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Do you pee in the pool?


Randomguy
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Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has admitted to doing it, saying “chlorine kills it, so it’s not bad.” Peeing in the pool is inarguably a gross habit, but now science is telling us that it’s also harmful to our health.

 

A new study says chlorine doesn’t, in fact, kill the contents of our urine, but rather reacts with it to create potentially dangerous byproducts. The research, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, used a technique called membrane introduction mass spectrometry to measure the presence of dangerous byproducts in pools. Uric acid from human urine mixes with chlorine to create the cyanogen chloride (CNCI) and trichloramine (NCl3). CNCI is a toxic compound that can harm organs like the lungs, heart, and central nervous system. NCl3has been linked with acute lung injury.

 

“A common misconception within the swimming community is that urination in pools is an acceptable practice, although signs and placards are posted in many pools to encourage proper hygiene. It is also well known that many swimmers ignore these warnings, particularly noteworthy among these are competitive swimmers,” said study author Ernest R. Blatchley III, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University, in a statement.

 

So the next time you’re at the swimming pool, heed those warning signs but also be wary of your fellow swimmers. And it’s probably best to avoid the kiddie pool.

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Last week, a study by Chinese and American scientists revealed another reason to not pee in pools, which had more to do with chemistry than good manners. 

 

The researchers found that when urine and chlorine meet in the right quantities, they can create two byproducts, trichloramine and cyanogen chloride. The latter can be harmful to the lungs, heart, and nervous system. It’s nothing to get your bathing suit in a bunch over, though. Even with chlorine levels far beyond what’s used in the average swimming pool, the amounts of these chemicals produced in the study were still in the World Health Organization’s “safe” range. In other words, you’re probably not going to hurt yourself emptying your bladder during a swim. That said, the study still warned that the chemical could “adversely affect air and water quality” in and around the pool. Plus, it’s just gross. 

 

At Ars Technica, the research made editor Casey Johnston wonder just how much pee in a pool it would take to make a harmful amount of those chemicals. And after some number crunching, Johnston found that creating a death pool of pee is a pretty tall order.

 

To get enough chlorine and uric acid together to create a toxic level of cyanogen chloride in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, Johnston says you’d need three million people emptying an entire day’s worth of highly concentrated urine into water that’s more chlorinated than normal. 

 

“If you could get at that pool without dying of either suffocation or drowning in other people’s urine,” she writes, “you could probably pull off death by cyanogen chloride poisoning or at least a pretty good coma.”

Even in this pretty unrealistic situation, there’s a snag. Even at high concentrations, the researchers who did the study found that a lot of their chlorine was consumed by the uric acid. So really, you’d need an even higher chlorine concentration—a whopping half a liter of chlorine per liter of water—to create enough cyanogen chloride.

 

“In the end we need a pool that is two parts water to one part chlorine and would probably burn the eyeballs out of your sockets and make your skin peel away from your bones,” says Johnston. Get three million people to pee into that, without crushing each other or melting away like Nazis opening the Ark of the Covenant, and you’ve got enough cyanogen chloride to kill (also, the world’s worst pool party).

You can read Johnston’s whole thought experiment here

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What is there to "kill"?  Urine is sterile.

it is sterile, but the amonia in it reacts with the chlorine in the pool to form some sort of chemical which I don't recall the name of. 

Basically, it destroys the chlorine in the pool that keeps the pool safe to swim in.

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A new study revealed our worst fears are true: People do indeed still pee in pools. Not only that, but they are littering the water with all kinds of other nasty germs. Here’s what you need to know.

A recent survey conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council found one in five Americans confessed to using a public pool as a public bathroom (in other words, they are too lazy to get out and use the toilet to pee). In addition, seven in 10 admitted to skipping a shower before jumping in the water, which may not sound like a big deal, until you understand what’s going in the water with them.

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Of course.  If you find a swimmer who says they haven't, they are either lieing or haven't been swimming long, but most likely lieing.

 

Also never saw a single person shower before hitting the water, not to meantion the ammount of snot rockets and time spit in the pool.  You get good at being subtle about these things when you need to be, but most of the time, who gives a rip.

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OK, how about the ocean, or lakes.  They don't have chlorine, can I pee there?  Either way I will pee in your pool if you invite me over.

 

Unless you are in Oregon, go for it since all the wild animals do still.

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Where the hell is DH?  She always jumps in when we talk about urination.

 

Her absence is highly irregular.

 

Well, if she is highly irregular, that might mean she is spending a lot of time in the bathroom making it hard to post.

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The article says that to make the trichloramine toxic, you would need about 1/3 chlorine and 2/3 water in an olympic pool (this mix would melt your eyeballs) and then you would need 3 million people with highly concentrated urine to pee in the pool at once.

 

So in my book I think I am pretty safe when I pee in your pool.

 

Still, this is still a good reason to pee in the shower, just in case.

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