New Study Will Help Pool Operators Understand How to Best Improve Indoor Air Quality at Public Pools

SOURCE: Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code

More and more swimmers are flocking to indoor pools and waterparks for physical activity and fun, especially during the cold months of winter and early spring. As the use of indoor pools, water parks, and other indoor facilities with aquatic attractions continues to rise, so does the chance that disinfection byproducts (DBPs) will form in the water. DBPs can be harmful and cause illness in swimmers and spectators. Researchers are launching a new study to understand the best ways to prevent the build-up of DBPs in these venues.

DBPs are formed when the chlorine used in pools to kill germs binds to the body waste swimmers bring into the pools (for example, sweat and urine). When DBPs build up in the water, they can escape into the air over the pool. DBPs that build up in the air can accumulate near the water’s surface, where swimmers and spectators can breathe them in. Whether or not this happens may depend in part on the characteristics of the facility’s air handling system. Between 2000 and 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 22 outbreaks and more than 1000 cases of illness linked to DBPs, excess chlorine, or altered pool chemistry at public aquatic facilities.

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