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Pee, Not Chlorine, Causes Red Eyes from Swimming Pools: CDC (2015) (cbc.ca)
674 points by colinprince 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 330 comments

Chlorine reacts with pretty much any organic compound (hair, sweat, skin, urine) to produce chloramine. And yes, while this is the thing that irritates your eyes, it's not to say that chlorine is harmless either. There is evidence for respiratory and organ damage from extended exposure to chlorinated pools.


Be it airborne chlorine or chlormines, it is an air-quality challenge. Facilities need to take pool ventilation seriously, especially ways to draw fresh air across the water surface where chloramines tend to linger (they are heavy). However, getting facilities to upgrade their ventilation is hard: it is a substantial cost and there are very little health and occupational safety regulations. Standard pool inspections do not check air quality; and air-quality inspections are time consuming (4h+) and expensive (>1K). At a societal level, we need to be putting patron and staff pressure on facilities that have ventilation problems and letting others now about these health issues.

Not to mention that good air ventilation close to the pool's surface has the side effect of accelerating evaporation and thus cooling the water, requiring more energy to keep the temperature up...

Putting the exhaust air through a heat exchange unit or dehumidifier can collect most of the evaporated water and lost heat.

Some how I feel this would be very inefficient due to small delta-temp.

> "Unfortunately, one of the rats accidentally drowned during swimming training; therefore, the final animal number of the [experimental group] was 17."

Damn, poor guy.

> "When training, a screw nut approximately 3% of their mean body weight was tied to the top end of the tail of each rat, and all rats were kept in the special pools with water of 60 cm depth (water temperature 25–30°C, pH 6.5–7.0) until fatigued (submerged below the surface for five seconds twice). The fatigued rats ceased training immediately, were removed from the water for a short break, showered with running water and then dried with hair dryers."

So, systematically drowning rats until they aspirate water, every day for twelve weeks. And they showed negative respiratory effects. Huh.

> systematically drowning rats until they aspirate water

We prefer the term "advanced interrogation techniques"

This gives me an idea of an online gambling site where people bet crypto on which rat will drown first. I will call it thunderpool. 2 rats enter, 1 rat leaves.

Place your bets if this cat in this box will be dead or alive when the box is opened at Schroedinger's online casino!

They had a control group that also had the training.

That study seems dubious -- they mention that they measured free chlorine with a DPD test, and they also say that they measured chloramines with a colorimeter and the DPD test. This seems quite odd -- the distinguish between free and combined chlorine (which mostly means chloramines), a better test such as FAS-DPD should be used. So I don't see how the study determined what the cause of the problem was, but it certainly spends quite a bit of time explaining how chloramines can be problematic.

Anyway, chloramines can be controlled to some degree. The use of stabilizers (cyanuric acid) can reduce the amount of nitrogen trichloride (the worst chloramine) in the water by a considerable amount. As I understand it, the factors that make the biggest difference, though, are maintaining adequate chlorination and exposure to UV light. UV light (from the sun or a UV lamp) breaks down chloramines. So the best solution is to swim in an outdoor pool :)

(The FAS-DPD test is a standard test kit you can buy from ay reputable dealer. It's a titration, not a colorimetric measurement, so no fancy equipment at all is needed.)

So basically, if chlorine isn't generating chloramine, then the chlorine is useless to begin with

Yes, which is why it's important to regularly "shock" the pool to oxidize the chloramines, typically by superchlorinating the pool, but much more effectively by adding ozone.

We just got a pool recently (salt-water chlorinator), and the advise out there on how to maintain one is just utter superficial garbage. I'd never heard your statement before, and I thought the shocking was just to keep the right level of chlorine. Seems like all the advice is heavily biased towards just getting your local pool shop to tell you what you need to add!

Your comment on ozone made me do some quick searching, and [0] suggests to me that I should also run my pool pump for longer at lower RPM. I'm interested too in how I can minimise the cost of running the pool, which that will help with.

[0] https://aquamagazine.com/service/ozone-and-uv-systems-allow-...

There is a lot of great information at https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum and https://www.troublefreepool.com/forums/ particularly from user 'chem geek'. This is where I was able to finally get a better understanding of pool/spa chemistry and figure out a routine that works for me.

+1 for troublefreepool.com. Anyone with a pool or spa (hot tub) should read through their 'pool school' section, and then take any questions to the forums. (Probably don't even need to post; every imaginable question has already been asked and answered there.)

As well as shocking when necessary, just keeping a sufficient level of chlorine can help with continuously oxidizing chloramines. Often when you get buildup it's because the chlorine level in the pool dipped too low. In fact, for a residential pool that doesn't normally see large numbers of swimmers, if the chlorine level is kept consistent (somewhere between one and several ppm depending on things like pool type, whether a salt water chlorine generator is used, amount of sunlight, etc.), shocking regularly may not even be necessary. (We almost never shock ours, and with our SWG running at around 20% about 8 hours per day, consistently maintain 1-2ppm free chlorine, and almost zero combined chlorine (chloramines). Again, YMMV depending on a number of factors, but the key is to keep a sufficient free chlorine level (which may mean boosting it up in anticipation of a large swimmer load, such as before a party), and then yes, shocking if it does drop down too low and chloramines spike.

It's extremely helpful to have a decent test kit, like the ones sold by Taylor. The color-change 'strips' are almost worse than useless, as they can often give misleading readings. The info at troublefreepool.com is also very useful when first learning this stuff.

There's plenty of organic compounds within our respiratory tracts and other mucus membranes, so it would make sense that if chlorine gets in there, regardless of whether there's already chloramine in the environment, there soon will be.

Also, chloramine is what gives a pool that "pool smell".

Makes you wonder about outdoor swimming pools (which would equally include water parks) that use chlorine. Given UV breaks it down, it would explain why outdoor pools that use chlorine, tend to have higher levels to counter the increased loss.

Which makes you wonder about exposure, whilst out in the open, the levels of chlorine gas given off would be higher. So a sunny calm day, may well be the case of higher exposure levels than a shaded indoor pool. Equally indoor pools that are exposed to UV sources would theoretically be the worst offenders in chlorine exposure.

I submit that on sunny calm days with no wind at all, an outdoor pool will still get more air ventilation than the vast majority of indoor pools because, despite the absence of wind, you'll still get convection currents in the immediate area of the pool (particularly because the deck will usually get quite hot as it bakes in the sun.)

