Degradation of Organic UV filters in Chlorinated Seawater Swimming Pools: Transformation Pathways and Bromoform Formation


  • Manasfi Tarek
  • Coulomb Bruno
  • Ravier Sylvain
  • Boudenne Jean Luc


  • UV filter
  • Swimming pool
  • Transformation pathway
  • Brominated disinfection byproduct
  • Bromoform

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Organic ultraviolet (UV) filters are used in sunscreens and other personal-care products to protect against harmful effects of exposure to UV solar radiation. Little is known about the fate of UV filters in seawater swimming pools disinfected with chlorine. The present study investigated the occurrence and fate of five commonly used organic UV filters, namely dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, avobenzone, 2-ethylhexyl-4-methoxycinnamate, and octocrylene, in chlorinated seawater swimming pools. Pool samples were collected to monitor the variation of UV filter concentrations during pool opening hours. Furthermore, laboratory-controlled chlorination experiments were conducted in seawater spiked with UV filters to investigate the reactivity of UV filters. Extracts of chlorination reaction samples were analyzed using high-resolution mass spectrometry and electron-capture detection to identify the potentially formed byproducts. In the collected pool samples, all the UV filters except dioxybenzone were detected. Chlorination reactions showed that only octocrylene was stable in chlorinated seawater. The four reactive UV filters generated brominated transformation products and disinfection byproducts. This formation of brominated products resulted from reactions between the reactive UV filters and bromine, which is formed rapidly when chlorine is added to seawater. Based on the identified byproducts, the transformation pathways of the reactive UV filters were proposed for the first time. Bromoform was generated by all the reactive UV filters at different yields. Bromal hydrate was also detected as one of the byproducts generated by oxybenzone and dioxybenzone.

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