Science! The Misleading “Pee in the Pool” News Story

I’m writing about this because I’m a little annoyed, mainly because it shows how infrequently people actually read the source material of a story. And I’m totally guilty of doing the same, but this is a reminder that we should check the source before sharing articles, stories, etc.

I’m sure you’ve seen the article I’m referring to, probably on Facebook:

“The CDC says it’s not chlorine that’s irritating your eyes, it’s pure URINE! Ewwww!”

Ok, slow your roll there, friend.

If you read the actual article posted by the CDC, found here, from what I understand that’s not actually what’s happening: the article actually talks about poor airflow in indoor pools and the buildup of byproduct created when chlorine binds to sweat, urine, etc to destroy them. Your body is irritated by the chlorine doing its job and disinfecting the pool, essentially.

I’m not terribly familiar with exactly how chlorine molecules work, but I’m pretty sure that’s what the CDC is trying to inform everyone of. If there’s a chemist out there in the peanut gallery, please by all means feel free to correct me, but I’m pretty sure that’s what their article is about. The article is also suggesting to reduce this buildup of byproduct and keep indoor pools well ventilated, and hey, maybe actually follow the rules of the pool and rinse off before jumping in (again, not pointing fingers- I’m sure we’ve all ignored that rule at LEAST once).

That’s all for today folks- now go out there and…don’t pee in the pool. Please.

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