This may be the same issue as is seen in crop pesticides. The practitioners don’t trust the science and try to play it safe by adding more than is advised.

So safer to use outdoor pools if that's an option.

UVC sterilizers seem like another option I think, not sure how effective that is though, and I'm not sure of the availability of things like this.

It would sterilize water passing through the system, but not maintain ambient antipathogenicity. Typically, a diatomaceous pool filter, pool sweeper (like the old Polaris... the pool Roomba from the 1980's), chlorination and chemistry monitoring are needed.

This article's full of problems.

The first reason chloramine gets to be a problem is users don't shower before entering the pool. The amount of urine a swimmer can introduce into the water is small compared to the amount of urea coming off their unwashed body. Icelandic people religiously shower before entering their shared baths, and look on non-showering the way we might look at people not bothering to wiping their backside.

And the other two big misconceptions are that time will take care of the problem (chlorine evaporates, amines don't) and that you can just dump in chlorine or other chemicals to get rid of the problem. It uses far less energy and wastes less water to simply dump and replace the pool water (chlorine tablets require ridiculous amounts of water and energy in their manufacture).

Pool shock (a spike in active chlorine) will react with amines and oxidise them -- saying they don't work is bizarre. It is painful to do manually though. A UV filtration system is far easier, but also far more expensive.

Dumping water isn't practical as many places have water restrictions. Chlorine gas is produced in vast quantities industrially, then compounds like calcium chloride, sodium hypochlorite and sodium dichloroisocyanurate, which are used in both fresh water and waste water treatment. So when you dump your pool water you are still using chlorination, just at the municipal level.

"saying they don't work is bizarre"- that it doesn't work is pretty much exactly what the article says, and it's true, as long as "work" is defined as not turning your eyes red.

Shock is useful for raising the total chlorine concentration in the pool, which is useful for discouraging bacteria, but it'll boil off in a day. If you have more amines to tie up chlorine than you add chlorine, bacteria and algae grow because the shock doesn't become "free chlorine".

UV light removes chlorine from the pool, but similarly does little to remove amines.

Dumping the water in a pool uses an equivalent amount of water to watering a similarly sized lawn over the course of as little as a few months. It's not free, but it distorts the overall scale of usage to bring up water restrictions.

A fresh fill of pool water has no amines in it, and consumes very little chlorine at the municipal level (which boils off quickly). Just because something is "produced in vast quantities industrially" doesn't make it cheaper than water. It's not. Hypochlorite tablets and shock are, like aluminum, essentially solid electricity.

The article is not saying chlorine doesn't work... It's saying don't poo in the pool.

The shock is not primarily to kill bacteria, but to deal with the amines. It is designed to disperse, because the concentration of chlorine would be far too high for people -- usually 10x the normal level of free chlorine. If you went into a pool with so much contamination (ammonia products or slime) that pool shock wouldn't work, you'd be getting very sick.

UV does not remove chlorine (chlorine ions are elemental), but it does break down amines and kill pathogens. How it works is complicated: 259983997_Effects_of_Combined_UV_and_Chlorine_Treatment_on_the_Formation_of_Trichloronitromethane_from_Amine_Precursors

Many areas with water restrictions ban dumping and refilling pools, which would in many cases would incur a cost of thousands of dollars, vs $30 for a bucket of shock.

Do people actually water lawns outside of Hollywood and golf courses?

In semi-arid southern Australia, even with a native (low-rainfall) grass, the "lawns" need help through the summer. In the cities I've no idea of the split between native grasses and thirsty "decorative" grasses - but both are common.


"The amount of urine a swimmer can introduce into the water is small compared to the amount of urea coming off their unwashed body" - really? how much urea does a normal human have on their body, assumed they wash at all e.g. if they showered this morning, and go to pool after work ? Assuming they don't spend the day pissing on themselves, do we just secrete urea?

Yes, we do (a little bit).

Uric acid and urea in human sweat: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12817713

Also remember the number of people getting in the pool is likely much larger then the number of people peeing in it.

That's weird, because the only reason to go to a public pool is so you could pee in it.

The article does mention several times that people should shower before using the pool, in addition to not urinating in the water.

>users Tee-hee

I've always wanted a product that you could add to the swimming pool water that reacts to human urine by coloring the water immediately surrounding the pee-er. Say a neon orange or red. Over time, the colored water gets diluted and disappears. Maybe pee-shaming is what's required to stop people from doing it.

I vaguely remember this being a plot point in an episode of 'The Adventures of Pete and Pete'†. I'm sure there are plenty of chemists that have valiantly attempted to find something that could both stay stable in UV-blasted chlorinated water and react with a weak acid to give an absorption in the visible wavelength. . .but that is a very long and hard-to-fulfill wishlist.

Anyway, it's just any sort of amine reacting with chlorine that produces the chloramines that irritate your eyes. Even if nobody urinated in the pool, the sweat people produce would still be able to cause it. Obviously it wouldn't deplete chlorine as quickly, but it isn't that irritation only comes from urine alone.

Further, I'm more worried by this: > "We have a new parasitic germ that has emerged that's immune to chlorine," says Beach. "We've got to keep it out of the pool in the first place. We need additional barriers." - Dr. M Beach, Associate Director at Healthy Water, CDC

† See here: https://youtu.be/xQOePM_ewVM?list=PLBwI3kpp6F3Kk0_jpewLabhLT...

Pete & Pete continues to be one of those weirder shows that definitely messed me up from watching it as a kid. I seem to have some weird suppressed memory of a brain freeze episode as well. Weird stuff.

I remember a brain freeze episode as well! I can't really recall the plot anymore, but that one definitely stuck with me for some reason.

Pete & Pete is an absolutely fantastic and deeply strange show. Many lazy summer days of my childhood were spent trying to re-create some of the things I saw on it. It's an eternal favorite.

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Pete-Season/dp/B01IMU1MQA (the 1st season)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWL6oTWQDfQ (arguably their best episode, Das Bus)

I always felt terrible for the chain smoking crossing guard that never abandoned his post. Until little pete took over and made mad cash out of it. But a young Buscemi and king of the road were my favorites.

I immediately though of that Pete and Pete episode too! I would imagine it would be difficult or impossible to find a chemical that would react with urine, but not sweat or other stuff coming off your body, that would be safe to swim in.

