Presence and select determinants of organophosphate flame retardants in public swimming pools

Tiffany L.L. Teo, Heather Coleman, Stuart J. Khan

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The occurrence of five organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) consisting of tributyl phosphate (TNBP), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCIPP), tris(1.3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCIPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) in swimming pools were investigated. Fifteen chlorinated public swimming pools were sampled, including indoor pools, outdoor pools and spa pools. The analyses were carried out using isotope dilution gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. All five PFRs were detected in swimming pool waters with concentrations ranging from 5–27 ng/L (TNBP), 7–293 ng/L (TCEP), 62–1180 ng/L (TCIPP), 10–670 ng/L (TDCIPP) and 8–132 ng/L (TPHP). The concentrations of PFRs were generally higher in indoor swimming pools compared to outdoor swimming pools. In municipal water supplies, used to fill the swimming pools in three of the sampling locations, the five PFRs were all below the limit of quantifications, eliminating this as the source. Potential leaching of PFRs from commonly used swimming equipment, including newly purchased kickboards and swimsuits was investigated. These experiments revealed that PFRs leached from swimsuits, and may be a source of PFRs in swimming pools. A quantitative risk assessment revealed that the health risk to PFRs via swimming pools was generally low and below commonly applied health risk benchmarks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-475
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date26 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2016


  • Leaching
  • Chemical contaminants
  • Swimsuits
  • Kickboards
  • Human exposure
  • Health risk assessment


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