A new study finds that your suspicions are correct: People are peeing in the pool. Matt Hoffman reports.
There are certain pieces of information that inspire a specific type of mental split: On the one hand, you’re grateful that your eyes have been opened, and horrified at the amount of time you spent walking around totally ignorant to this particular reality; on the other, you also realllllly wish you didn’t know. Things like the amount of rat in your burger or all the bacteria living on the subway pole.
Add to the list: The amount of pee in the average swimming pool. (If you’d rather stay in the dark about this one, maybe don’t read any farther.) As NPR recently reported, chemist Xing-Fang Li, a professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, has developed a test that can tell just how much of that chlorinated water is actually something a little grosser:
Li and her colleagues report they can now tell roughly how much pee is in a pool by measuring the artificial sweeteners carried in most people’s urine. Certain sweeteners can be a good proxy for pee, she says, because they’re designed to “go right through you” and don’t break down readily in pool water.