No one likes swimming in a contaminated pool. Unfortunately, contamination often happens through urine. Kids, teens, and even some adults like to urinate in the pool because they think it’s funny or because they can’t make it to the bathroom, and figure the chemicals in the pool will cleanse their waste. Today, we’re going to uncover the ugly truth about pee in pools.
Uric Acid Reacts with Chlorine
In a recent study, scientists combined uric acid with chlorine to test the effects. It turns out when mixed with chlorine and other chemicals, uric acid produces harmful gases. These gases are called trichloramine and cyanogen. The first is known to damage the lungs, while the second can damage the heart, lungs, and central nervous system, if inhaled. These gases often cause chronic health problems in avid swimmers, including poor breathing, pulse rate changes, and aggravation of existing problems like asthma.
Urine Releases Bacteria and Viruses
Many parents let their kids wear diapers in the pool, unaware of the dangers to which other swimmers are exposed. Children who urinate or defecate in pools, even if the waste stays in the diaper, are releasing uric and fecal bacteria leading to infections from bacteria such as E. coli, staph, strep, or various viruses. Urine also releases a high concentration of nitrogen, which can react negatively with your system. Additionally, because swimmers sometimes accidentally ingest pool water, they can become more susceptible to cystitis and urinary tract infections via contaminated water.
Prevention of Pee Problems
Most adult swimmers would never purposely urinate in a pool, but studies show that swimmers may accidentally “drip” as much as two shot glasses while swimming. To prevent urination and fecal problems, always take yourself and your children to the bathroom at least 15-30 minutes before a swim. Shower thoroughly before and after swimming, as this reduces the bacteria on your body. Do not go inside the pool if you are sick or have a skin condition such as eczema. If you suspect others have been urinating in your pool, you can buy special chemicals that highlight the urine levels in it. Clean your pool and check pH balances regularly.