Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Swimming pool urine combines with chlorine to pose health risks

Date:
April 1, 2014
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
A new study shows how uric acid in urine generates potentially hazardous 'volatile disinfection byproducts" in swimming pools by interacting with chlorine, and researchers are advising swimmers to observe "improved hygiene habits.'

A new study shows how uric acid in urine generates potentially hazardous "volatile disinfection byproducts" in swimming pools by interacting with chlorine, and researchers are advising swimmers to observe "improved hygiene habits."

Chlorination is used primarily to prevent pathogenic microorganisms from growing. The disinfection byproducts include cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCl3). Cyanogen chloride is a toxic compound that affects many organs, including the lungs, heart and central nervous system by inhalation. Trichloramine has been associated with acute lung injury in accidental, occupational or recreational exposures to chlorine-based disinfectants.

Researchers had already known that certain airborne contaminants are created when chlorine reacts with sweat and urine in indoor swimming pools. The new findings show definitively that uric acid from urine is "an efficient precursor to the formation of CNCl and NCl3," said Jing Li, a visiting scholar from the China Agricultural University working at Purdue University with Ernest R. Blatchley III, a professor of civil engineering.

"Given that uric acid introduction to pools is attributable to urination, the findings indicate important benefits to pool water and air chemistry that could result from improved hygiene habits on the part of swimmers," Blatchley said. "A common misconception within the swimming community is that urination in pools is an acceptable practice, although signs and placards are posted in many pools to encourage proper hygiene. It is also well known that many swimmers ignore these warnings, particularly noteworthy among these are competitive swimmers."

The findings are detailed in a research paper that appeared in February in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The paper was authored by Blatchley and China Agricultural University researchers Lushi Lian, Yue E and Li.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented cases in which people became ill after breathing contaminants at improperly maintained indoor swimming pools. Of particular concern are nitrogen-containing disinfection byproducts, which are more likely than other byproducts to be carcinogenic and to cause cell damage.

The new findings suggest more than 90 percent of uric acid introduced to pools comes from human urine. The researchers analyzed swimming pool water samples, combined with the results of experiments involving chlorination of uric acid and body-fluidlike mixtures. The Purdue researchers used an analytical technique called membrane introduction mass spectrometry to identify and measure the volatile disinfection byproducts.

The research was funded by the Chinese Universities Scientific Fund, China's National Natural Science Foundation and the National Swimming Pool Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lushi Lian, Yue E, Jing Li, Ernest R. Blatchley. Volatile Disinfection Byproducts Resulting from Chlorination of Uric Acid: Implications for Swimming Pools. Environmental Science & Technology, 2014; 48 (6): 3210 DOI: 10.1021/es405402r

Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Swimming pool urine combines with chlorine to pose health risks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401122403.htm>.
Purdue University. (2014, April 1). Swimming pool urine combines with chlorine to pose health risks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401122403.htm
Purdue University. "Swimming pool urine combines with chlorine to pose health risks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401122403.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


An Answer to the Perennial Question: Is It Safe to Pee in the Pool?

Mar. 26, 2014 Sanitary-minded pool-goers who preach 'no peeing in the pool,' despite ordinary and Olympic swimmers admitting to the practice, now have scientific evidence to back up their concern. ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins