May 29, 2013

NSPF Announces Initiatives to Make Pool Water Safer

More funding research and a workshop are planned for 2013

NSPF Funding Research Workshop Urine in Pools

Nonprofit organization the National Swimming Pool Foundation's (NSPF) board of directors announced it is funding the third year of a grant supporting the goal of reducing disinfection byproduct (DBP) formation. The $75,000 grant for 2013, awarded to Purdue University for a project that is being directed by Ernest R. Blatchley III, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, includes support from the Chlorine Chemistry Div. of the American Chemistry Council and a leading ultraviolet (UV) manufacturer, Engineered Treatment Systems LLC. The goal of the research conducted under this grant is to improve understanding of and reduce formation of DBPs, and aligns with the NSPF board’s mission to help keep pools open by continuing to improve pool safety.

Several high-profile studies have been published suggesting that exposure to the chemicals that form in treated pools and spas as a result of the use of disinfectants (e.g., chlorine, bromine, ozone or UV radiation) — referred to as DBPs — can cause adverse health effects. DBPs are formed when disinfectants react with other chemicals, including those that are found in bodily fluids like urine. The chemistry that leads to DBP formation and decay is quite complex. As a result, research is needed to understand and minimize DBP formation. “One easy way to reduce DBPs is to reduce urine in pools,” said Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., of NSPF.

The nonprofit is organizing a 2013 initiative to help make pool water safer and more appealing. A full-day workshop will explore strategies to influence public behavior and reduce urination in swimming pools. The news media can play a key role in helping to change behavior, and are invited to attend and participate in the workshop, which will be led by Edgar Papke following his keynote presentation at the World Aquatic Health Conference on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, in Indianapolis.

One in five Americans admits to peeing in the pool, according to a 2012 survey by the Water Quality and Health Council. Unfortunately, several high-profile Olympians have said it is “OK” to pee in the pool. Nearly 100% of elite competitive swimmers admit to peeing in the pool, according to former U.S. National Team swimmer Carly Geehr in an interview with Quora.

“The October workshop is an opportunity to start a cultural shift. We strongly encourage the community of pool users, coaches and operators to come to the October workshop and work together to improve pool safety,” Lachocki said.