The Real Reason You Shouldn't Pee In the Pool

Image: American Chemical Society
Image: American Chemical Society

Peeing in the public pool is gross, immature, but basically harmless, right? A quick fix when you’ve really gotta go? Not exactly. In advance of the its annual summer meeting, the American Chemical Society has just released a video explaining, in gory scientific detail, why peeing in the pool makes it a more unhealthy environment for everybody, you disgusting hairless flesh monster.


It all comes down to chemistry, and some nasty little compounds known as disinfection byproducts, or DBPs. Associated with health problems ranging from eye irritation to asthma, DBPs are created when sweat, urine, and dirt from your body interact with cleaning chemicals like chlorine. They’re also responsible for that familiar summertime “pool smell,” which probably evokes happy childhood memories. Sorry to burst the bubble, but that soothing scent is actually the result of the neighborhood kids’ bodily excretions.

So, unless you want to be swimming in a toxic stew, do us all a favor and use the toilet and shower like a goddamn adult—and make sure your kids do, too.


Maddie Stone is a freelancer based in Philadelphia.



You don’t pee in the pool because others would be floating in your piss. That is why.