KEY Health Facts You Need to Know if You Have or Use a Pool
December 26, 2009
Unlike tap water distribution systems, pool water is recirculated every six to eight hours. During this time, swimmers’ activities can introduce a broad range of organic pollutants that can react with disinfectants.
When chlorine reacts with these precursors, a variety of chemical reactions take place, including the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Chlorinated DBPs can promote respiratory ailments. Standard pool filtration systems are ineffective at removing the precursors.
Researchers have recently made progress in developing a sensitive new technique to measure DBPs. It is called membrane introduction mass spectroscopy, or MIMS. Using this technique, scientists evaluated compounds released during reactions of chlorine with four organic compounds known to be introduced by swimmers. The results showed that the common compounds contributed to the formation of trichloramine and other DBPs.
The researchers then went on to look at the distribution of disinfection byproducts in 11 types of indoor pools, and found that more than three-quarters of the pools had inorganic combined chlorine concentrations that exceeded National Swimming Pool Foundation guidelines.