen trichloride (NCl3) levels in the air of indoor chlorinated swimming pools: an impinger method proposal

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The quality of the environmental air from indoor swimming pools has been associated with various health risks. Particular attention has focused on the effects of chronic lung exposure to chlorine and its by-products, especially in young children. We developed a simple, non-toxic approach to detect and monitor nitrogen trichloride air levels in the indoor swimming pool environment. The proposed Impinger Method (IM) was used to measure the environmental levels of nitrogen trichloride (NCl3) in 17 indoor swimming pools located in Northern Italy. This new analytical protocol is based on a colorimetric reaction commonly employed to detect the total and free chlorine levels in water. Specifically, IM allows the entrapment of NCl3 into a water solution containing diethyl-p-phenylenediamine (DPD 1) and Potassium Iodide (DPD 3). NCl3 from the air environment reacts with DPD 3 releasing iodine, which reacts with DPD 1 and produces a coloration proportional to the amount of NCl3 from the sampled indoor swimming pool air. Our sampling of the monitored swimming pool environments evidenced a mean NCl3 level (637 ± 220 µg/m3) higher than the recommended WHO value (500 µg/m3). The IM was validated in terms of linearity (R 2 = 0.996), limit of detection (3.6 µg/m3) and repeatability (CV = 1.7%), demonstrating easy-to-use characteristics, good efficiency and low cost.
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Keywords: chloramines; colorimetric DPD analyses; impinger method; indoor swimming pool; nitrogen trichloride

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Public Health Sciences,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Via G. Campi, 287 – 41125 Modena, Italy

Publication date: May 15, 2012

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