Peeing in the Pool Isn't Only Gross. It Is Bad For Your Health
Mar 07, 2014 11:55
Is the toilet too far away? Are you in the pool? Cool, just let it all out, right? Wrong! Peeing in swimming pools may actually be hazardous to your health. Scientists have found when compounds in urine mix with chlorine, it forms chemicals that have been linked to respiratory effects in swimmers.
"If swimmers avoided urinating in pools, then air and water quality would likely improve independent of other changes in water treatment or air circulation," the scientists from China Agricultural University and Purdue University wrote in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
In some laboratory experiments, scientists combined water collected from swimming pools in China with mixtures meant to mimic the chemical composition of sweat and urine. Chlorine, used to disinfect pools will react to a number of chemicals found in human sweat and urine.
Uric acid accounted for 24 to 68 percent of the byproduct cyanogen chloride in the pool water samples. It can affect multiple organs, including the lungs, heart and central nervous system via inhalation.
Roughly 93 percent of uric acid in swimming pools comes from human urine. Sweat also contributes a small amount.
Uric acid also accounted for about 3 to 4 percent of another byproduct, trichloramine, in pool water. Previous studies have found that urea, another urine compound, converts readily to trichloramine.
To add to the list of troubles, it might also affect the airways of competitive swimmers. Bronchial biopsies of swimmers showed airway changes, including Inflammation, similar to those seen in people with mild asthma, although the changes weren't associated with asthma symptoms.
The average swimmer introduces the equivalent of up to two shot glasses of urine into a pool each time he or she takes a dip, according to previous research.
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