I saw a video on YouTube where a researcher described a way to estimate the volume of pee diluted in the pool water measuring the artificial sweetener present in a sample.

This will exclude people that don't drink zero calories soft drinks tho...

Maybe there's a machine learning solution. If we could have devices that could somehow probe the temperature of the water on an X,Y graph and detect when the ambient temperature around an individual has changed we can sound an alarm to detect possible urination or even a laser that can draw a circle around the targeted area.

>>Even if nobody urinated in the pool, the sweat people produce would still be able to cause it.

That's not an issue though, because it would still provide the benefit of showing you exactly how clean/dirty the water is.

I may be missing the joke here, but for many years swimming pools merely _claimed_ they had this, to discourage people.

I distinctly remember hearing--and believing--that rumor when I was growing up. Now that I know it isn't true, I'm not afraid to pee in the pool ;)

Well that's certainly antisocial.

He didn't say he did it.

How bad is urine really, in the quantities found in a typical pool? Remember that doctors used to taste urine, to test for e.g. diabetes.

The problem is that the organic nitrogen in the urine reacts with the chlorine in the pool to form chloramine, which is more irritating to eyes and skin than what was in the pool before--probably hypochlorites (NaClO, Ca(ClO)2, or LiClO) with cyanuric acid UV-stabilizer--and less effective at killing bacteria.

By peeing in the pool, you are using up the sterilization capacity already present in the water. The water quality manager then has to increase the rate of chlorination far past what is strictly necessary for bacteria, sweat, skin dust, and sunblock, to account for all the pool-pissers. With over-chlorination and a good particulate filter, some amount of pee in the pool can be absorbed by the system. But if you have the capability to exit the pool and pee in a toilet, that is the civilized and courteous thing to do.

If you recognize NaClO above, you might also know it as bleach. And you might also know that it is very dangerous to mix ammonia with bleach, because it forms respiratory irritants like chloramines and cyanogen chloride. The same types of reactions can occur with the urea in urine.

Also, urine can fertilize algae growth in the pool and screw up your pool pH.

even if the pool contained only urine, I don't think there would be any particular health hazard. Maybe if you drink too much of it, you could get some kind of salt poisoning, but then the same risks would occur when swimming in the sea.

Urine is sterile. That's why it's good to pee on wounds.

Edit: Wow, what harsh downmodding :) Yes I was wrong and learned something, isn't it still useful to keep my comment here for other's education? I literally heard this "urine is sterile" comment in the last couple of weeks. I stand corrected, thanks!

Urine is not sterile,though it normally doesn't contain harmful bacteria, and it's not generally good to pee on wounds, and even the specific cases it's been popularized as a treatment for (jellyfish stings) it's not a good idea.

I think this should go without saying, but this is obviously untrue. Yet, I've heard it more times than I could ever recall.

Where did this myth come from?

It came from the time when harmless bacteria weren't recognized as a thing, only infectious germs; urine from a healthy person does not tend to contain harmful bacteria and is this not an infection vector, thus it was held, incorrectly, to be sterile.

You're not being downvoted as a punishment, it's to help signal that the comment is wrong.

And you're only at a medium gray color.

Really? Why do I bother lathering my hand for 20 seconds and losing fat and then rubbing alcohol on it after I accidentally splash a bit?

Because you don’t like the smell? You’re afraid other people will think you are gross? You have been trained to fear pee?

In normal circumstances getting urine on skin (or drinking small amounts of it for that matter) is not going to cause you any health problem. Urine contains various toxins your liver removed from your bloodstream, so drinking large amounts of it might not be the best idea.

Modern American (and possibly other) cultures have various taboos around cleanliness, including disgust about pee and peeing. But often these are not based on serious health fears.

Don’t pee on wounds though. Urine is not sterile. https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/gory-details/urine-not-ster...

Actually, if you are just using the bathroom to pee, you should probably wash your hands before you go, as your hands are usually "dirtier" than your genitals are.

Dark and moist genital area is a much better breeding ground than light-exposed, dry hands. I assure you there are microbes down there.

Though interestingly, it can be according the article's summary of the study?

    More than 70 percent of the urine samples contained 
    bacteria, including at least 33 types of bacteria 
    (at the genus level) in normal urine. 
This suggests that 30% were sterile.

Because you just touched your pelvic region which has tons more bacteria than urine itself does. Urine will have some, especially some from the urethra on the way out, so definitely shouldn't be considered sterile, but wash your hands if you're touching your pelvic region in general please.

Exactly. Fecal coliform bacteria migrate: https://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1043/why-are-men-s...

I think your hands probably have more bacteria than your junk.

Is this the justifications of a pool defiler?

Well, if it's not an issue, why bother spending time solving it?

I played club water polo when I was college. We would have tournaments at neighboring universities and we once visited a pool that was apparently sanitized with bromine instead of chlorine (The bromine pools had a much saltier taste). We were warming up for a game and someone noticed that peeing in the pool actually turned the water green, and we all started doing it. The lifeguard saw us all huddled by the edge and asked us to stop.

Why on earth would you pee in the pool to begin with?

Every competitive swimmer or water polo player pees in the pool. Nobody really cares about it.

I love this story.

My dad once told me that this was done when he was young (so I'd guess around late 60's / early 70's). He told me it wasn't received well by the public, as swimmers (especially young children and older people) can loose some urine by accident. The dye in the water would damage their confidence.

It was never done nor possible.

Maybe they shouldn't be in the pool then.

If you know a humane way to get children and seniors to never accidentally pee a little you could be making a lot of money.

Keep them in a separate pool or mandate pool diapers. Consider this thought experiment. You have a movie theatre where the people on the balcony may pee and that pee drips down on the faces of people below them. Would this be considered acceptable and would I be considered insensitive for complaining and insisting that those people wear diapers or else should not be in a place where their pee ends up in the faces of others? Why is it acceptable in a swimming pool?

> Keep them in a separate pool or mandate pool diapers

Pool diapers have roughly zero effect on urine (the whole reason for pool diapers is to retain feces in an environment where liquid absorbent diapers inherently will fail completely.) So, the pool diapers plan for dealing with urination is unworkable.

'Grown Ups' Blue Urine Clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbkNt48cvsg

While nice in theory, it'll be bad for business for public swimming pools. Think of how many young kids are in the pool (under 3 years of age). Whether you like it or not, there's pee in the pool.

