Validation of questionnaire methods to quantify recreational water ingestion

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1 Scopus citations


Swimming pool water ingestion volumes are necessary for assessing infection risk from swimming. Pool water ingestion volumes can be estimated by questionnaire or measuring a chemical tracer in swimmer urine. Questionnaires are often preferred to the chemical tracer method because surveys are less time consuming, but no research exists validating questionnaires accurately quantify pool water ingestion volumes. The objective of this study was to explore if questionnaires are a reliable tool for collecting pool water ingestion volumes. A questionnaire was issued at four pool sites in Tucson, Arizona to 46 swimmers who also submitted a urine sample for analyzing cyanuric acid, a chemical tracer. Perceived ingestion volumes reported on the questionnaire were compared with pool water ingestion volumes, quantified by analyzing cyanuric acid in swimmer urine. Swimmers were asked if they swallowed (1) no water or only a few drops, (2) one to two mouthfuls, (3) three to five mouthfuls, or (4) six to eight mouthfuls. One mouthful is the equivalent of 27 mL of water. The majority (81%) of swimmers ingested <27 mL of pool water but reported ingesting >27 mL (“one mouthful”) on the questionnaire. More than half (52%) of swimmers overestimated their ingestion volume. These findings suggest swimmers are over-estimating pool water ingestion because they perceive one mouthful is <27 mL. The questionnaire did not reliably collect pool water ingestion volumes and should be improved for future exposure assessment studies. Images of the ingestion volume categories should be included on the questionnaire to help swimmers visualize the response options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2435
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Pool water ingestion
  • Recreational water
  • Risk assessment
  • Swimming pool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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