Three recent studies link chlorination byproducts to cancer

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From Pool & Spa News (Ben Thomas):

Researchers from the Barcelona-based Centre of Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and Research Institute Hospital del Mar, along with a scientist from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, released three papers that correlate certain byproducts of chlorine sanitizers with bladder cancer. The chemicals are common sanitation byproducts, and the studies have focused on the potential health effects of their presence in the water of indoor pool and spa facilities. One of the papers also finds ties between regular indoor pool use and respiratory problems. The results were headlined in a front-page article on the popular health Website…

The culprit in the cancer issue is the chemical compound class called trihalomethanes, or THMs. Above certain exposure levels, these compounds have been scientifically shown to lead to cancer in people and animals, Lightcap said. “In humans, bladder cancer seems to be the most common manifestation,” [Ed Lightcap, a senior account manager at DuPont Chemical in Wilmington, Deleware] noted. Though water-transmitted THMs have been linked to bladder cancer in previous studies, Lightcap said, “typically [it’s discussed] in relation to shower water. Lately, some research has been focusing on pools, too.”

Several past studies also have correlated asthmatic symptoms and lung damage with inhalation of chloramines in indoor pool environments. Because THMs are byproducts of chlorine sanitization, researchers in one of the studies determined that the presence of THMs in samples of exhaled air indicated the presence of chloramines in those swimmers’ lungs.

The scientists also tracked a certain substance in the body, known as CC16, that can pass from the lungs into the bloodstream at a variable rate. “The more that’s passing through the lung membrane into the blood, the more damage to the liner of the lungs that’s indicating,” Lightcap said.

More water treatment coverage here.

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