Most pools require toddlers and infants to wear special swim diapers that provide some type of barrier to prevent pee (and worse) from getting in the water. Not that they're foolproof, but if you are swimming in a pool that doesn't require this, I would get out. There are some really nasty diseases that come from human waste that I would not want to come in contact with.

Swim diapers do very little to keep pee or dissolved feces in them. They are there to keep turds from floating away long enough for a parent to take care of it.

Also, how many dirty assholes are getting cleaned by the pool water? That dude that was just grunting in the stall of the locker room likely didn't wash his ass before jumping in.

Iceland has solved that problem... https://icelandmag.is/article/wash-thoroughly-without-swimsu...

Makes sense, not sure why other countries don't do the same. I'd much prefer fewer chemicals in the water and a required shower than the current system in the US.

That's what I do after spending time in Finland. The funny thing is, everyone else in the pool looks at me like I'm crazy for showering and using soap before I get in the pool, they just get themselves wet in their swimming trunks before going in.

That actually sounds fantastic. Cleanliness, equality, shameless nudity, and a little compassion. What great qualities to instill into people.

> Most pools require toddlers and infants to wear special swim diapers that provide some type of barrier to prevent pee (and worse) from getting in the water.

Swim diapers are to prevent feces from getting in the pool, or at least greatly limit the quantity. They really don't do much of anything for urine, nor are they intended to. (An absorbent diaper in a pool would be useless and fail completely as it would become oversaturated.)

Not sure why this is getting downvoted because it’s 100% correct. I’ve got two toddlers, we use these and it says this on the package.

Dunno why. Swim diapers are only to keep solid poop from escaping into the water. They aren't at all meant to keep in urine. To keep urine (or liquid poo) from escaping you'd basically need some kind of completely waterproof barrier between the kiddo and the pool water... which would be pretty friggin awkward to wear.

I wonder if that's a local thing or new thing. I've never heard of nor seen a diaper like that, and I used to go to lots of pools.

Swim diapers don't look like conventional diapers; they look pretty close to normal swim briefs (and in some cases are worn under other swimwear and are pretty unnoticeable.) They are a solids barrier, not filled with absorbent material like conventional diapers.

They also, contrary to GP, are not at all intended to control urine release, only feces.

The quantity of urea would be to low unfortunately for any indicator compound. https://youtu.be/S32y9aYEzzo

And Snopes, at https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/piscine-of-the-crime/ :

> No matter what your parents might have told you, there isn’t any magical chemical that when added to a swimming pool will reveal the presence of urine in the water by producing a brightly-colored cloud:

Have you ever seen the south park episode, "minorities in my water park?" lol

Gosh this is not gonna go well with the public. I know several kids who just can't hold pee in the pool. They'll just let it out. Also its not like the toilets are right there. You often have to get out of the pool, walk like 100 yards or down a flight of stairs. It's a PITA. Even Michael Phelps once said in an interview that very rarely competitive swimmers get out of the pool to pee.

I'm constantly shocked and disgusted that people actually pee in pools and that it's not some joke someone made up somewhere.

I mean, what about all the other body fluids/debris that are in pools? Saliva, sweat, earwax, belly button lint, bird shit, insects, band-aids, small animal carcasses that get trapped in the filters but are removed before the pool opens?

There's no avoiding other peoples/animals grossness, frankly whether your in a pool or just out and about.

Urine may be gross, but it's sterile, and at least for me, there are grosser things in pools.

"Gross" doesn't necessarily mean unhealthy.

I swim in the San Francisco Bay 3 times a week, 25 minutes at a time, no goggles, just a cap and a bathing suit. I've swum near gross things like dead seagulls & dead seals, and I'm sure a lot of gross stuff drains into the Bay, but as long as the sewage treatment plant doesn't overflow I'm not worried.

Agreed, that's kinda my point. The evolutionary theory behind why we have feelings of grossness is just that "this thing is potentially dangerous to me," so we developed this sense of "gross" so we'd avoid the potentially harmful thing (although a quick google search doesn't bring back the study i'm thinking of that demonstrated this). But obviously that reinforced/learned feeling might not always be accurate.

I get grossed out by plenty of things, so I have to consciously evaluate whether it's just gross, vs actually a problem. If it's just gross, I can consciously then decide to just get over it and have a nice swim (or whatever) regardless.

EDIT: Here's a couple links about what I'm trying to get at:

Study on disgust and the spread of disease: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.201...

Article on digust wrt the spread of disease: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/science/disgusts-evolutio...

I'm not sure about other cultures, but in Japan they're pretty explicit about washing before entering an onsen. They even discourage putting your towel in the water, wearing a bathing suit, or submerging your head (as well as going when you have open cuts or sores). But, they also prefer mineral water to chlorine and it's generally fed from a spring or the water is changed every day.

I'm not a fan of overly cleanliness, but not doing these things means you have to add more chlorine. In addition to the aesthetic unpleasantness of chlorine and other chemicals, it's harder on the pool equipment and like another commenter said, it should require better ventilation that most pools currently have.

This reminds me of being grossed out by particular foods. Nowadays I take the approach that if people have eaten it for a long time, it's probably worth at least a try.

Perhaps helped out because my #1 example is chicken. Who doesn't like chicken?... me, as a kid, because it was often prepared terribly.

This is why I don't swim in pools or natural bodies of water any more.

I never thought about it as a kid, but as an adult I'm much more conscious of all of this really disgusting stuff in there and it just really grosses me out.

That's why public pools really push showering /before/ you get into the pool.

Most of the things you listed you have no control over, but you can totally get out of the pool to pee. I see zero reason to pee in a public pool unless you are a toddler and have no control over it.

I read an article recently (can't find it) that the worst offenders are pro swimmers. They drink loads of water during their multi-hour workouts, and don't take breaks to go pee...

Your comment appears to suggest you would find it not unpleasant to swim in a pool entirely filled with urine. Or do you acknowledge the fact that a lower concentration of bodily fluids in a swimming pool is more attractive as a swimmer?

I'm saying that singling out urine as the thing to be grossed out about in a pool, while understandable in a vacuum, is in reality one of the least problematic things in a pool, or in your daily environment in general.

