Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2014


To Combat Bad Air, Change Bad Habits

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Sports Participation Report Reveals Mixed News - February 2014

Coalition of Mayors Urges Parks Funding Renewal - February 2014

CDC, AAHPERD Release Guide for School Activity Programs - January 2014

AAHPERD Becomes SHAPE America - December 2013

The Outdoor Foundation Releases 2013 American Camper Report - November 2013

Are You Walk-Friendly? - November 2013

AAHPERD Releases Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education - October 2013

Local Parks Identified as Allies in Arthritis Prevention - October 2013

Warning: Don't Overlook Your Restrooms - September 2013

Take Action to Reduce Childhood Obesity in September - September 2013

The Y Expands Mentoring Program - August 2013

Amusement Parks & Attractions Industry Generates More Than $200 Billion, Supports 2.3 Million Jobs - July 2013

National Parks Munchies Go Healthy - June 2013

NDPA Seal of Safer Pool Practices to Promote Water Safety, Drowning Prevention - May 2013

Individuals, Organizations Recognized for Conservation, Tree Planting - April 2013

IHRSA Reports: Health Clubs Still Going Strong - April 2013

YMCA of the USA Supports Afterschool Programs Legislation - March 2013

ACSM Summit Offers Approach to Childhood Obesity - March 2013

A couple of years ago, research from the Water Quality and Health Council made news when it revealed just how many people confessed to peeing in public pools. Now, new research published in Environmental Science & Technology reveals more of the repercussions of such bad behavior on swimmers' health.

The 2012 survey from the Water Quality and Health Council found that one in five American adults said they had used a public pool as a public toilet. (And if one in five grownups are doing it, one can only imagine how many kids are taking the proper potty break.)

According to new research from Lushi Lian, E Yue, Jing Li and Ernest R. Blatchley, the compounds in urine mix with the chlorine used to disinfect pools to form chemicals that have a negative effect on air quality around the pool, and can lead to respiratory issues for swimmers.

Air quality issues in indoor pools have long been a concern in the industry, with many advocating new technologies, air circulation methods and varying water treatment methods to help deal with the problems. Many have wondered whether the respiratory issues are caused when swimmers breathe in the byproducts of disinfection. As it turns out, fixing the problem could be as simple as telling people not to pee in the pool.

"If swimmers avoided urinating in pools, then air and water quality would likely improve independent of other changes in water treatment or air circulation," the scientists wrote in the article, "Volatile Disinfection Byproducts Resulting From Chlorination of Uric Acid: Implications for Swimming Pools," in Environmental Science & Technology.

Lab experiments conducted by the authors showed that uric acid accounted for 24 percent to 68 percent of the byproduct cyanogen chloride, which can affect the lungs, heart and nervous system through inhalation, in pool water samples. Uric acid was also to blame for 3 percent to 4 percent of trichloramine, which has been implicated in reduced lung function, as well as itchy eyes and runny noses.

The research emphasizes how important it is to educate swimmers about proper pool etiquette. Showering before getting in the water, and getting out of the water when it's time for a bathroom break, are two crucial steps in reducing the amount of urine in the pool—and the effects its presence can have on swimmers' health.