Published: Mon, March 06, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Scientists Measure Pool Pee Levels

Scientists Measure Pool Pee Levels

New tests for artificial sweetener could soon help determine how much pee is in public hot tubs and pools.

ResearchGate: What motivated this study? In each case, they found elevated levels of the sweetener. Their technique is one commonly used to study the impact of human waste on environmental water sources.

RG: What exactly were you measuring? .

In order to do this, we need improved understanding of pool chemistry. Specifically, they were looking for the sweetener acesulfame potassium (Ace-K).

ACE, used in prepackaged foods, is not metabolised by humans and is completely absorbed and excreted in urine. ACE is consistently present in the urine, chemically stable and remains unaltered after passing through the body.

Experts say that a strong smell of chlorine indicates a pool with a higher level of urine. And enough people are peeing in pools for sweeteners to show up there, too.

So, in light of the recent research, you might want to think twice before going to a public pool.

It is hard to measure the amount of urine present in swimming pools.

"These compounds can react with disinfectants (e.g., chlorine) in swimming pools to form DBPs (disinfection byproducts), including trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, haloamines, and halonitromethanes". An increase in the number of swimmers has been found to be associated with increased formation of disinfection byproducts.

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Well, for once, a big pool contains the equivalent of a trashcan of urine. Notably, even famed Olympic swimmers urinate in the pool during practice or while swimming.

RG: What did you discover as a result of this study? .

First things first: Don't pee in the pool.

However, despite this, a team of academics helpfully set out to provide a scientific answer for the edification of humanity, taking more than 250 samples from 31 different pools and hot-tubs. The study calculations were based on ACE concentration in water samples.

The study also revealed that hot-tubs were even more likely than pools to contain higher concentrations of urine.

Look, we're reasonable people. Each year, thousands of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds across the country are forced to close due to serious health and safety violations, including improper pH levels (critical for killing germs), according to the CDC.

The people around you might not know you peed. Rather, swimmers should be more aware of the risks and understand how to combat them.

"We recommend that all pool users should rinse off excess personal care products in the provided showers before entering public pools", she told Research Gate.

'We should all be considerate of others and make sure to exit the pool to use the restroom when nature calls'.

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