225 liters of urine in each Olympic pool: science has just revealed something that we probably did not want to know
It's time to say it: people pee in the pools. We all suspected it (some even suspected it at first hand), but until now it was very difficult to confirm it. The chemical that dyes the pool water colors is an urban legend and, for the rest, for many years we did not know any way to estimate the amount of urine dissolved in the water of a pool.
Until some Canadian scientists got down to work and found a way to calculate it. Their results confirmed our suspicions with total clarity (not like pool water) and, since then, we no longer looked at swimmers as before.
After the trace of urine
The test is very simple and is based on the levels of acesulfame potassium in pool water. E-950, as it is also known, is an artificial sweetener found in many processed foods and excreted in the urine without modification.
Hotel hot tubs have up to three times more urine than swimming pools
Using the average amount of E-950 in urine in the North American country, the researchers could roughly estimate how much urine had been poured into each pool. Evidently, the sample is scarce, but the data is devastating.
The researchers monitored several Canadian public pools to check their effectiveness. According to his conclusions, 225 liters of urine are poured into an average Olympic pool. In three weeks. They also monitored eight public jacuzzis and the results were much worse: there were jacuzzis with up to three times more urine than the worst of the pools.
It's a problem?
No, it is not a very serious problem for several reasons: they are striking figures, but small if we take into account that an Olympic pool has more than two million liters of water. And, above all, because the urine is sterile for practical purposes. Except for infection, it does not have to present problems.
However, there is evidence that some of the compounds in the urine can react with certain disinfectants and cause eye irritation or respiratory problems. It is not clear and it is a subject that has to be investigated in depth, but simple techniques such as these can help us to better understand to what extent the urine worsens the water in our swimming pools and jacuzzis.