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Haloacetic acids in swimming pool and spa water in the United States and China


The objective of this study is to investigate the occurrence of haloacetic acids (HAAs), a group of disinfection byproducts, in swimming pool and spa water. The samples were collected from six indoor pools, six outdoor pools and three spas in Pennsylvania, the United States, and from five outdoor pools and nine indoor pools in Beijing, China. Five HAAs (HAA5), including monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid, and dibromoacetic acid were analyzed. Total chlorine, pH and total organic carbon concentration were analyzed as well. Results indicated that the levels of HAA5 in swimming pools and spas in the United States ranged from 70 to 3980 μg·L−1, with an arithmetic average at 1440 μg·L−1 and a median level at 1150 μg·L−1. These levels are much higher than the levels reported in chlorinated drinking water and are likely due to organic matters released from swimmers’ bodies. The levels of HAA5 in swimming pools in China ranged from 13 to 332 μg·L−1, with an arithmetic average at 117 μg·L−1 and a median level at 114 μg·L−1. The lower HAA levels in swimming pools in China were due to the lower chlorine residuals. Results from this study can help water professionals to better understand the formation and stability of HAAs in chlorinated water and assess risks associated with exposures to HAAs in swimming pools and spas.

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Correspondence to Yuefeng Xie.

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Wang, X., M I, G.L., Zhang, X. et al. Haloacetic acids in swimming pool and spa water in the United States and China. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng. 8, 820–824 (2014).

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  • chlorination
  • disinfection byproduct
  • haloacetic acid
  • swimming pool
  • trihalomethane