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You'll probably want to avoid the public pool next time you go for a swim. According to a shocking new study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology Letters, scientists from the University of Alberta, Canada, say an Olympic sized swimming pool could contain up to 50 gallons of urine.
Scientists discovered that the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium can be consistently found in urine. They used that to measure the levels of urine present in pools.
In the tests they conducted, they found that a 91,500 gallon pool could contain up to 5.8 gallons of urine. No surprise - the bigger the pool the more they found. A 183,000 gallon pool (roughly a third of the size of an Olympic pool), could contain up to 17 gallons!
It's not just incontinent 5-year-olds who are ruining your lap swim. Olympic swimmers have admitted to doing the deed as well at least nineteen percent of adults who have admitted to urinating in a pool at least once in their life.
While the urine itself is sterile, compounds contained within can react with disinfectant chemicals added to pools (like chlorine). That could create issues like eye and respiratory irritation for those who swim in the pee-filled pool.
The study suggests that more understanding is needed on pool chemistry as well as educating the public on how important hygienic swimming practices are.