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Chemical Reactions Can Create Health Hazards in Pools, Hot Tubs

When disinfectants combine with sweat, personal care products, urine, dangerous byproducts can form


THURSDAY, June 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The disinfectants used to keep pools clean can create dangerous disinfection byproducts (DBPs) when combined with sweat, personal care products, and urine, according to research published online April 28 in Environmental Science & Technology.

Susan Richardson, Ph.D., of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues tested water samples from public and private pools and hot tubs, after both normal and intense use.

The researchers found more than 100 DBPs -- some of which are known to be mutagenic. On average, the researchers found tap water to be cleaner than disinfected pool water samples, which were twice as mutagenic. And, hot tub samples were four times as mutagenic, Richardson told HealthDay, "because the warmer temperatures increase the reaction rate, forming these DBPs faster."

"These data provide evidence that human precursors can increase mutagenic potencies of pools and spas and that this increase is associated with increased DBP concentrations," the authors write.

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