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Peeing in indoor pools increases asthma risk: Swedish study

David Landes · 9 Sep 2009, 15:28

Published: 09 Sep 2009 15:28 GMT+02:00

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Water samples taken from 18 randomly chosen indoor public pools around the country revealed that a majority of the pools had nitrogen levels well above accepted levels, Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.

Nitrogen levels are often used as a proxy for determining the amount of urine in public pools.

Eight of the pools tested had nitrogen levels higher than 2 milligrammes per litre of water, while three pools had more than 5 milligrammes of nitrogen per litre.

“If it’s more than 1.5 milligrames per litre I’d begin to think a little that we’re dealing with contaminants in the water and that we have to check where it’s coming from. And most likely it’s people who are causing these high concentrations,” said Michael Ressner of Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to SR.

Specifically, increased amounts of human urine and sweat are likely the cause of high nitrogen levels in swimming pool water.

Reaction to the news that fellow bathers were in the habit of using public pools as toilets ranged from disgust to indifference among visitors questioned by Sveriges Radio.

“Gross! There are plenty of toilets out there, so I think people should go there instead,” one bather told SR.

“I’ve personally found like, turds, floating around and that was a little nasty,” said another younger guest at one of the pools.

While the tests only provided data about the pools at the specific time the tests were conducted, rather than about the overall standards of cleanliness, their results are still a cause for concern.

High concentrations of urine in indoor swimming pools have been found to contribute to the creation of trichloramine, a chemical compound which can cause runny eyes and throat irritation.

At pools with poor ventilation, the buildup of trichloramine can also cause asthma.

Story continues below…

An ongoing study at Umeå University shows that employees who work at indoor public pools for at least one year have a 50 percent greater chance of developing asthma than the general population.

According to professor Gunnar Nordberg, who leads the research, simple habits of good personal hygiene can go a long way to protecting both pool workers and bathers from an increased risk for asthma.

“It’s important to let bathers know that they should wash themselves thoroughly and shower before they go in the pool,” he told SR.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:23 September 9, 2009 by Mkolid
that's interesting, LOL!
16:27 September 9, 2009 by LazyDog
Well there are no smokers there, so i guess they have to find something else now then :)
16:57 September 9, 2009 by peropaco
This should be a turn on for people with pee fetish
17:18 September 9, 2009 by eZee.se
17:18 September 9, 2009 by brøklyn_bjorn
Thank goodness it's still safe to pee in outdoor pools.

[ " ] "I've personally found like, turds, floating around and that was a little nasty," said another younger guest at one of the pools. [ " ]

That sounds like a quote from The Onion. Actually this whole article does.
17:44 September 9, 2009 by Harding00
I think we all wish it was just an article from The Onion.
18:05 September 9, 2009 by Nina_
Hahaha! Quite hilllarious. Never going to a public swimming pool again. Gotta build one in my house, that is, when i buy one. lol
21:14 September 9, 2009 by Germandude
In Germany, some people with skin disorders swear by urine therapy, they strongly believe in the curative powers of their own urine that is either applied to the skin or drunken.

Obviously, the Swedes are into that kinky stuff, too, with the difference being that share it with their neighbor...
11:30 September 10, 2009 by BrittInSweden
Sounds like Sweden needs to put in that chemical that turns the water purple whenever someone relieves themselves in the pool. That will stop the "habit".
13:22 September 10, 2009 by glamshek
Hhahhaha. I think the chemical that changes water colour whenever someone pees, is a good idea ! Good Idea Britt
14:11 September 10, 2009 by truthhurts
I had never had asthma before swimming lessons in school. Half of the students were out sick after 2 weeks of swimming lessons. They realised the students were relieving themselves in the pool. After my 3rd swimming lesson, I was out of school for a month with severe asthma. It took 3 years for my body to recover from the asthma and be totally healthy again.

They should take it very seriously, people can get extremely ill!
10:18 September 11, 2009 by ikki
Throat sore and eyes watering and impossible to keep open... yeah, suffered that every time i was still going to those swimming pools. Luckily i havent been into that disgusting habit for 15 years now, here in finland.

Close them down.

No need for such public gigantic lavatories.
17:30 September 11, 2009 by Borilla
What is so surprising about Swedes peeing in swimming pools? They pee everywhere else. Which raises a question. Why do Swedes have such a fetish for peeing in public? One can not pass a tree on a sidewalk without finding someone standing next to it relieving themselves. Every lift, doorway and every nook and cranny reeks of urine. It is rude, uncivilized and unsanitary and it is an activity carried out by every level of society from the homeless to the upper classes, and both men and women. So, why wouldn't they pee in pools also?
22:56 September 11, 2009 by Wiltshireman
Thanks for the report i now understand why i get Asthma and also hate swimming.We have had dye in our pools for years to detect the offence of what normally small boys do(they just follow the trail)People have been thrown out of pools for peeing from the diving boards!Yes not women so you can guess who might do that.

I dont think young boys can some times help it i think it used to very bad years ago.When you go from warm shower to colder pool.We had open air pools THAT WATER WAS COLD.

Funny thing was i think we had what you might call a pervert at the local pool always there and nothing to do with being on the staff.Much older than us kids but we only thought about it much later.20 years later.
06:03 September 12, 2009 by mieoux
Peeing in the pool!? That's so gross!! EEWWW!!!
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