Friday, April 18, 2008

Australia's Fear For Athletes Health at Beijing Olympics, Leads to Health Screening

--trends + business + politics--

Fear of air pollution in Beijing is causing more concern amongst officials. The Australian Olympic Committee announced Friday that it is beginning screening its athletes for asthma over fears of dangers with higher than normal pollution levels.

Officials fear that athletes on 2008 team are at high risk, especially those involved in prolonged periods of exercise in the outdoor air, including; triathletes, middle and long distance runners, cyclists, rowers and kayakers, and swimmers, of whom a significant proportion have asthma. Results of tests will be used to support monitoring and the development and implementation of preventative measures put in place prior to the games.

"Many athletes may have underlying mild asthma or exercise-induced asthma, but not be aware of its presence, as the symptoms are 'normal' for that athlete when working hard," said Dr. Karen Holzer, an air quality specialist and a 2008 Australian team doctor.

Beijing is one of the world's most polluted cities. A mix of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide often blankets the city at levels five times higher than World Health Organizations safety standards.

Hard to believe that with all the health concerns for athletes abroad that we have heard nothing about China's own concern for its athletes. Inquiring minds want to know...where in the world (literally) do their athletes train ?

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