Taking a dip in a refreshing pool is a summer staple. You can swim, float, splash...and relieve yourself, if that pesky bathroom is just too far away.
But is peeing in the pool really so bad? Scientists sound off with a resounding "YES!"
That familiar "pool smell" that is so reminiscent of fun summer days is actually the hazard of disinfection byproducts, or DBPs.
The American Chemical Society says that chlorine and other disinfectants that we use to prevent microorganisms from soiling the pool can also react to organic substances to create DBPs. Think sweat, hair, spit...and, you guessed it, urine.
There is a misconception that chlorine essentially cancels out our pool pee. Even the most decorated Olympian of all time thinks it's OK to do it.
Michael Phelps, who essentially lives in a pool, told the Wall Street Journal in 2012 that everyone relieves themselves in the water.
"I think everybody pees in the pool," Phelps. "It's kind of a normal thing to do for swimmers. When we're in the pool for two hours, we don't really get out to pee. We just go whenever we are on the wall."
And he followed up his blunt confession with the most common justification:
"Chlorine kills it, so it's not bad."
Scientists disagree. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology explained how urinating in a chlorinated pool creates a toxic chemical called cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCI3).
CNCl is classified as an agent of chemical warfare, known to be toxic to the lungs, heart, and central nervous system. NCI3 has been linked to lung damage.
So it is time to hang up our bathing suits and floaties for good? Probably not. Scientists found urine in a pool might lead to about 30 parts per billion (ppb) of CNCl, which is below the 70 ppb used as the maximum cyanogen concentration allowed in drinking water, according to the World Health Organization.
Though the amount of urine in a typical pool is by no means lethal, that doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.
So come on, swimmers. Let's just get out of the pool, put on our flip flops, and mosey on over to the restroom. For humanity's sake.
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Peeing in the pool...is it really so bad?