Volatile disinfection byproducts resulting from chlorination of uric acid: Implications for swimming pools

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Abstract

Cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCl3) are important disinfection byproducts in chlorinated swimming pools. However, some unknowns exist regarding the precursors of their formation. In this study, uric acid is shown to be an efficient precursor to formation of CNCl and NCl3. The molar yields of CNCl and NCl3 were observed to be as high as 44% (pH = 6.0, chlorine/precursor molar ratio [Cl/P] = 6.4) and 108% (pH = 7.0, Cl/P = 30), respectively, both being strong functions of Cl/P, pH, and temperature. Analysis of swimming pool water samples, combined with the results of experiments involving chlorination of uric acid, and chlorination of body fluid analog mixtures, indicated that uric acid chlorination may account for a large fraction of CNCl formation in swimming pools. Moreover, given that uric acid introduction to pools is attributable to urination, a voluntary action for most swimmers, these findings indicate important benefits to pool water and air chemistry that could result from improved hygiene habits on the part of swimmers. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

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Lian, L., Yue, E., Li, J., & Blatchley, E. R. (2014). Volatile disinfection byproducts resulting from chlorination of uric acid: Implications for swimming pools. Environmental Science and Technology, 48(6), 3210–3217. https://doi.org/10.1021/es405402r

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