So you shouldn't let the thought of potential urine in a pool stop you from enjoying pools, because if that's your threshold, you're going to have to drastically modify your daily habits to avoid things that are more dangerous/gross you encounter during every day tasks.

Everyone has their "this grosses me out" quirks. I just find it beneficial to do a reality check on them, to make sure that there's actually a reason to be grossed out by it, instead of letting an unfounded fear affect my decision making. And the reason I find this important is because I have plenty of those quirks myself.

>Your comment appears to suggest you would find it not unpleasant to swim in a pool entirely filled with urine.

I really hope someday I don't have to explicitly say things like "Just because I'm capable of swimming in a pool that might have some urine in it, doesn't mean I'm OK with swimming in a pool comprised solely of urine."

> I really hope someday I don't have to explicitly say things like "Just because I'm capable of swimming in a pool that might have some urine in it, doesn't mean I'm OK with swimming in a pool comprised solely of urine."

Just like I long for the day I don't have to explain to somebody that just because I know urine isn't dangerous to swim in doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer to swim in a pool with less urine. Yet here we are.

What was it W.C. Fields used to say about drinking water?

Fish chlorinate it?

“It’s good for you”


Urine is not sterile. Please stop spreading this myth. It's causing people do to nasty stuff like pee i sinks.

You could try to convince yourself of the therapeutic benefits of urine, might be better for your psyche in the long run.

Sort of like, spit in fast food builds antibodies.

I heard somewhere an interview with a water polo player who said he'd never known a player to get out of the pool to pee.

Sometimes kids even poop in the pool. Happened at a pool we went to last week.

Urine and feces are completely different from a bacterial point of view, so this is a completely different level of contamination.

At a kiddie pool I visited sometimes, this happened and they drained the whole thing. Maybe there is a chlorine regime that can be applied when/if this happens to a larger pool.

I would never swim in a pool like this. Every pool I've been to required toddlers to wear special swim diapers to prevent exactly this scenario.

There are some really nasty diseases that can spread through human waste, and I would not want to come in contact with them.

Parent of two kids that have used swim diapers. I would be very surprised if those diapers were even 10% effective. Out of the pool they're basically 0% effective.

And yes, I've read the instructions, and spoken to the folks who run the pool.

Mostly I think they're just there to keep the poop in long enough to get the kid out of the pool.

That is exactly what the swim diapers are for!

Are you suggesting that perhaps some people think it is all right to leave their kid in the pool with a swim diaper full of excrement?

Sure, but it's not always obvious when a kid wearing a swim diaper poops. And they don't always tell you. Especially if they know it means they have to get out of the pool to change the diaper.

Swim diapers basically keep the _turds_ stationary. Water will still chew away at it and disperse poop everywhere, so its basically run out of the water when an "accident" happens. Still better than solid poop floating around I guess, but also, potentially, really nasty.

And this is a dead giveaway you're not a parent, or have never dealt with swim diapers :)

Swim diapers are designed to simply make sure the poop and the kid are in the same general area and that it's easy to remove them from the water as a self contained unit. It will still absolutely contaminate the water in some way, there's no escaping it.

Or, rather, there is a lot escaping it. :)

Poop can still leak out of swim diapers. After going to swim lessons with my daughter and a dozen other 6-month-olds at the local YMCA, I understand why it is so heavily chlorinated.

Dark secret - swim diapers don't hold everything in.

I got a staff infection from the pool at our apartment when I was in middle school. Looking back, that apartment complex was a real dump.

I wish they would ban swim diapers altogether. You never know what's in there, there probably is something, if the parents see the necessity. Just ban child and parent for a month if they can't hold it and spoil the pool for everyone.

So how exactly do you propose telling a 1 or 2 year old not to poop in a pool?

Children who do not have proper bowel control yet are out of place in the public pool. Why should people have to put up with someone else's faeces? It's not hygienic.

I agree with you, but more importantly, I think I'm done with pools after reading the comments today.

You’ve been swimming in pools your entire life. Somehow you are still alive. Maybe it is way less of a deal than it actually seems.

When I grew up they always had a separate pool for babies.

potty training!

Sure, but the pool is supposed to be closed for a while for clean-up.

This is likely not a widespread policy (or if it is, I doubt it's followed), but I'm pretty sure at a pool I worked at if there was feces they would evacuate the pool for 20m. 20m was chosen because that's how long the pump system would circulate all of the water 1x or 3x.

When the sign says "shower before entering the pool" they aren't just talking about sweat. They mean "clean your butthole, you are a filthy primate". If your butthole isn't clean before you enter the pool, you're pooping in the pool.

Just wait until you find out what's in the ocean.

Umm... that's why you pee before you get in the pool. 100 yards isn't that much to ask to avoid swimming around in your own, and other's piss. Those kids will be swimming around for hours exerting way more energy than the walk to the bathroom. FFS. This is why I don't swim in pools.

Uh, I hate to break it to you, but unless you swim in a dead body of water, there are worse things than human urine and feces in the water...

Where I live, plenty more people are infected from bacteria in goose poop in lakes than from human waste in swimming pools.

That’s why it’s never such a good idea to swim in a lake.

At the very least, you shouldn’t stick your head in the water, and swimming in shallower areas exposes you more strongly to contaminants than in deep areas.

conversely, it seems like unless there are dead bodies in the water, human waste would be the worst likely contaminant. or am I missing something?

There's certainly the dead bodies/waste products of fish in natural water, and there's no chlorine to sterilize them.

Yeah, don't care. The mental image of 1000 kids peeing in the pool, and the same water being in it for months on end grosses me out to no end.

I also honestly can't imagine what is worse than human piss and shit. Maybe those leeches that swim up your dickhole? I don't think there are any of those around here. I'm genuinely curious what is worse...

> This is why I don't swim in pools.

Meaning you swim in lakes/rivers instead? I doubt animal waste and decay products are better. At least the pool has chlorine.

Wait until you find out you splash yourself with urine every time you use the toilet. Or that millions of bacteria are defecating on you as we speak. It's all in your head, these things are not harming you.

If said kids can't avoid peeing in the pool they shouldn't be in the pool or should be wearing diapers to avoid pissing all over fellow patrons.

The restrooms are rarely convenient in big box stores or the mall they are often a fair hike away but you don't see little Johnny hiking up his leg to pee on his fellow shoppers.

