IWA Publishing

Ingestion of swimming pool water by recreational swimmers

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The volume of water ingested by swimmers while swimming is of great interest to individuals who develop risk assessments using quantitative microbial risk assessment or epidemiological approaches. We have used chloroisocyanurate disinfected swimming pool waters to determine the amount of water swallowed by swimmers during swimming activity. The chloroisocyanurate, which is in equilibrium with chlorine and cyanuric acid in the pool water, provides a biomarker, cyanuric acid, that once swallowed passes through the body into the urine unchanged. The concentration of cyanuric acid in a 24 hour urine specimen and the concentration in pool water can be used to calculate the amount of water swallowed. Our study population of 549 participants, which was about evenly divided by gender, and young and adult swimmers, indicated that swimmers ingest about 32 mL per hour (arithmetic mean) and that children swallowed about four times as much water as adults during swimming activities. It was also observed that males had a tendency to swallow more water than females during swimming activity and that children spent about twice as much time in the water than adults.

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