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May 2000 Vol. 26, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Pollen in Your Tank?

from the May, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

When we strap on a tank, we have put our trust in the guy who runs the compressor; we presume he knows enough to keep the air intake away from any source of contamination — exhaust, paint fumes, you name it.

But now there’s another culprit, and for people with hay fever, it’s especially dangerous.

Twice a European diver with allergies experienced serious asthma attacks underwater from a tank filled “from a certified air compressor in an open seaside area containing abundant grasses.” After the incidents, technicians tested allergic responses to air obtained from this compressor during pollen season against air obtained during other seasons and found that “only the air and air extracts of the tank series conducted during pollen season induced a positive response” in the tests.

They warn that divers with allergies should be aware of the problem and suggest that “tanks be filled in protected areas during pollen season.” (18 January 2000 Annals of Internal Medicine, Corrado Astanta, MD D. Gargano, MD P A Martino, MD The Second University of Naples School of Medicine 80131 Naples, Italy)

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