Why Peeing In The Pool Is Even Worse Than You Think

You may already know that chlorine is added to swimming pools to help keep the water clean from germs. However, if you think that chlorine is added to pools to make the water safe to pee in, you would be wrong. In fact, peeing in the pool is worse than you might think. 

A study conducted in 2014 revealed certain chemical reactions occur after people urinate in pools that can be toxic (via Environmental Science & Technology). One such reaction takes place when nitrogen from the uric acid in urine reacts with chlorine in pool water and creates a compound called cyanogen chloride, which is classified as a chemical warfare agent (via Science News). In addition, urine in chlorinated water creates compounds known as nitrosamines, some of which can cause cancer (via NPR). 

N-nitrosodimethylamine is the most common nitrosamine, and it is linked with a slight risk of bladder cancer. However, more research is needed to fully understand how much of it is absorbed through the skin and how dangerous it is in swimming pools (via Yale Scientific).

Urine reacts with chlorine and weakens its ability to kill germs

When mixed with chlorine, urine also creates chloramines. If you are near a swimming pool and you smell what you think is chlorine, what you are really smelling is chloramines because chlorine in a sanitary pool does not have a strong smell. Chloramines can irritate your eyes, causing them to turn red and burn. Inhaling chloramines can also affect your lungs, making you cough and wheeze. In some cases, it can also aggravate asthma (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Not only does pee react with chlorine to create some nasty chemicals, it also weakens chlorine's ability to do its job properly. Chlorine is meant to stop the spread of germs, but when it becomes diluted with pee (not to mention sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells), there is less of it available to kill germs (via CDC).

While you can't remove all of the germs from swimming pools, you can help keep yourself and others safe by not peeing in the water.