You’ve probably done it: you didn’t want to get out of the pool, have to dry yourself off, walk over to the bathroom and get cold, so you just did it. You peed in the pool.
We know it’s gross, yet people continue to do it.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has released a video explaining why it’s really, really gross.
Pool water contains chemicals to keep the water free of germs: chlorine — which we know well — but also sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite. These three create a chemical reaction and form hypochlorous acid, which acts as a disinfectant, protecting us from such things as salmonella and E. coli among others baddies. But it doesn’t protect against everything. So ultraviolet light, ozone and bromine are used as well as a combination oftentimes.
WATCH: Is it OK to pee in the pool?
But then we grimy humans bring additional compounds into the water with us. Think about suntan lotion, sweat and dirt and yes — urine. This creates something called disinfection byproducts (DBPs).
So how much urine is there in a pool? According to the ACS, experts estimate that for every person in a pool, there are 30 to 80 ml of urine.
Urine contains urea that, once it reacts with the chlorine, creates trichloramine. You know that great pool smell you enjoy? That’s as a result of trichloramine. Yes, the pee in that water is making the pool smell great. Oh, and why do your eyes get red? Same reason.
The chemical can also be linked to asthma and other respiratory issues.
And the worst part is, it’s difficult for scientists to study since there are a mixture of additional products that end up in the pool water. Medication that someone may be taking and then peeing into the pool, will further add to the multitude of chemicals present in the water.
So, next time you complain about your red, burning eyes after swimming, remember that it’s because someone was too lazy to go to the bathroom.
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