ver been in a public pool and been struck with the fear of peeing and having that dreaded urine indicator dye appear? Well, it’s a lie. A myth, if you will.
“There is no chemical which changes colour when someone urinates in a swimming pool,” ThoughtCo states. “There are dyes which could cloud, change colour, or produce a colour in response to urine, but these chemicals could also be activated by other compounds, producing embarrassing false positives.”
Although dyes that can change colour exist, ThoughtCo explained that there is no such thing as a urine-detecting dye. That said, it hasn’t stopped establishments globally from feeding into the lie and purchasing urine detector signs to deter swimmers from peeing.
CBC reported that according to the National Swimming Pool Foundation, urine indicator dye is “the most common pool myth of all time”, and was believed by 50 per cent of people in a 2015 survey.
Why you shouldn’t pee in the pool anyway
In a fact sheet published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they explain that the chlorine smell you smell isn’t what you think. “What you smell are chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies,” CDC reports. “These chemicals — not chlorine — can cause your eyes to get red and sting, make your nose run, and make you cough.”
But why shouldn’t you pee in the pool, you ask? For starters, it’s gross. Secondly, urine takes up valuable chlorine meant to tackle germs, bacteria, faeces particles, dirt, sweat – the list goes on.
Kathryn Boling, M.D. states: “Urine takes chlorine away from being able to do the things it’s supposed to do, which is killing viruses and germs.”
When chlorine is added to pools, it creates a mild acid called “hypochlorous acid that kills off a slew of bacteria, including salmonella and E.coli,” says Jamie Alan, Pharm.D., PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University. When you add urine, the chlorine can’t do its job properly.
Not entirely convinced yet? This TikTok from Dr. Joe, M.D. is convincing. Full video here:
There’s no doubt that little ones might pee in the pool, but if you can, head out of the pool and into the restrooms. Sure, you’ve learnt peeing in a pool won’t result in a dye-induced cloud of shame surrounding you, but that doesn’t mean you should do it.
Be considerate of others around you, and don’t let your urine (or other bodily fluids) keep anyone from having a less enjoyable time!