There will always be that one person, or even more, unfortunately, that will choose to go number 1 in the pool regardless the health consequences that directly involves them and other swimmers alike. A team of researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton says the stinging sensation of chlorine hitting the swimmers’ nostrils as they approach the pool in, in fact, urine mixed with the disinfectant.
After gathering samples from 31 hot tubs and pools in two Canadian cities over the course of three weeks, the researchers came to a shocking conclusion. An average swimming pool actually contains approximately 20 gallons of human urine. This proves the commonly held belief that people prefer to relieve themselves underwater, rather than taking a trip to the bathroom.
For their study, the researchers looked at the concentrations of acesulfame potassium (ACE), an artificial sweetener added to processed foods that passes through the human body unaltered. All of the samples gathered contained high concentrations of the artificial sweetener. In fact, said concentrations were 570 times greater than those researchers would normally see in tap water.
Using these results, the scientists approximated the amount of human urine present in an average swimming pool. However, because the study did not account for the number of pool users over the course of the survey, there is no way for the researchers to approximate the number of individual urination events per day.
According to a statement issued shortly before the 2012 Olympics in London, professional U.S. swimmers, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte said that urinating in the pool is considered acceptable behavior.
Michael Phelps couldn’t find any issues with it, as he believes chlorine kills any pathogens that could be transmitted through urine. Also, Ryan Lochte said that the disinfectant makes some people “just automatically go”.
No matter how harmless it may seem, a 2014 study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that the mixture of chlorine and uric acid, found in human urine, results in toxic compounds called trichloramine (NCI3) and cyanogen chloride (CNCI), that could have devastating effects on the heart, lungs, and central nervous system. Exposure to these substances has been linked to acute lung injury.
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