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Friday, June 1, 2012

Swimming Pools Are Public Toilet Bowls for Many: Survey

If you're taking a refreshing dip in a pool with four other people, odds are one of you is urinating. This is not gross-out myth, but cold, depressing fact from a recent survey conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council, a scientific research group sponsored by the American Chemistry Council. 
The survey, conducted in April, asked nearly 1,000 adults whether they urinate in pools. One in five bravely admitted their mistakes. And those are the ones who admitted it.
We may act like potty-trained adults on land, but something about a body of water, even a small one, opens our natural floodgates and, according to doctors, puts us all at risk.

"No matter how easy it is to pee anonymously in the pool, swimmers should avoid doing so," says public health expert and WQHC chairman, Dr. Chris Wiant. 
It is easy isn't it? Maybe that's because many of us were taught as kids that chlorine counteracted any accidents. Technically, that's mostly true. If pool operators maintain proper chlorine and pH levels, most waterborne germs are killed on contact.
But 54 percent of public pools tested by the WQHC last year failed to provide the proper chlorine levels and 47 got low marks for pH balance. You can blame poor pool maintenance, but frequent urinators don't help. 
"Anything foreign that gets in the pool consumes disinfectant and makes the pool less capable of catching the next bug," Dr. Wiant tells Yahoo! Shine. So while chlorine is working overtime to clean up someone's mess, it's weakened by the time more serious bacteria dives in. 
That comes from the germs we carry on our body even before we get into to the water. While only one in five of us cop to peeing in the pool, seven in 10 say they don't shower before they swim. As much as a cold pre-swim shower ruins that first dip feeling, Wiant makes a good case for why it's crucial.
(You may want to stop eating lunch right now, before reading on.) 
The additional bacteria we carry on skin, in particular sweat and traces of fecal matter (yes even on adults),gets mixed in the pool. "If disinfectant isn't right, bacteria is allowed to grow in pools, so someone accidentally consumes a mouthful of water like we all do when we're swimming and suddenly they're subject to serious bacteria like E.coli or salmonella." 
Culled from shine.yahoo.com

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