Opinion: Peeing in the pool

POSTED: 06/5/12 11:54 AM

Maybe you thought that taking a dive in a swimming pool is pretty cool when it’s hot outside – and it almost always is in the Caribbean. American researchers who had nothing better to do investigated what people actually do in a pool, apart from swimming of course. They found that one in five swimmers occasionally pees in the pool.
That would be an encouragement for those who are dying for a dip to choose the sea over the swimming pool in St. Maarten. After all, with 37 beaches, there is plenty of choice. And even though the swimming pool research suggests that swimmers won’t be shy using the sea as their toilet either, it seems logical that the sea with all its pollution is a safer place to go to.
That’s because the water in most swimming pools contains chlorine. And the combination of chlorine with urine produces chlorine gas. That causes red eyes people sometimes have after a day in the pool.
The researchers did not bother asking why people think it is okay to urinate in swimming pools. But according to the American Water quality and Health Council that commissioned the research, most people find it convenient and anonymous.
Experts in the field strongly advise against the practice and say that parents ought to take their children regularly to the toilet during pool visits.
The same experts put part of the responsibility at the doorstep of pool staff. They ought to control the makeup of the water on a regular basis and pay attention to pH and chlorine-levels. Urine counteracts what chlorine is supposed to do in swimming pools: killing bacteria. Dirty pools could easily lead to sickness among the swimmers.
Another argument against that fresh dive in the pool is that 70 percent of the swimmers do not take a shower before entering the water. While experts agree that it defies logic to take that shower before swimming, they stress that it is essential for everybody’s health.
Products like makeup, suntan oil, perfume, deodorant, sweat and dirt that get in touch with chlorine and other chemicals could also spread diseases among swimmers.
Swimming in the sea has one advantage over dipping in a pool: there is no chlorine in the water. But we figure that there will be plenty of pee.

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