Peeing in the pool isn't just gross, according to a recently released study it can be hazardous to swimmers' health. The Environmental Science & Technology released findings in March, which stated that when urine and chlorine meet, the resulting chemical reaction can cause respiratory issues, reported Pool and Spa News.
Making mountains out of mole hills
The source goes on to say that the severity of the problem was greatly exaggerated in the press with misleading headlines such as "Urinating in the Swimming Pool Could Result in a Deadly Chemical Weapon." The situation isn't nearly that dire. Also, the information largely applies to people who have indoor pools. While the chemicals react the same in an outdoor pool, the airborne toxins naturally deplete in the air. According to Environmental Health News, about 93 percent of uric acid in swimming pools come from urine while the rest likely comes from sweat.
The news source contended that the story had been blown out of proportion by other media outlets and is still "somewhat theoretical," Some pool industry professionals are worried that such a small problem could distract people from more serious swimming-related safety issues, such as drowning.
"The industry doesn't need any more stories making the consumer afraid of having a swimming pool or of owning a pool," said Gina Schrader, Vice President of Patio Pools in Tampa, Fla.
Professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological studies at Purdue University Ernest R. Blatchley III, who participated in the study, said that the intent was not to scare pool owners.
"I'm a former swimmer, and I don't want to do anything to discourage swimming," he said. "I want to make sure that the environment is as healthy as it can be."
Breaking bad habits
It's no secret that children have been peeing in pools probably since they were invented. However, it appears that some adults, professional swimmers specifically, have the same habit. Pool and Spa News reported that in 2012, Olympians Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte drew public criticism after revealing in separate interviews that rather than interrupting their training for bathroom breaks, they just let it flow. Despite the reaction from the public, the swimmers insisted that it's common practice. Since then, a number of people have called for coaches to take steps to end this and reform the culture that accepts it.
No matter what the rules or general culture is at public pools, you're in control of your home pool. Establish some rules about bathroom breaks and let the kids get on with having a good time.