Relieving Oneself in a Pool Is OK, Scientists Say

Despite severe criticism, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was right after all

By on December 28th, 2012 12:36 GMT

During this year's Olympics in London, Michael Phelps made a rather shocking statement and said that several professional swimmers, him included, sometimes relieved themselves in the pool.

At that point, he argued that there was absolutely nothing wrong with doing so and that teaching children to get out of a pool just to go to the bathroom was pretty much pointless and a waste of time.

Needless to say, Michael Phelps' statements sparked quite a controversy, and many saw fit to criticize both him and his fellow Olympic swimmers for their refusing to keep their bladders well under control.

Still, recent news on this topic informs us that, as surprising as this might seem, the idea that urinating in a pool harms nobody (except common sense and common decency, as some would say) is actually supported by scientific facts.

To cut a long story short, a non-profit organization known as Sense About Science has recently published a new article stating that, as far as scientific arguments go, relieving oneself in a swimming pool does not pose any risks to anyone's health.

This is because of two very obvious reasons: firstly, urine in itself is not toxic; secondly, the chlorine added to the water in swimming pools makes sure any potential germs are destroyed fairly quickly and easily.

Daily Mail quotes biochemist Stuart Jones, who elaborated on said two reasons for why peeing in a pool was acceptable as follows:

“Urine is essentially sterile so there isn't actually anything to kill in the first place. Urine is largely just salts and water with moderate amounts of protein and DNA breakdown products.”

Furthermore, “Peeing in a swimming pool, even if all swimmers do it simultaneously, has very little impact on the composition of the pool water itself.” This is because, at least in the case of Olympic pools, there simply cannot be enough urine available to affect the water's quality.

On the other hand, as scientific as these arguments might be, there will always be some who will strongly disapprove of this practice.

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