Why That Clean Swimming Pool Smell Is Actually Bad For Your Health

Why That Clean Swimming Pool Smell Is Actually Bad For Your Health

Its recently been reported that scientists have managed to create a test to measure how much urine is in a swimming pool. It seems that pee-pee in the pool has become banality, and even high-profile swimmers have admitted to doing it during rigorous training sessions, arguing that the chlorine kills it. Not merely is this untrue, but the chemical reaction that occurs between your pee and the chlorine makes a chemical that has been linked to asthma and other respiratory issues. The

Nitrogen trichloride, also known as trichloramine, is stimulated when the urea in your pee reacts with chlorine the disinfectant widely used in swimming pool water. Nitrogen trichloride is largely make use of accident in ponds these days, but this compound was originally stimulated for interest in 1812 by Pierre Louis DuLong.

DuLong built the chemical by bubbling chlorine gas through a answer of ammonium chloride. But, despite his success, DuLongs joy at having stimulated it was probably short-lived he hadnt counted on the fact that it would be explosive the chemical exploded without warning and cost him an eye and a finger. Its extremely sensitive and will explode even under gentle shock or when exposed to sunlight.

Scientists Sir Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday also fell victim to the substance when they recurred DuLongs work shortly after. An detonation also caused Davy to lose the use of an eye temporarily and Faraday did permanent damage to his fingers.

Luckily for professional swimmers, only pure nitrogen trichloride is explosive, and so the fact that it is mixed with water and other substances in a swimming pool should be reassure. However, research suggests that nitrogen trichloride, among other products formed when you pee-pee in chlorinated water, such as chloramine and dichloramine, is linked to eye and upper airway irritation.

Michael Phelps pees in the pool. Shutterstock

Its instead ironic that the chlorine that is used to kill bacteria and protect the health of swimmers, is linked to the creation of toxic chemicals. But also that the aroma that people associate with a clean pond, is actually the stench of nitrogen trichloride and an indicator of plenty of pee.

Occupational health hazard

It is a volatile chemical, entailing it easily turns into a gas and hangs around in the air around the pond. One survey has shown that people who work in swimming pool or spend a lot of period around them, such as lifeguards, have a higher level of airway issue symptoms in comparison with the general population poolside workers demonstrated more frequent work-related upper respiratory issues than administrative staff.

Its reported that one study found that a public swimming pool of 830, 000 litres, can contain as much as 75 litres of urine in the water at a time, which could react to sort nitrogen trichloride. This may not sound like a lot, but the toxicity of chemicals is often in the dose and repeated exposure, so even low levels of nitrogen trichloride, will have injury health effects.

But it isnt just pis that we should worry about the clay on people bodies can devour up to 30% of the chlorine in the water on its own and in athletic swimmers, sweat which also contains urea can also contribute to the production of nitrogen trichloride.

So what can we do to combat it? Research which models the amounts of nitrogen trichloride in a swimming pool over day has led some researchers to suggest that lowering the levels of chlorine in a pond, while remaining above the legal lower limit, would reduce the amount of chlorine available to react to form the toxic chemical. However, this study was limited to a single pool, so more research is required to establish whether this could be a feasible solution.

Poolside workers are at risk. Shutterstock

Dont pis like a pro

Swimming pools have long promoted swimmers to take a shower before they swim, but the health implications of not showering are not emphasised enough. Its not enough to recommend a shower to reduce irritants swimmers need to know that these irritants can cause respiratory issues, and not just for them but also the pool staff.

Swimmers should also are urged to pee-pee before they get into the pool, something that should extend to elite athletes too Michael Phelps might think its an accepted part of the athletic, but it only devotes licence to others if the professionals are doing it they need to lead the way in pool hygiene.

Unfortunately, the swimming pool dye which changes colour on pis contact seems to be a mere myth in most countries and there do not appear to be any feasible alternatives to chlorine which can clean a pond and not expose the staff to some harmful chemicals. So maybe its best to keep up the pretence if the prospect of shame entails people will actually go to the toilet.

Simon Cotton, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Birmingham and Laura Finney, PhD Candidate, University of Nottingham

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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