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New test reveals just how much urine is in our pools, hot tubs

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

MIAMI – Most refuse to admit to it - in fact, only one in five actually do - but a new testing method reveals the truth about peeing in the pool.

Scientists, using a new test that measures the concentration of an artificial sweetener commonly found in processed food and passes through the body unaltered, found that every pool they tested had urine in it.

How much urine may make you think twice before taking a dive.

Gizmodo reports that there were 8 gallons of urine in a 110,000-gallon pool, and a remarkable 18.5 gallons in a 220,000-gallon pool.

Here's information on the method and what they found: 

First, we developed a new method for achieving high-throughput analysis of ACE without preconcentration or large-volume injection.

Analysis of more than 250 samples from 31 pools and tubs from two Canadian cities showed ACE in all samples.

Concentrations ranged from 30 to 7110 ng/L, up to 570-fold greater than in the input tap water.

The level of dissolved organic carbon was significantly greater in all pools and tubs than in the input water.

Finally, we determined the levels of ACE over 3 weeks in two pools (110000 and 220000 U.S. gallons) and used the average ACE level to estimate the urine contribution as 30 and 75 L.

This study clearly shows the human impact in pools and tubs.

This work is useful for future studies of the human contribution to DBP formation, epidemiological assessment of exposure, and adverse health effects in recreational facilities.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, it's gross. But study author, Lindsay Blackstock says you should keep on swimming.

“The benefits of keeping active through swimming outweigh the potential risks we use as rationale for the study,” said Blackstock to Gizmodo. "The products excreted by humans are very similar to the products excreted by fish. You’re sort of adding to the mix there so I wouldn’t be worried about that.”


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