Pee Produces Toxic Chemicals in Pools | The Mary Sue
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Pee Might Become Toxic When Introduced to Chlorine, So for the Love of God, Get out of the Pool First

There are six year olds with more bladder control than you, you know.

pool water

Isn’t it the worst feeling when you’re swimming in the pool and you suddenly feel that dreaded warm spot that you desperately hope isn’t urine? A new study shows that those “accidents” can be potentially harmful and toxic. Yaaaay.

A study funded by the National Swimming Pool Foundation and published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology journal suggests that chlorinated uric acid can lead some pretty unfortunate byproducts, including trichloramine and cyanogen chloride. Both of these chemicals have have been associated with lung problems and can affect the heart and nervous system; cyanogen chloride in particular also can affect the body through inhalation and is officially classified as a chemical warfare agent by the military.

Yeah, you read that right: when you pee in pools, you’re producing a possible chemical warfare agent.

But if peeing in other peoples’ pools is the only sad joy you get out of life, then you can relax just a little: it’s not very likely that anyone at your summer barbecue is going to drop dead of nervous system failure because of you. You’d need to inhale or ingest a lot of these chemicals for them to actually be deadly.

In fact, the highest concentration of byproducts that the research team was able to create still clocked in way under the recommended amount by the WHO at 33 micrograms per liter at 8 milligrams per liter of chlorine—which is a much higher chlorine content than most pools tend to have. Still, come on, guys. Take heed to this warning and cut it out.

(via Ars Technica, image via Adam Tinworth)

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