Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and UV filters in swimming pools and spas

Yuli Ekowati, Gianluigi Buttiglieri, Giuliana Ferrero, Jennifer Valle-Sistac, M. Silvía Diaz-Cruz, Damià Barceló, Mira Petrovic, Marta Villagrasa, Maria D. Kennedy, Ignasi Rodríguez-Roda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The occurrence of 32 pharmaceuticals and 14 UV filters in swimming pools and spas was studied. Fifty-one water samples were collected from 17 pools located in sport centres and hotels in Catalonia, Spain. The samples were analysed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The pharmaceuticals atenolol, carbamazepine, hydrochlorothiazide, metronidazole, ofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and phenazone were measured in water samples at concentrations higher than their limit of quantification (LOQ). The highest concentration of any individual pharmaceutical was measured for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (904 ng/L). The most frequently detected pharmaceutical was carbamazepine, as it was observed in more than half of all the water samples measured (53 %, 27/51). The UV filters at concentrations higher than LOQ in water samples were BP1, BP2, BP3, BP8, THB, 4DHB, 4MBC, OD-PABA, 1HBT, MeBT and DMeBT. The highest concentration of UV filter observed was 4MBC (69.3 ng/L) while the most frequent UV filters in the samples were 1HBT (59 %, 30/51). The results also showed that pharmaceuticals and UV filters were most frequently found in spas. Finally, from a water treatment technology perspective, the lowest occurrence of pharmaceuticals was in the pools applying sand filters followed by disinfection by sodium hypochlorite, while the lowest occurrence of UV filters was in the pools applying coagulation, sand filtration, UV and salt electrolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14431-14441
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Disinfection
  • Micropollutants
  • Swimming pools
  • Water treatment


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