Public pool disinfectants link to health problems

Splashing around in a swimming pool on a hot summer day may not be as safe as you think. A recent University of Illinois study links the application of disinfectants in recreational pools to previously published adverse health outcomes such as asthma and bladder cancer.

Each year, 339 million visits take place at pools and water parks across the United States. Not only is swimming fun, but it’s also the second most popular form of exercise in the country. Because of this, disinfection of recreational pools is critical to prevent outbreaks of infectious disease. However, Michael Plewa, U of I professor of genetics, said negative outcomes can occur when disinfection byproducts form reactions with organic matter in pool water…

All sources of water possess organic matter that comes from decaying leaves, microbes and other dead life forms,” Plewa said. “In addition to organic matter and disinfectants, pool waters contain sweat, hair, skin, urine, and consumer products such as cosmetics and sunscreens from swimmers…”

In this study, collections from public pools and a control sample of tap water were evaluated to identify recreational water conditions that could be harmful to your health…

The study compared different disinfection methods and environmental conditions. Results proved that all disinfected pool samples exhibited more genomic DNA damage than the source tap water, Plewa said.

You never know when someone is peeing down the other end of the pool.

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