Science News
from research organizations

Hot tubs and swimming pools are not as clean as you may think

Date:
May 18, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Whether water is hot in a tub or cold in a pool, it can bring immediate relief from stress or summer heat. But hot tubs and swimming pools are not always as clean as you might think, even when disinfected. Scientists have found that the more these facilities are used, the more potentially harmful compounds they contain.
Share:
FULL STORY

Whether water is hot in a tub or cold in a pool, it can bring immediate relief from stress or summer heat. But hot tubs and swimming pools are not always as clean as you might think, even when disinfected. In a new study in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, scientists have found that the more these facilities are used, the more potentially harmful compounds they contain.

Disinfectants such as chlorine kill pathogens in hot tubs and swimming pools, whether they are personal or public facilities. But disinfectants also react with sweat, urine and other substances that users add to the water. Studies of swimming pools have identified many of the resulting compounds, called disinfection byproducts. And testing has shown that they can cause genetic damage to cells in lab settings. Other reports have found that some people who swim or work in and around pools have higher rates of certain health problems, including respiratory symptoms and bladder cancer. Susan D. Richardson and colleagues took a closer look at hot tubs, in addition to pools, to help flesh out potential problems with disinfection byproducts.

The researchers sampled water from public and private hot tubs and pools from tap to basin, and after both normal and intense use. They identified more than 100 disinfection byproducts in the water and tested extracts of the samples for their potential to cause genetic damage to cells in the lab. On average, pool and hot tub samples were 2.4 and 4.1 times more mutagenic, respectively, than the original tap water used to fill them.

Heavy use increased mutagenic potencies further. But, the researchers say, pool and hot tub operators could reduce disinfection byproducts by cleaning facilities and changing water more frequently. In addition, they could encourage swimmers to shower before sliding in and to use toilets when needed.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric J. Daiber, David M. DeMarini, Sridevi A. Ravuri, Hannah K. Liberatore, Amy A. Cuthbertson, Alexis Thompson-Klemish, Jonathan D. Byer, Judith E. Schmid, Mehrnaz Z. Afifi, Ernest R. Blatchley, Susan D. Richardson. Progressive Increase in Disinfection Byproducts and Mutagenicity from Source to Tap to Swimming Pool and Spa Water: Impact of Human Inputs. Environmental Science & Technology, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00808

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Hot tubs and swimming pools are not as clean as you may think." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160518120252.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, May 18). Hot tubs and swimming pools are not as clean as you may think. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160518120252.htm
American Chemical Society. "Hot tubs and swimming pools are not as clean as you may think." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160518120252.htm (accessed May 27, 2017).

RELATED STORIES