Potential risks of TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles released from sunscreens into outdoor swimming pools

Soo kyung Jeon, Eun ju Kim, Jaesang Lee, Seunghak Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The potential risks of nanoparticles (NPs) in sunscreens being released into swimming water were evaluated by a series of laboratory experiments simulating the fate and transport of NPs in outdoor swimming pools. NPs released from sunscreen-applied skin were estimated using pig skins covered with five different commercial sunscreens containing TiO2, ZnO, or both at various concentrations. Assuming that the swimming water treatment processes consisted of filtration, UV irradiation, heating, and chlorination, possible removal of the released NPs by each process was estimated. Generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by the NPs under sunlight and after UV photochemical treatment were measured, and the H2O2 concentration possibly present in the swimming pool was calculated based on some specific scenarios of operating an outdoor swimming pool. It was found that a significant amount of the NPs in sunscreens could be released into the swimming water, and accumulate during circulation through the treatment system. However, the concentration of H2O2 possibly present in the swimming pool should be below the level at which an adverse effect to bathers is concerned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-318
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (2015, University-Institute cooperation program); the Future Research Program ( 2E25312 ) funded by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST); and the Geo-Advanced Innovative Action (GAIA) Project ( #2013000540002 ) of the Ministry of Environment, Korea .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Risk assessment
  • Sunscreen
  • Swimming pool
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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