Swimming through an alarmingly warm patch of water instantly turns a swimmer into a detective. Suspicion arises as to who wasn’t quick enough to get out of the pool and use the bathroom. Was it the rowdy children? The rebellious teenagers? Or could it have been one of the adults?

Everyone pees. According to one study, one in five Americans have peed in the swimming pool! Even Olympic swimmers, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, have admitted to doing so.

Assumptions that urine is sterile, and the pool’s chlorine kills off all bacteria and water chemicals are often the cause of swimmers not taking the time to head to the bathroom. Urine is sterile until it reaches the urethra and when released has high levels of ammonia, organic compounds, crystalized salts and a low pH.² Combine those chemicals with chlorine and you get a toxic mix of gases: Trichloramine, which has been linked to lung problems and Cyanogen Chloride, which has been known to affect the central nervous system, heart and lungs. Even low levels of Trichloramine and Cyanogen chloride have been linked to eye and throat irritation according to the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal. So swimmers believing they don’t really need to leave the water to head to the bathroom could have bigger health issues in the long run.

Here a few simple tips to keep dangerous chemicals out of your swimming pool this summer and discourage swimmers from using your pool for their potty break:

  • Before entering the pool, have guests take a quick shower or rinse off with the hose.
  • Have everyone take a & “pee break” before getting into the pool.
  • When the pool is not in use, conceal it with a pool cover.
  • Hang a sign or make it known that peeing in the pool is not allowed.

And finally, next time you are relaxing in the pool, swimming laps or enjoying the summer’s day, if Mother Nature calls, be responsible, respectful and use the toilet, not the swimming pool.