Should You Really Pee In The Swimming Pool?


Should You Really Pee In The Swimming Pool?

With the summer finally coming, swimming pools are becoming a thing once again. Do you recall that classic smell of water disinfectants? And what about a perplexing problem of whether you should hold your pee or just do it in the pool? The eternal question has been finally answered by scientists. And most certainly, it is not satisfying for lazy people.


Almost everybody does it

According to surveys, one in five Americans has peed in the pool at least once. Moreover, nearly 100 percent of competitive swimmers do it regularly. Yes, for many people it may seem disgusting or disturbing, but dedicated athletes have no time to stop their training process due to the physiological need. Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, is pretty sure there’s nothing to worry about because chlorine kills urine. However, there are certain dangers with peeing in the pool, and they are not related to urine itself but its combination with disinfectants.

Andrey Armyagov /

Mix of urine and disinfectants

Urine by itself is sterile, unlike fecal matter that can cause multiple dangerous illnesses. Urine is 95% water and the other 5% include byproducts of digestion. However, because of certain reactions between urine and pool disinfectants form two highly toxic disinfection byproducts (DBPs): cyanogen chloride (CNCl) and trichloramine (NCl3).

The former, CNCl, is a toxic chemical warfare agent that affects lungs, heart, and central nervous system. NCl3 has a small impact on lungs. And although the concentration of these chemicals usually is too small to cause some extreme complications, spending a lot of time in the pool containing these DBPs is linked with the development of asthma in many cases. Typically, however, the most common reaction of your body is eye redness.

sruilk /

Chlorinated pools are dangerous

Nevertheless, there are hundreds more of DBPs created by chlorine reactions because of the other matter in the water. Hence, it is hard to analyze the researches properly. However, the recent one shows the connection between chlorine water and some specific changes in DNA of people who swam in chlorinated water for just 40 minutes:

  1. Increased cancer risk due to high micronuclei in blood lymphocytes.
  2. Urine mutagenicity, a biomarker of exposure to genotoxic agents.
  3. An increase in lung epithelium permeability because of an increase in serum CC16.


Mostly, trihalomethane (THM) is responsible for such symptoms. This chemical is one of the most common DBPs and is considered carcinogenic. They also have a negative impact on a human reproductive system which can lead to spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, and stillbirths. As for THM in a swimming pool, it was estimated that the cancer risk from skin exposure while swimming is 94% of the total cancer risk linked with the chemical!

Egorov Artem /

Sadly, doctors recommend avoiding swimming pools due to the health damage risks and use alternatives, such as swimming in an ocean or other natural bodies of water. Saltwater pools can also be a good choice.

Share this article with friends if you found it useful. Stay healthy.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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