Source: National Swimming Pool Foundation

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, December 8, 2011-Over the past seven years, the board of directors of the National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) has given back over 4 million dollars to fund research to demonstrate health benefits and to reduce injury and disease in and around the water.

This year, the National Swimming Pool Foundation board has awarded four grants totaling $180,995. One health benefit grant was awarded to Utah State University and three injury prevention grants were awarded to University of Arizona, Purdue University, and the University North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC). These grants will sustain ongoing research supported by NSPF in recent years and embark on new research. Industry partners Research Foundation for Health and Environmental Effects, a non-profit organization founded by the American Chemistry Council, and leading UV manufacturer, Engineered Treatment Systems LLC, donated to specific grants.

The board maintains its commitment to encourage increased aquatic activity through funding evidence-based research. "We refuse to allow the economy to deter us from promoting aquatics," remarked Bill Kent, retiring Chairman of the NSPF Grant Review Committee. "The science eliminates the bad things and discovers the good things that show how getting in water benefits humankind," he added.

Health Benefit Research - OsteoarthritisAccording to the Arthritis Foundation, about 27 million people in the U.S. suffer from osteoarthritis (OA). At the recent World Aquatic Health ConferenceTM, researchers Dennis Dolny, Ph.D. (left) and Eadric Bressel, Ph.D., (right) Utah State University, reported on a two-year study funded by NSPF, pioneering the use of aquatic interval training for people with OA. "This is a significant study to establish guidelines for using an underwater treadmill to improve mobility and movement with less swelling and discomfort," explained Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation. "Early results are encouraging, and we are optimistic that a larger statistical group will result in similar findings." These researchers have been awarded a grant of $15,552 to continue to pursue this research as they examine the improvements in osteoarthritis sufferers.

Injury Prevention GrantsSeveral high-profile studies have suggested that exposure to aquatic environments may increase risk of asthma, cancer and other serious diseases. These studies often lack information on how the pools were managed and treated, and details of swimmer exposure. As a result, it is impossible to apply the findings to other pools or to reproduce and verify the studies. Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., University of Arizona, has been awarded a grant of $65,459 to develop standardized questions that researchers can use when performing a health impact study. "Defining the problem is a big part of finding a solution," commented Dr. Lachocki. "The more thorough the studies, the more impactful the solutions." Non-profit Research Foundation for Health and Environmental Effects has partnered with the National Swimming Pool Foundation on this landmark project.

The NSPF is also funding work to understand and define the chemistry of disinfection byproduct (DBP) formation in chlorinated, indoor pools. Ernest Blatchley III, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, Purdue University, was awarded a grant of $75,000 as the first step in a three-year program to research combined UV and chlorine swimming pool water disinfection methods. The research will examine the effects of combined treatment on water and air chemistry in chlorinated, indoor pool settings. The grant, managed and administered under the NSPF industrial research grants category, includes donations from the Research Foundation for Health and Environmental Effects and one leading UV manufacturer, Engineered Treatment Systems LLC. The goal of this work is to give industry, regulators, facility operators and management a better understanding of swimming pool disinfection byproduct chemistry and technology options for their control, including Cryptosporidium inactivation. In turn this information will be helpful in reducing human exposure to DBPs in recreational water facilities. Questions about this project should be directed to Professor Blatchley (blatch@purdue.edu).

Acute recreational water illnesses prevention also remains an important area of research. In September 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 72 percent increase in outbreaks 2005-2006 versus the prior two-year period. This is a record number of outbreaks since the CDC began monitoring recreational water illness. Nearly half the outbreaks were caused by the parasite, Cryptosporidium (Crypto). Reversing this trend will require improvements in swimming pool disinfection and operation, pool regulations and enforcement, and swimmer hygiene. In recent years, James Amburgey, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) through NSPF grants, has made significant advances in understanding pool water filtration and its impact on Crypto removal. Dr. Amburgey has been awarded a grant of $24,984 to create a bather load model and assess the impact of bather load on Cryptosporidium-sized microspheres.

In addition to research the NSPF has funded directly to Dr. Amburgey's team, the foundation also manages and administers an industrial research grant studying filtration and removal of Crypto. Industrial research grants enable multiple organizations to partner to fund key projects. This specific industrial research grant may exceed $200,000, raised through industry donations. Dr. Amburgey has directed $25,000 of the grant to the CDC to assist in performing research. The goal of the research is to develop better product label instructions, standard operating procedures, and remediation strategies to reduce the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks.

Manufacturers of water clarifiers, filter aids, and advanced filter designs wishing to join the fight against Crypto outbreaks in pools should contact Dr. Amburgey directly at jeamburg@uncc.edu to explore whether testing their products would be beneficial.

Understanding and controlling the chemistry, microbiology, engineering and management will yield safer environments. "The better we understand the issues, the better we are positioned to ensure future growth," said Dr. Lachocki. "The great news is anyone can help support this work by simply investing in their own knowledge with purchase of NSPF educational materials and programs," he concluded.

Research results are reported at the annual World Aquatic Health Conference, next year in Norfolk, Virginia, October 10-12. Seminars from prior conferences are available online, on demand at www.nspf.org.

NSPF accepts grant, scholarship and fellowship applications annually by June 1, respectively. Complete guidelines for applying may be found at www.nspf.org or by calling Margaret Smith at 719-540-9119.

About NSPFThe National Swimming Pool Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1965, dedicated to improving public health worldwide and is the leading educator of aquatic facility operators and pool and spa professionals, and the chief philanthropic research sponsor in the aquatics field. NSPF works towards its mission to encourage healthier living by increasing aquatic activity through education and research with its growing collection of multi-lingual educational products, certification and training, and sponsors the annual World Aquatic HealthTM Conference, now in its 9th year.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.