Peeing in a Pool Can Be Hazardous to Other Swimmers' Health

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-03_35eed6bf52.jpgAndrey Armyagov/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Urinating in a public swimming pool doesn’t conjure up the most delightful of images for obvious reasons. However, the 20 percent of Americans who admit they’ve done it -- and that’s probably a conservative estimate -- are also creating a health risk, according to researchers from the China Agricultural University and Purdue University. Just how bad is it to pee in a pool loaded with chlorine?

Very bad, say the researchers, who point out that when uric acid interacts with chlorine, it creates a gas called cyanogen chloride that when inhaled, can potentially do damage to the central nervous system, heart and lungs.

And that’s just one of the dangerous chemical reactions. The other is nitrogen trichloramine or NC13 that may result in severe lung injury.

Study author Jing Li says more chlorine would help to reduce the formation of these gases but ideally, people should not use pools as their personal urinals.

As for other unhealthy habits, 43 percent of swimmers acknowledge not showering before taking a dip in a public pools, 11 percent have swam with a runny nose and 6 percent say they’ve gone swimming while sick with a cold.

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