A Surprise To No One: Public Pools Really Are Filled With Pee

Tabitha Dunn
March 3, 2017

"Even though no one would admit to peeing in a pool, obviously somebody has to be doing it", said one of the researchers, Lindsay Blackstock, a PhD student of analytical and environmental toxicology at Alberta University. The sweetner was found in all 250 samples, with the concentration in the pools being 570 times greater than in tap water.

They urinated almost 90 litres in a one million litre pool (one-third the size of an Olympic-size pool) in another instance. A test of several hot tubs in public facilities in two Canadian cities found that urinating in public pool or tubs is fairly common and taken for granted by most swimmers, the Guardian reports. It is normally found in soda, bakery items and also as a part and parcel of many other sweeteners. Because some sweeteners exit the body quickly and don't easily break down in pool water, it's believed their presence is an accurate representation of pee volume. One swimming pool had 110,000 gallons of water, while the other held 220,000 gallons.

Although considered a taboo, 19% of adults have admitted to having urinated in a swimming pool at least once.

Too much pee in a pool can be a health hazard: when chlorine reacts with pee it creates toxic compounds called disinfection byproducts, which can lead to eye and respiratory ailments, and occupational asthma.

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To reduce the levels of DBPs in swimming pool water, the scientists said water quality needed to be controlled and monitored, adding that education on personal hygiene in pools was important. The researchers found that the eight hot tubs tested had much higher levels of urine, with one hotel Jacuzzi containing three times as much pee as the worst pool sampled. In a new study, a team of scientists in Canada recently tested the water in 31 different public pools and hottubs, and their results aren't for the faint of heart. The hot-tub situation is a total piss show.

"The benefits of keeping active through swimming outweigh the potential risks we use as rationale for the study", said Blackstock to Gizmodo.

Though chlorine kills most harmful bacteria that makes its way into public waters, the chemical can cause some problems of its own.

The research was published on Wednesday in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters journal.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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