I’m guessing 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, it seems like you almost certainly did – at least, that’s what Michael Phelps and other professional swimmers would have us believe.
In totally 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 myth that the chlorine in the pool kills germs just isn’t true. In fact, according to science, it’s sort of the opposite.
The compound was originally made by Pierre Louis Dulong in 1812, and his success cost him an eye and a finger.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, respectively.
Basically, in its pure form, the stuff is explosive. Luckily, 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 close proximity to a pool, the higher your exposure and risk level.
And you know those signs that encourage 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 an attempt 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 pee-ers.
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.
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