You Really Shouldn’t Pee in the Pool

Everyone pees in the pool—it’s a safe
assumption to make. “Chlorine will kill the bacteria,” we
tell ourselves, and we jump into the cool, refreshing,
urine-filled water hole Chlorine does kill bacteria, but also reacts
with your pee. Let’s do a little chemistry: Uric acid and amino acids in urine can each
combine with chlorine. They form trichloramine and cyanogen chloride. Trichloramine can cause respiratory problems
when inhaled, especially if you already have a respiratory condition, such as asthma. It’s also what makes your eyes
burn in a pool. Cyanogen chloride can also affect the body’s
ability to use oxygen. You might be thinking, “If everyone pees
in the pool, just add more chlorine to it.” Not such a great idea—as more chlorine is
added, these reactions are more likely to occur. It’s unlikely for there to be toxic levels
of either chemical in a pool, but with the right combination of conditions,
the amount could be unacceptably high. Here are two tips to keep our pools
(and ourselves) clean No. 1: Shower before getting in the pool—
it’s not a bath after all. And, no. 2: If you need to pee, get out of the pool and
use the restroom. That’s what it’s there for. This lowers the number of compounds that can
react with chlorine, and help keep our water and our air cleaner. Now, let’s go swimming!