No diaper can hold pee in while in a pool. Pool diapers only hold poo, and even then only some of it.

> Pool diapers only hold poo, and even then only some of it.

Quite a lot, actually, but not all.


“Swim diapers of all three brands exhibited an approximately equal fine-solids retention capability of about 98 to 99 percent over 30 minutes of water immersion activity. Conventional disposable diapers invariably fell down or came apart during the experiments, resulting in very limited solids retention. This study indicates that commercially available swim diapers represent a vast improvement in reducing the potential for fecal material release in public pool facilities, but that some release will still generally occur with these products.”

I wonder how well they work in the real world? I had trouble finding a properly fitting swim diaper for my son. They seemed to require a fairly tight fit around the abdomen and legs (which vary greatly across children and as the grow). Because it's only a handful of times during the summer and most places only carried 1 or 2 styles, I can see the few people who got them might not have the right size or wear it properly.

If your kid for any reason including swim diapers sucking can't keep from shitting up the pool your kid just has to wait until this isn't true to swim doesn't seem like a hard choice.

Thanks for sharing your opinion, but I don't really see how that contributes to this conversation. This comments section has a whole lot of pretty hostile replies calling out parents. I don't really see how that addresses anything.

In my case, my child's doctor recommended taking him to a pool as therapy for his motor skills because of developmental problems. He was still over a year away from being potty trained. I researched and ordered 2 or 3 different swim diapers and tried to find the one that fit the best.

During this time I noticed that most brick-and-mortar stores only carry 1 or 2 kinds and I'm sure parents going to the pool on summer vacation won't have the patience I did. Which is why I was curious about this study. It reminded me that condom use is 98% effective, but under typical use is 88-90%. I can easily see the same thing happening with swim diaper effectiveness.

If you're actually concerned about public health and not just the ick factor, I would think young children would be completely banned in most pools or policies for dealing with feces would be more clear when it comes to licensing and regulation. This wasn't my experience working around pools years ago.

"In my case, my child's doctor recommended taking him to a pool as therapy for his motor skills because of developmental problems. He was still over a year away from being potty trained"

Seems like a special case that applies to 1 in 100,000. In most cases kids in diapers indeed ought to be restricted from public pools.

I'm not sure how common it is, but I've seen/heard of on multiple occasions a kid needing to pee in a department store and the parent saying something like "just go over there", with "over there" being somewhere on the floor where employees can't see.

Luckily this isn't a majorly normal thing, but it does happen from time to time.

Where in the world do you live?

If you've ever been to a resort with a wet bar, you might see people drinking for several hours without getting out of the pool. One can draw conclusions.

I was curious, so here's a source for the Michael Phelps tidbit:


Michael Phelps was fucking with whomever was interviewing him. I was a competitive swimmer and it's almost impossible to need to go pee while working out in a pool. Not only are you getting dehydrated by sweating profusely, you are getting dehydrated via osmosis.

I doubt Phelps was fucking with the interviewer. I was also a competitive swimmer and my experience matches what Phelps said.

Many of the detectible compounds found in human urine are also in another excretion our body makes: sweat.

I would think anyone running a pool open to the public wouldn't use it, it would require them to drain the pool every time a baby pees in their swim diaper. And if it became law, there'd just be no public pools.

I support this but don't let the colour disappear. So that you know that you're getting into a pee pool or not.

That would be wildly expensive as it would require you to drain the entire pool afterwards.

Who cares about the financial impact when you've that sweet mysophobia to drive your decisions?

Kids today would do it just to see the colored circles.

EDIT: Come to think of it... kids from my day tried it because they heard that's what it would do. So. Doesn't matter. Wouldn't help. People are still peeing in the pool. I, personally, cannot fathom doing such a thing. Who is okay peeing in a pool other people are using? Who?

we allegedly had just such a product in use in my high school swim class

it was almost certainly fictional, but it still might've worked

have the kids drink a 1/8 of a cup of pool water when they get out (just kidding)

I see a lot of comments in these threads regarding the old idea of a red cloud to indicate someone has peed in the pool. This idea never dies and I think I know where it started...

When I was a lifeguard, we had to test the pH levels of the pool water every few hours. This entailed taking a sample of water, adding a few drops from a dropper and noting the shade of red the sample turned.

We would tell the kids that we were checking that the "pee detector" was working. I really think this is what has fueled the notion that it's possible to turn pool water red to catch pool pee-ers.

PS - I cannot recommend a summer job lifeguarding to anyone teenager, it was honestly one of the best jobs I ever had.

I think you mean "I can recommend a summer job lifeguarding" :)

I also was a lifeguard all during high school, and if it was financially viable at this stage in my life I would do it again.

You are very correct! Unfortunately it's too late to edit now..

I've always heard it was blue. And have seen movie scenes with blue as well.

who doesn't want blue pool water?

"Approximately 58 per cent of Canadians admitted to peeing in the pool at least once in a recent survey of 9,500 people conducted by Travelocity." Never looking a Canadians the same ever again.

Actually, this is a completely incorrect statement in the article. If you follow the link they show in the article, it brings you to an article about a survey that TravelZoo did and the question is: "Have you ever taken a tinkle in the ocean or a pool?" The OCEAN or the pool. This completely changes the question and so the 58% regarding 'peeing in a pool' is wrong (it could easily be that 99% of those people peed in the ocean and not a pool, which is very different). Plus it shows that 64% of Americans said "yes" to that question, so the American number is higher. This is what happens when articles just haphazardly brush over actual statistics and completely distort their meaning...

Plus the CBC doesn't even get the source name right - it's TravelZoo not Travelocity... This is some shabby work. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/64-of-americans-pee-in-po_n_7...

To paraphrase a HaHaOnlySerious joke about diving:

"There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have peed in a pool. And those who lie about it."

Everyone as a kid who has gone into a pool is probably right, but I doubt all adults who’ve been in a pool have done so.

A HaHaOnlySerious joke is not meant to represent absolute truth, but to be truthful enough to provoke reflection on the subject.

In this case, I am suggesting that if you survey some large group of Canadians, and 58% admit to peeing in a pool, there is also some non-trivial number of Canadians surveyed who have peed in a pool, but will not admit it to you.

Maybe not 42%, but also maybe not 2%.

I didn't know a single person on the swim team in high school who didn't pee in the pool. Now they're not exactly "adults" technically, but neither are they children.

