OPINION: Why Public Pools Are Gross

By: Ivy Stanley
OwlFeed Journalist

With summer right around the corner, I’m sure we’re all ready to swim, especially since we live in this oven of a state. But have you ever noticed that after you swim in a public pool or at a water park your vision is a little cloudy and your eyes sting a bit?

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Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

That’s caused by cyanogen chloride and trichloramine. Both are proven to irritate eyes and lungs, and both areb caused by mixing chlorine with sweat and pee and every other gross thing people bring in the water with them.

Cyanogen chloride is a chemical weapon! Isn’t that fun? Turning a fun pool day into a day for testing out toxic gasses? No, it’s not. This chemical can cause drowsiness, vomiting, or even make you pass out. Not to mention that mixing probably hundreds of people’s pee really heightens your chances of getting sick.

Cyanogen chloride is even worse since it can get through the filters in gas masks, so how easily do you think it can get into your lungs?

Nitrogen trichloride is what happens when you mix ammonia and chlorine. Now a lot of pool cleaners use bleach to clean the water and keep the bottom clean, and we already know that mixing ammonia and bleach can create mustard gas (or at least I HOPE we know this).

With there being small traces of ammonia in pee, enough to make nitrogen trichloride, and with as many people peeing in the pool as they do, it’s no wonder why our eyes and lungs burn. Mustard gas is a weapon used in WW1! Yay even more family friendly weaponized gases!

Fun fact: that iconic smell of the pool is the mix of chemicals and pee. Chlorine doesn’t naturally smell that way, it has to be mixed with pee. So have fun swimming in pee!

Now that you know some of the effects of pee in pools, let’s think about what all you’re swimming in. If the pool doesn’t require you to rinse off beforehand, your bringing all your sweat and dirt in with you. Every time you wiped your nose on your arm that day, it goes in, every time someone coughed of you, germs come in with you. Everything you’ve done enters the water. And that’s just you!

You know what you did today, but there probably dozens of people in the water with you. All of their germs and sweat and pee, right into this big gross soup of everyone’s everything. Not to mention toddlers and babies are in there with diapers on. It’s pretty nasty when you really stop and think about it. And I know, “It’s a big pool and it’s all diluted, so I should be fine, right?” Sure it’s big, but it’s all still there.

So are you still excited about swimming this summer? Just be sure to shower before and after especially. Get all your dirt off and then get everyone else’s. Have fun!