Researchers Found Shocking Amounts of Pee in Swimming Pools

Olympic swimming pool

Scientists were able to measure the amount of pee in various swimming pools and the results are shocking.

A group of Canadian researchers managed to measure how much pee a swimming pool has by looking at the amount of the potent mix of chemicals between people’s urine and chlorine. Scientists found so much urine in swimming pools that it is safe to say if people are using your pool, they are also peeing in it.

Chemist Xing-Fang Li said a 220,000-gallon, swimming has around 20 gallons of urine. In private five-feet-deep pools, there were 2 gallons of pee on average. Researchers say that even if it is in a small amount, pee in pools still represents a health hazard for some swimmers. Also, the sharp odor of chlorine deeply ingrained in your memory since early childhood is a sign that people peed in the swimming pool.

During their research, scientists analyzed water samples from various types of swimming pools in two Canadian cities. They used the chemical called acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) as a proxy in their urine-detection efforts. This chemical is a common occurrence in prepackaged food from soup to yoghurt, so people have plenty of it in their urine.

Researchers noted that Ace-K is not found just in Western diets. The team detected it in the urine of people living in China, and people are releasing a lot of acesulfame potassium in Chinese swimming pools too.

Study authors think pee in pools should be considered a public health hazard. Urine mixes with chlorine and it produces a series of toxic compounds known as disinfection byproducts. Those byproducts include cyanogen chloride which is used in warfare to neutralize enemies, nitrosamines which are cancer causing, and the chloramines which give swimming pools their unmistakable odor.

It is worth noting that a study on Spanish swimmers found a higher incidence of bladder cancer in those that visited swimming pools more often. Researchers, however, say their findings are not meant to discourage swimmers. Swimming is extremely beneficial even for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. Yet parents should understand why their kids might react to the water in the pool.

The team underlined that indoor pools pose a higher risk of disease for people with lung diseases because the volatile compounds cannot escape the room and there is no sunlight, which can offset some of the risks.
Image Source: Wikimedia

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