Urine is gross. We all know this. Nobody is overjoyed about factory workers peeing in their cereal or an MMA fighter displaying the ultimate act of poor sportsmanship. But there are still people who decide to warm up the water because really, who’s it going to hurt? Everybody, as the American Chemical Society explains.
The issue is that pool water is chemically treated with chlorine, bromine, ultraviolet light, and other disinfectants so we don’t spend an hour on the toilet after a fifteen minute swim. The problem is that we are not generally clean when we go into the pool. We’re covered in dirt, sweat, sunscreen, and who knows what else, especially from that creepy kid who always seems about to whip off his trunks. This results in disinfection byproducts, or DBPs.
Urine, however, is the most disgusting of the bunch and not just because it’s biological waste. The urea in urine reacts with the chlorine in the pool to create trichloramine, which is what you’re smelling at the pool. Don’t worry, that’s (hopefully) due to the very small amount of urea also found in sweat. By the way, trichloramine also makes your eyes red. So basically if you come out of the pool with red eyes, that means, indirectly, your eyes may have been peed in. Did we mention that in its pure form, trichloramine is also a ridiculously volatile explosive? The man who discovered it, Pierre Louis Dulong, blew off two fingers and put out an eye messing with this stuff.
And the fun doesn’t stop there! Trichloramine has been linked to respiratory illnesses like asthma, and as we take more pharmaceuticals that may have metabolites expressed in our urine, all sorts of unknown and scary DBPs may result. So pee in the toilet, folks, unless you want explosives in your eyes.