Study Reveals the Average Public Swimming Pool Contains 8 Gallons of Pee

University of Alberta researchers investigated a common summertime fear and the results were disturbing

March 6, 2017
Photo: iStock

If you’re in a pool right now, you may want to doggie paddle to the edge and hop out, because according to a new study you’re surrounded by nearly eight gallons of urine.

Researchers at the University of Alberta recently published findings revealing precisely how much pee is contained in the average public swimming pool. The team used two swimming pools — one 110,000 gallons and the other 220,000 gallons — for the study, finding eight gallons (30 liters) of pee in the former and 20 gallons (75 liters) in the latter. Since the average person excretes about 77.5mL of urine during one pee, the results mean that over 400 people peed in the first pool and 1,000 peed in the second. The researchers measured the urine levels in these pools by testing the amount of acesulfame-K (ACE), a sweetener commonly excreted in urine.

While many feel comfortable peeing in pools due to the presence of chlorine in the water, the chemical does not in fact disinfect everything. Furthermore, the combination of urine and chlorine can occasionally be toxic, such as when it forms cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCL3), which can irritate the eyes and lungs, and damage the central nervous system.

Read more about the study here.

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