Pools and Hot Tubs – Does Science Support Pool Water Exposure Causes Cancer or Asthma?

If something was published in scientific literature 50 years ago, you  simply go online (or have a librarian) go online to find the paper.  The upside is that scientific, scholarly  publications never go away!  This is an  awesome thing since today’s scientists can determine the edge of scientific  knowledge and push forward. This reduces wasteful duplication.  The down side is that scientific, scholarly  publications never go away!

How prosperous do you think the pool and spa industry will be in  10 years if every year a handful of publications come out that “suggest”  exposure to pool water (or the air above an indoor pool) may cause cancer or  asthma?  I emphasize the word “MAY!”  Not that it does, it just “may.” That has  been going on for several years; it is not likely to stop. Many of the studies  did not have any information on how the pool was operated (disinfectant level,  type, bather load, filter type, fresh air make up, …). Pretty scary stuff to  have people making life decisions based on a research protocol that can’t be  duplicated.

This year, NSPF jointly funded researchers to develop a questionnaire to  make sure future researchers ask the right questions and give information about  the pool used in the research. With that information, we can start formulating  solutions – rather than being falsely labeled as “bad.”  This questionnaire will be presented at the 2012 World Aquatic Health™  Conference (WAHC). Five leading scientists from around the world (Reynolds – U of  AZ, Blatchley – Purdue, Kogevinas & Villanueva -Barcelona, & Plewa -U  of IL) will help us all understand reality from “news hype” on the relationship  between disinfection by-products and health.

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3 Comments to Pools and Hot Tubs – Does Science Support Pool Water Exposure Causes Cancer or Asthma?

  1. Karen Cannady
    May 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Great post. All pools must be sanitized and that’s why I offer the copper ionization system. It eliminates the need for chlorine and the disinfection byproducts caused by chlorine.

    • May 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Copper has been proposed for use in swimming pools from the beginning of my career. My experience to date, indicates that copper as a water treatment approach is not a solution I would recommend for a commercial swimming pool applications. Most if not all health department’s including the proposed language in the Disinfection and Water Quality MAHC require traditional minimum chlorine or bromine levels be maintained. Ionization products that make claims about 100% chlorine are doing this without the sanction and approval of the US Environmental Protection Agency. This approach was popular in the mid 1990’s and since that time we have not seen this approach used in the commercial markets.

  2. May 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Please remember that no copper product is registered with the EPA as a stand-alone disinfectant – to my knowledge. Any product in the US that claims to mitigate a pest (e.g. kill bacteria, inactivate viruses, etc) is required by federal law (FIFRA) to be registered with the EPA. Thus, one may want to consult one’s attorney before one promote a product that does not satisfy this federal law. This applies for residential and public pools or any other application.

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