If you’re an avid user of public pools who wishes to remain ignorant about how much urine you’ve swam in/cooled off in/accidentally ingested over the years, feel free to exit right now. For the rest of you, read ahead.
A study by Canadian researchers sought to determine how to detect pee in pools because, contrary to what you may have been told when you were a kid, there’s no liquid that surrounds you with a certain color if you take a leak in one. Instead they may have found an answer to the age old question of just how much piss is an average public pool. The verdict? An alarmingly high amount.
The team came to their conclusion after monitoring a pair of pools (one of which was 110,000 gallons, the other of which was 220,000 gallons) over the course of three weeks. They conducted their experiment by measuring the prevalence of an artificial sweetener that couldn’t be broken down by the body. What they found was that swimmers filled the smaller pool with 7.92 gallons, and the larger pool was filled with nearly 20 gallons. So much for the honor system.
Furthermore, they analyzed 250 samples from 31 other pools, as well as hot tubs, and discovered that there was about 570 times more pee in those samples than there was in a typical specimen of tap water. The study also noted why this matters, besides just grossing yourself out, as they said that compounds found in urine (such as urea, ammonia, amino acids and creatinine) can lead to eye and respiratory irritation when reacting with disinfectants. Also people who spend an inordinate amount of their time in water, like avid swimmers and pool workers, can end up with asthma.
University of Alberta grad student Lindsay Blackstock, who was the lead researcher for this study, says we should focus on public education to properly inform the masses about just how gross this is. “We recommend that all pool users should rinse off excess personal care products in the provided showers before entering public pools,” she said. “Additionally, we should all be considerate of others and make sure to exit the pool to use the restroom.”
There you have it. No more taking the easy way out.