Answering the Age-Old Summer Question

>> Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't do it. Ever. Don't let your kids do it. Ever.

It's the age-old summertime question: Is it ok to pee in a swimming pool? NO!

Since we've only got a few summer weekends left, I thought I'd put this question to rest, once and for all.

Is it ok to pee in a swimming pool? NO! Besides the fact that it's really unattractive, it really can make you and others sick.

While we are answering that question, let's also clear up a few myths. Remember when your parents told you that if you pee'd in the pool then the water would turn red and everyone would know? NOT TRUE. There is not a magical chemical that can be put in the water to detect urine.

Has anyone ever told you that the chlorine instantly neutralizes the urine on contact so you can be standing right next to someone pee'ing in the pool and it won't matter? NOT TRUE.

To answer this age-old question, I did what every other red-blooded American does -- I did a Google search. I found tons of information from the CDC, CNN, NBC, LMNOP. It's all there, right in black and white.

Don't pee in a swimming pool. Ever. Don't let your kids pee in a swimming pool. Ever.

Urine, among other unmentionable things, can cause RWIs (yes, there's even an acronym). Recreational Water Illnesses. Nasty stuff like stomach ailments, red eyes, and rashes. The most common RWI is diarrhea.
Of course, having chlorine levels accurate helps, but it only helps. And rarely are the chlorine levels exactly right.

The CDC recommends three things to stay healthy and avoid RWIs, aside from not pee'ing in the pool:
- if you have diarrhea, stay out of the pool (sorry, that's what they say)
- don't swallow pool water
- practice good hygiene like showering first and washing your hands

And if you have kids, also make sure that they take frequent bathroom breaks and that you change diapers inside the bathroom, not right by the pool.

One more little stat for you, according to a survey conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council (yes, it really does exist), 1 out of 5 Americans admit to pee'ing in a swimming pool. And that's just the ones that were willing to admit it.

How about the beach this weekend?

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Chris August 21, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

The problem isn't so much that urine has germs, but because it has a lot of other things in it that make chlorine less effective. If you get lots of contaminants in the pool, either from urine or when swimmers don’t shower before getting in, the chlorine can be used up reacting with these contaminants. When the next load of bacteria comes in, there's no chemical to disinfect it. Also, when chlorine reacts with contaminants in water the products that result can be irritating to people's skin and eyes.

Finally, if someone is willing to pee in the pool then surely they are less likely to take a shower first, wash their hands after using the bathroom, etc. It is the overall use of good hygiene practices that is necessary to truly protect the pool.

Chris Wiant
Water Quality & Health Council

Dane August 24, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

What an unattractive subject to have associated with an otherwise fine firm... I wonder how many people will forever associate Saatchi & Saatchi with the disgusting thought of swimmming in a pool of urine and the diarrhea that will follow.

Jim Joseph August 25, 2009 at 10:06 AM  

Thanks for adding in, Chris. I found your website to be very informative. Jim

Chris August 26, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

agree with dane,
its unattractive, and more importantly, boring.

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