A new study is the first to provide a comprehensive characterization of the effects of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in an indoor pool environment. It found that swimming in indoor chlorinated pools may induce DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
DBPs form from reactions between disinfectants and organic matter. Previous studies have found an association between DBPs in drinking water and bladder cancer.
The new study looked at close to 50 healthy adults after they swam for 40 minutes in the chlorinated pool. The researchers found increases in two genotoxicity biomarkers associated with cancer risk.
“… the authors identified more than 100 DBPs in the pool waters, some never reported previously in swimming pool water and/or chlorinated drinking water. In vitro assays showed that the swimming pool water was mutagenic at levels similar to that of drinking water but was more cytotoxic (can kill cells at a lower concentration) than drinking water.”