I've never peed in a pool, or a shower for that matter. I have a hand-washing based obsessive compulsive disorder, which I'm sure is part of it.

> I've never peed in a pool

Yet there's this huge market for incontinence pads, and elder swim, too. Do you think incontinence magically stops when you're in a swimming pool? Don't you think the times you swam you had trace amounts of pee leaving your body?

Let's not pretend this is a purely binary issue. If one in ten people leak a little bit that's 50x less pee than everyone going on purpose.

Have you ever been discriminated against because of your hand-washing compulsion?

Why the hell would you pee in the pool? I never did it, and really think those who do are disgusting and should not be allowed to use public pools.

Finland had a serial pooper scare last year.

Serial pooper takes fourth dump in Oulu's Raksila swimming hall pool https://metropolitan.fi/entry/serial-pooper-takes-fourth-dum...

A shall-remain-nameless friend worked summers as a lifeguard at the local YMCA as a teenager. Lifeguarding is a stressful, hot, long, low-paying job. Enthusiasm can wane, especially at the end of summer. As a favor to her fellow co-workers, said friend went ahead and shat the pool on her last day, mandating a 24-hr public health closure of the facility, and thus gifting everyone a free day off.

I went to check if he was caught... and found out that there was another serial pooper in Haapavesi this January. (Ilta-Sanomat January 11).

I'm convinced also very many of terrorism crimes are simply copycats who want to see headlines.

This blows my mind. I’ve never considered doing this in a pool at any age and can’t believe anyone else would either. Yet half of the population apparently has, and they think everyone else does it too.

What's the harm in it? The amount of urine is negligible in relation to the water, and unless you're sick with a UTI or something urine is sterile anyways.

I don't get it the other way around - why do people freak out about it? I don't care one way or the other whatever or not people piss in the pool next to me - its like somebody splashing you with water in the middle of a rainstorm.

It's still pretty much the most sterile thing that comes off or out of a human. If you really want your pool to be clean, you should make it avoid skin contact.

It reacts with Chlorine to produce an irritant that irritates your eyes and nose.

> It reacts with Chlorine to produce an irritant that irritates your eyes and nose.

So does pretty much everything related to your body, including the stuff usually present on your skin, the outside of your eyes, and the inside of your nose, throat, and lungs.

Which is part of why chlorine itself is noted to be “irritating to the nose, throat, and lungs” and “[a] severe irritant of the eyes”, without any qualifications of “if first combined with urine.” [0]

And why, when chlorine was used as a chemical weapon in warfare, it wasn't as a chlorine-urine binary agent.

[0] https://www.cleartech.ca/ckfinder/userfiles/files/MSDS/Chlor...

we had a swim-up bar at our resort and plenty of alcoholic drinks were consumed over the course of a day, and not many bathroom breaks were taken

"I" statements. :-) reminds me of "Mistakes were made!"

Just wait until you hear what's in the ocean!

What? Everyone knows you're supposed to pee while standing under the shower before you get into the pool.

The linked statistic asked “pool or ocean”. Peeing in the ocean is fine. When they quoted the statistic they shortened it to just pool; a misleading quote at best.

42% of Canadians are liars? or just don't visit the pool often?

The pool is frozen solid for half the year. You can pee on it if you want but it just sits there in a frozen yellow puddle on top until the spring thaw. It can be pretty incriminating.

Also it tends to dribble down your snowmobile pants and onto your mukluks.

an the other 42% lied

And Canadians are supposed to be the polite ones.

teekert 64 days ago [flagged]


This has been well-known by swimmers for a long time: chlorine itself is pretty much fine for you. It's the chemical reaction of chlorine with waste products, including human waste, that produces toxic byproducts and the concomitant "pool smell."

If you swim in a well-maintained pool (e.g. one of my university's competition swimming pools), there's no "pool smell."

> chlorine itself is pretty much fine for you

It's difficult to imagine a context that would make this sentence reasonable. Chlorine is a light halogen. It's fine if it's bound to something stable, like in salt. It certainly isn't fine by itself. It's literally one step up from fluorine, the most horrifying substance known to man.

The safety diamond for chlorine rates it a 4 for health: "Very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury".

Not to mention the fact that elemental Chlorine gas is incredibly poisonous and was used in WW1 (the first gaseous chemical weapon according to Wikipedia).

One step from being fluorine? That's a nuclear reaction. Elements can't change during chemical reactions.

Not one reaction step, one row up in the periodic table, as a sign for "what is it chemically similar to"

The scent of bleach and the scent of "pool smell" are almost exactly the same to me.

strangemonad elsewhere here posted a link to a video evaluating the question of how much pee there is in pools, using the excretion of an artificial sweetener - which is only in urine and not, like urea, also in sweat - as the indicator.

The presenter is also dubious about the origin of the smell, and thinks that it comes from the chlorine, not the trichloramine product of chlorine interacting with urea. So he tests it out by mixing pool chlorine into two buckets, putting urine in one of them, covering for a few days, and smelling.

That experiment is run starting at https://youtu.be/S32y9aYEzzo?t=284 . The chlorinated water, even at 4x concentration, "smells just like water." While the one where urine was added "smells like a pool."

is it possible that this is simply sweat instead of actual pee?

serious question - I thought sweat is mostly comprised of the same excretion. just surprised 'peeing in the pool' is so normal.

The video covers that question.

The description of the details start at https://youtu.be/S32y9aYEzzo?t=88 . The "show more" for the video has a link to the researcher's paper at Dropbox. You can also read the paper at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.estlett.7b00043 .

The relevant text from in the ACS link "ACE, used in prepackaged foods,(18, 29, 30) is not metabolized by humans; it is completely absorbed and excreted exclusively in the urine,(29, 31)"

[29] Voltz, M.; Christ, O.; Eckert, H. G.; Herok, J.; Kellner, H.-M.; Rupp, W. Kinetics and biotransformation of acesulfame K. In Acesulfame-K; Mayer, D. G.; Kemper, F. H., Eds.; Marcel Dekker: New York, 1991; pp 7– 26.

[31] Renwick, A. G. The metabolism of intense sweeteners Xenobiotica 1986, 16, 1057– 71 DOI: 10.3109/00498258609038983

Any idea what makes tap water smell like a pool? It evaporates out pretty quickly (a day or so in a normal pitcher), whatever the cause, and I've always assumed it was chlorine since it smells like a tiny waft of bleach.

