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Stop Peeing In Pools! Catching Urinators By Testing Sweetness In Pool Water

Update Date: Mar 03, 2017 08:21 PM EST

Peeing in pools is one of the things most people have done one point in their lives and most are embarrassed to admit to doing it. However, this action is heavily looked down upon because it contaminates and reduces the quality of the pool water. In order to check and maintain the quality of the pool water, a recent study developed a technique that determines how much urine is in the pool water by checking for sweetness. Results of the study would most likely stop anyone, even the serial urinators, from peeing in pools ever again.

The study, conducted by researchers from the American Chemical Society, wanted to raise awareness on the impact of human beings on recreational facilities like pools and hot tubs. Specifically, the adherence to swimming hygiene practices to curb potential adverse health effects of contaminated pool water due to pee or urine. In order to monitor and assess the quality of the pool water, the researchers developed a new technique that tests for the sweetness of the pool water.

The basis of testing for the sweetness of the pool water is explained by how people consume products with artificial sweeteners or acesulfame potassium (ACEs). These artificial sweeteners, popular known in the consumer market as products named as Sunnett or Sweet One are used in almost all food and beverage products. When consumed by a person, ACEs is excreted in the urine in its original or complete form. In order words, besides the other components of urine being released when a person pees in the pool, a person also excretes ACEs in the pool thus adding sweetness to the pool water. This makes the acesulfame potassium an ideal urinary marker in pool water.

The researchers then developed a rapid and high-throughput analytical technique to test the sweetness of the pool water. Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the study tested more than 250 water samples from 31 actively used swimming facilities and hot tubs in two cities in Canada. These water samples are compared to more than 90 water samples taken from clean tap water used to initially fill up the pools and hot tubs.

The results of the study found that the concentration of ACEs found in pools and hot tubs ranged from 30 to 7,110 nanograms per liter of water. This concentration of ACEs is 570 times higher compared to concentration levels of ACEs found in the tap water samples.

This means that people are swimming in pools that contain at least 7 gallons of urine at one instance. A 7-gallon urine could fill up a medium size trash bin. In other times, especially during summer times when people flock to pools, there are at least 20 gallons of urine detected in the pool water. This much urine is equivalent to one-third of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Due to these alarming findings, the researchers are urging people to follow proper swimming hygiene practices. Because when urine and sweat react with chlorine found in pool water, it creates disinfection byproducts (DBPs) which can cause eye irritation and worst, respiratory problems.

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