Here’s something that has been handed down from generation to generation for ages. They say that if you pee in the swimming pool then there’s a special chemical that will turn the water the color of the deep blue sea. Thus notifying everyone that you just did your business in the pool!
Then of course it sends everyone running for the hills trying to escape your wasteful wrath. Parents have used this explanation for ever in hopes their kids will think twice before relieving themselves in the swimming pool.
But the real question is, is there really a chemical in the swimming pool that will turn the water blue when mixed with urine?
The Myth of Urine and the Blue Pool
I’m sure many of you have seen the movie Grown Ups. There a specific scene in that movie where Kevin James and his daughter are swimming in a public pool. Well he’s just been explaining to her that there is no such thing as the chemical that turns the pool water blue when someone pees in it. Just about that time you begin to see a huge blue cloud forming from around his waste, or should I say waist! lol
But the fact of the matter is, in reality, he is correct, there really isn’t any chemical that will do this, and it would be quite hard to create one for that matter. I’ll go into more detail on the reasons for this…
The Chemistry Behind a Urine Reactive Chemical
In high school chemistry class we all learned how to use pH test strips to test for the presence of acid and alkaline substances. These test strips would change color depending on the specific levels of these substances that were present.
But urine is not your average “water substance”. You can not test the pH levels in urine with a test strip. This is because the pH levels in urine vary so much from person to person, that it would be impossible to set a “standard” pH level. Depending on what a person’s diet consists of and how much salt, time of day, all these things play a role in what the pH level would be.
The fact is, urine is basically water, but contains other things like urea, salt and creatinine. But all these things are also found in human sweat, therefore the probability that science would devise a test to detect urine is highly unlikely.
Would a Urine Detecting Chemical be Practical
Of course we all know that the biggest fear of swimming in a public pool is running into other people’s pee! And I know none of us like to think about it, or discuss it, but it really is there. There’s no way you could get a hundred people mixed with adults and children all in the same pool and absolutely no one would take the opportunity to relieve themselves. Children are especially prone to doing this simply because they don’t want to waste any of their precious “play time” going to the restroom. Truth be told, the adults are probably just as guilty of using the gigantic municipal restroom themselves! Yak!
But anyway, considering this, if there were a chemical that turned blue in the presence of urine, a municipal swimming pool would be blue all the time.
During a survey done by the Water Quality and Health Council in 2009, the concluded that 17% of American adults confessed to peeing in the pool. So you can imagine that this number would be just as high and probably higher for children. If they would ever admit to it that is.
And here’s a doozie, Michael Phelps, a 19 time gold medalist, himself admitted to taking a nice pee in the pool…
So, have you ever witnessed the pool turning blue? The fact that it’s never been seen is a sure fire lesson in the fact it does not exist.
What do you think about peeing in the pool? Is this something you should only do in your private pool, or is public the way to go? I’m kind of leaning toward, “Just go to the restroom you lazy arse!”