Scientists warn: “Urinating in pools is dangerous to health”

According to data from an anonymous survey conducted in 2009, one in five adults admits to sometimes allowing themselves to urinate while staying or swimming in a public pool.

It goes without saying that “peeing in a pool” isn’t acceptable from a hygiene or decency point of view, but what’s more, according to new research, urinating in pool water can do much more harm to health than previously thought.

A study recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that uric acid in urine interacts with chlorine to generate “inhalation disinfection byproducts” in swimming pools, and their evaporation could harm harm to people bathing or swimming.

Usually in public swimming pools, chlorine is added to stop the growth of bacteria in the water, thus preventing the deterioration of its quality and the transmission of infectious diseases between people who bathe or swim.

However, the side effects of chlorination disinfection are the release into the air of cyanic anhydride (CNCI) and nitrogen trichloride (NCI3).

Previous research has already shown that when urine and sweat interact with chlorine, it can lead to the accumulation of a certain concentration of air pollutants.

In the current study, scientists examined swimming pool water samples and carefully looked at how uric acid and other body fluids react with chlorine.

To this end, they used a state-of-the-art technology called “membrane sample introduction system mass spectrometry” to detect and measure the inhalation side effects of disinfection.

Their results showed that when uric acid reacts with chlorine, hydrocyanic anhydride and nitrogen trichloride are formed.
Hydrocyanic acid (CNCI) is a toxic chemical that can cause upper respiratory tract irritation and suffocation .

Inhalation of this compound can cause negative consequences on the cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems, and in high concentrations this substance can lead to death.

Nitrogen trichloride (NCI3) is a chemical compound that can cause serious damage to lung tissue.

According to the researchers conducting the current study, their results show that more than 90% of the uric acid they identified in public swimming pools is formed from human urine, and all of it reacts with chlorine, this reaction releases inhaled pollutants.

One of the co-authors of the study, Professor Ernest R. Blatchley III, in a concluding comment on the study, states that eradicating this unsightly and unsanitary habit – can lead to a significant reduction in the side effects of water chlorination in public swimming and aquatic facilities and thus will reduce the risk of disease to the people who use them.

It should be noted that according to research conducted in 2009 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 36% of respondents indicated that the cleanliness of their water was a priority when choosing which swimming pools and water facilities will visit.

Furthermore, 63% of respondents said they were not aware of what illnesses could be caused by ingestion, aspiration or skin contact with contaminated water in a water facility, by water facility we mean other than public swimming pools pools and slides.

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