Scientists confirm worst fears about pee in pools

06 March, 2017, 00:27 | Author: Garry Little
  • Artificial sweeteners help monitor the amount of urine in pools

And it's not just pee.

The statement from the American Chemical Society is below.

At the 2012 Olympic Games, Michael Phelps said he thought urinating in pools was acceptable behaviour. She said this might be because health standards call for hot tub water to be replaced more often than other pool water. Now scientists are tackling a new way to monitor water quality: by measuring how sweet it is. According to a recent study in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the answer might be in the artificial sweeteners you eat.

However, while urine is sterile, compounds in urine, including urea, ammonia, and creatinine have been found to react with disinfectants to form byproducts known as DBPs that can lead to eye and respiratory irritation.

Jmaiff Blackstock and their research colleagues say that their findings indicated a need for better understanding of pool chemistry among the general public.

And urine for a shock: It's more than anyone wants.

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The paper's abstract is below. Nitrogen in pools can be hard to monitor, because it can react with disinfectants to form volatile compounds that can escape into the air where they can no longer be measured in a pool water sample. There's not enough evidence to say whether the nitrosamine levels in pools increase cancer risk, Blatchley says, but one study in Spain did find more bladder cancers in some long-term swimmers. The synthetic sweetener is a ideal marker for the presence of urine, because our body is unable to break down the compound - we excrete 100 percent of the amount we ingest.

It is hard to measure the amount of urine present in swimming pools. First, we developed a new method for achieving high-throughput analysis of ACE without preconcentration or large-volume injection.

The simple analysis Li and her team performed involved taking pool and hot tub samples and passing them through a high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer system, one of the most common instruments for determining what chemicals are in a given thing. Concentrations ranged from 30 to 7110 ng/L, up to 570-fold greater than in the input tap water.

About 250 samples were taken from 31 pools around the country and have shown positive signs of urine matter.

They followed that up by monitoring the levels of acesulfame-K in two pools over a three-week timeframe.

The authors of the study hope their work will highlight the "adverse health effects" of urinating in recreational facilities.

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