no petting. no bombing

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A belated New Year’s resolution is that I’m going to swim more often. Rightly, or more likely wrongly, I do think my best swimming remains ahead of me, whereas my other sporting endeavours are most definitely behind. So, it’s with some trepidation I read that swimmers worst fears are justified: lots of people do pee in the pool.

Canadian scientists have designed a simple procedure that analyses the concentration of ‘Ace K’, an artificial sweetener used in virtually all processed foods, that passes through the body completely unaltered. Putting it to the test in over thirty public pools they unsurprisingly found the compound in abundance in every single one.

Now, perhaps that’s no great shock – an “is the Pope Catholic” thesis but the actual amount may indeed surprise. In one completely normal pool of average size the scientists found a level of ‘Ace K’ that indicated over 75 litres of human urine had been passed into the water over a three-week period. Think of a wheelie-bin of pee and you’re on the right track. And this would not have been flagged-up as anything out of the ordinary and necessitating any change of the water or chlorine addition.

Although pee is completely sterile and won’t do you much harm, it apparently can react with the various bleaches & disinfectants that are added to the pool water and lead to a concoction of ear, nose, eye, throat and skin infections, as well as making you ‘pen & ink’ if you’re not particularly fastidious in your post-swim showering routine! Furthermore, a confidential survey of swimmers at the pools being tested indicated that over 20% admitted regularly releasing into the water with n’er a concern for their fellow bathers. I’ll never look at my fellow Hampton Lido lane cruisers in the same light ever again.