Quoting myself in the comment you replied to, "the trichloramine product of chlorine interacting with urea".

That's probably less of an issue for water straight from the tap than a pool / a bucket of water that was peed into. Unless there's more urea in tap water than I expect.

That is because both are the same thing: sodium hypochlorite

Are you sure your University isn't using bromine instead of chlorine? Bromine is more expensive but then you don't get the "pool smell". It's what they use at Disney parks.

A well-maintained & chemically balanced pool should not smell under typical circumstances.

I owned a 40,000 gallon in-ground pool and followed a method called the "Trouble-Free Pool method". The only chemical requirements are normal bleach (chlorine) and a pH adjuster. No "shock", no algaecide, no pool store shenanigans. My pool was pristine & sparkling blue, and never smelled or hurt guests' eyes or turned blonde hair green. My family (including two small children) could swim all day long and never have irritated eyes.

It's really about being very careful about the chemistry (step 1 is to get a high-quality testing kit). Public pools are... less than fastidious about chemical balance and standards are much looser.

I think you're thinking of bromine, not boron.

Yes. Thanks.

You do get that boron smell though. Kinda dirty smelling.

> chlorine itself is pretty much fine for you.

That's...not why it was used in warfare.

"People who swim while they have diarrhea and unleash even very tiny amounts of germs like Cryptosporidium (or 'crypto' for short)"

"are evil"

“are shitbags”

I've been in pools that I'm 100% certain no one had peed in, and still got red eyes.

I'm certain because I was the only one who swam in it (a backyard pool) and I know I never did.

I think based on the article it's because of your sweat mingling with the chlorine.

Me: I'm allergic to cats.

Cat Owner: It's actually the cat saliva you're allergic to.

Me: facepalm

Same experience but in a hotel swimming pool with continuous recycling. After sitting next to the pool for an hour or more, with no one in the pool, I would dive in and find the chlorine too high and end up with eyes red.

Probably peed in by wildlife

Ambient pee if you will. Or background pee from the hose used to fill the pool.

They talk about dichloramine and trichloramine which are the products of chlorine reaction with ammonia, but also any amino acid - which means it can come as well from reactions with any part of our body it gets in contact with, like almost 2 sq. meters of our skin. How did they rule out all those other sources?

And this is why I prefer pools that are athletic-focused, rather than pools that are entertainment-focused. They really ought to be considered as separate facilities.

And now YT thinks I'm into pee clips. Thx!

If my memory serves me well, it is not chlorine, but the product from hypochloric acid[1] and urea/urea-derivatives that that make eyes hurt. Although, I don't know if they use Cl2 as reagent here.

[1] Hypochloric acid is generated in a disproportionation reaction: Cl2 + H2o --> HCl + HOCl

I'm not sold. We had a pool when I was growing up and since I was the youngest child, there was a several year stretch in high school where I was taking care of the chemicals in the pool and really the only person ever swimming in it.

If the pool was looking a little green, I dumped some chlorine in and guess what, the increased chlorine created increased irritation to my eyes. And no, I wasn't the kind to pee in my own pool - not that the amount of pee I could generate would cause the requisite chlorine-pee interaction that makes the pool such an irritant.

There exist more articulate writings on this subject. Chloramines are formed when urea (pee and sweat) meets chlorine [1,2]. It contributes to athlete asthma [3,4,5,6,7]. It is an identified occupational health issue [8]. Chloramines are a concern with aquatic facility operation [9,10]. One way to help is to use UV filtering [11,12]. I believe the solution is just better aquatic center ventilation [13] especially moving air across the water surface [14].

[1] https://nextgws.com/chloramine-simplified-chemistry-lesson/ [2] https://chlorine.americanchemistry.com/Science-Center/Chlori... [3] https://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20040611/chlorine-pools-br... [4] https://lungdiseasenews.com/2015/04/07/competitive-swimming-... [5] http://www.jiaci.org/issues/vol21issue3/12.pdf [6] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-asthma-swimmers-id... [7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4351252/ [8] https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/29/4/690 [9] https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/aquatics-professio... [10] https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/park-ridge/sports/ct-... [11] https://www.poolspanews.com/facilities/maintenance/technical... [12] http://halmapr.com/news/hanovia/2008/07/26/uv-chloramine-red... [13] http://aquaticnews.com/2018/04/17/indoor-pool-air-quality-th... [14] http://paddockevacuator.com/

Disclaimer: I've got no relation or interest in Paddock (the 1st and last 2 links), I just happen to be a swim coach.

So how much water do you need before it's socially acceptable? I pee in the lake. What about a large pond or a really huge pool in a water park?

I've always been told not to urinate or defecate within 100 feet of water sources in the backcountry because if everyone does it it builds up and then the water is unsafe to drink even when filtered.

The 6 micron filters used to filter giardia from the water will not filter viruses, which are present in your feces.

Please stop doing this.

"Please stop doing this."

I didn't say I was crapping in the lake. Is urine in a lake a serious risk?

Do you think all the animals that use these water sources follow the same rules?

Deer viruses also don't typically infect humans. But human viruses will readily infect other humans.

No, and they don't know how to read a sign either so I think they get a pass. Humans should be able to exercise a little restraint...

I feel like in the lake or a natural pond there's plenty of bacteria who will be more than happy to eat it up. In a pool you specifically kill all the bacteria, so you forever swim in a soup of chemicals and urine until the water is replaced.

Or the other way to look at it, is that there's so much bacteria, algae, rotting plant and animal matter, bird shit, fish shit, etc. in lake and pond water that a little human urine won't appreciably add to the risk of swimming in it.

Urine is (usually) sterile, it's really just a social issue other than the eye irritation.

If that's true then why do people go nuts if you shit in a river while camping?

They are picturing themselves drinking your shit most likely.

Historically human beings contaminating the same water they draw from has been a substantial cause of illness even if campers now are much more apt to get water from a bottle.

Wouldn't it be very diluted, to the point it is no more harmful than whatever else may be in that river water?

Historically this doesn't seem to be true but obviously it was a much larger group of people polluting the water.

> So how much water do you need before it's socially acceptable? I pee in the lake. What about a large pond or a really huge pool in a water park?

I'm wondering if swimming in open water would be better apart from the salt of course

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