I guess that around 90% of people (if not more) would admit to peeing in a pool at some point in their lives. And if
you spent a LOT of time in the water, and it seems like you almost
certainly did – at least, that’s what Michael Phelps and other
professional swimmers would have us believe.
In entirely gross numbers, one study found that a public
swimming pool that contains 830,000 liters of water can contain
as much as 75 liters of urine.
What’s worse is that it turns out that the common lore that the
chlorine in the pool kills germs just isn’t right. In fact,
according to science, it’s the opposite.
The mixture was ingeniously made by Pierre Louis Dulong in
1812, and his success cost him an eye and a finger. Other
scientists, like Sir Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday, also
experimented with the substance and experienced side effects –
the loss of vision and finger damage, respectfully.
Basically, in its pure form, the stuff is explosive. Fortunately,
it’s diluted by water and other chemicals in pools, but just
because it’s not going to (literally) blow up in your face, it
doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned. After all, eye and
upper airway irritation aren’t anything to mess around with,
and the more time you spend in proximity to a pool, the
higher your exposure and risk level.
And you know those signs that inspire you to take a shower
BEFORE you hop in the pool? It turns out you should listen to
those, too, because the same chemical
that’s in your urine is in your sweat.
It seems to me that we need a boost in education in a struggle
to dispel the rumors about public swimming pools. The chlorine
doesn’t kill germs, showers shouldn’t be optional, and yeah, there’s
no chemical that changes colors in an attempt to shame
Most of all, peeing in the pool could pose serious health risks to both swimmers and pool
staff who spend hours in the water and at its edge. Which seems
like an excellent reason to go ahead and hold it next time you
feel the urge to go.