Scientists Find Out How Much Pee Is Really In The Swimming Pool

A whiz of a study has determined just how much urine may be in the average public pool. And urine for a shock: It’s more than anyone wants.

A team of researchers in Canada who were looking for a way to detect urine in a swimming pool, turns out, the solution was pretty sweet: an artificial sweetener called aspartame potassium (ACE), found in a wide variety of consumer products.

The human body doesn’t break down aspartame potassium, so it’s excreted in urine but remains detectable in bodies of water, even at varying pH levels and temperatures, according to Environmental Science & Technology Letters, a respected “pee-riodical.”

How much urine exactly? Researchers monitored two public pools for three weeks for ACE. One pool contained 110,000 gallons of water, while the other held 220,000 gallons.

Based on the ACE measurements, researchers estimate that over the 3-week period, swimmers released 7.92 gallons of pee into the smaller pool, and nearly 20 gallons into the larger one.

However, University of Alberta graduate student Lindsay Blackstock, the lead researcher of the study, suggests increased public education regarding appropriate swimming hygiene practices.

“We recommend that all pool users should rinse off excess personal care products in the provided showers before entering public pools,” she told Research Gate. “Additionally, we should all be considerate of others and make sure to exit the pool to use the restroom.”


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