Swimmers are exposed to chemicals through three different routes."You can inhale, you can ingest and it can go through your skin. So, the exposure you receive in a swimming pool setting is potentially much more extensive than the exposure you would receive by just one route alone," said Ernest R. Blatchley III, professor at the Purdue University in the US.
Previous research has shown that many constituents of urine including urea, uric acid and amino acids, interact with chlorine to produce potentially hazardous disinfection byproducts in swimming pools. However, chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal care products also could be interacting with chlorine, producing potentially harmful byproducts.
"There are literally thousands of chemicals from pharmaceuticals and personal care products that could be getting into swimming pool water," Blatchley III added. The team used an analytical technique developed by Ching-Hua Huang, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, that identified and quantified 32 pharmaceuticals and personal care products in water.
The findings were detailed in a research paper that appeared in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.