Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Pooling Data on Pools: Genotoxicity of Chemicals in Indoor Swimming Pools

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Pooling Data on Pools: Genotoxicity of Chemicals in Indoor Swimming Pools

Article excerpt

Disinfection by-products (DBPs) form in swimming pool water from reactions between disinfectants such as chlorine and organic matter such as sweat, skin cells, and urine. A new study described in a set of three articles provides the first comprehensive characterization of DBPs in an indoor pool environment and offers initial evidence of cellular-level effects of these chemicals in swimmers in an indoor chlorinated pool [EHP 118(11):1523-1530; Richardson et al.; EHP 118(11):1531-1537, Kogevinas et al; EHP 118(11):1538-l544, Font-Ribera et al.].

The authors assessed short-term changes in 49 healthy adults after they swam for 40 minutes in a public indoor chlorinated pool. They observed increases in two biomarkers of genotoxicity relative to the concentration of brominated trihalomethanes (THMs) in exhaled breath, which were used as a proxy of the swimmers' total DBP exposures. Those biomarkers were micronuclei in blood lymphocytes (which have been associated with cancer risk in healthy subjects) and urine mutagenicity (a biomarker of exposure to genotoxic agents).

The team also took detailed measurements of THMs in air around the pool and in exhaled breath of the swimmers before and after swimming. The investigators measured several biomarkers of respiratory effects after swimming and found changes in only one--a slight increase in serum CC16, which suggests an increase in lung epithelium permeability. …

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