‘Fess up ladies. At some point, you’ve all tinkled a little in the pool, whether accidentally or otherwise. And while you think that no one noticed, something is actually going on in the water—and it’s definitely not pretty.
A study featured on TIME revealed that when the nitrogen in human urine mixes with the pool’s chlorine, a toxic chemical called cyanogen chloride is produced. It’s as dangerous as it sounds, as according to ToxNet, cyanogen chloride poisoning can cause “irritation to the eyes, nose, and airways.” It can also cause nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness, fluid build-up in the lungs, and at high dosages it can cause convulsions and death within two to three minutes.
While this all sounds scary, the only thing you need to worry about is the ickiness of knowing that there’s pee in the water you’re wading in, since it takes a great deal of chlorine and even a greater deal if urine to actually create the amount of cyanogen chloride that’s enough to melt your internal organs. As Casey Johnston notes on Ars Technica:
“In the end, we need a pool that is two parts water to one part chlorine [which] would [already] probably burn the eyeballs out of your sockets and make your skin peel away from your bones... If you and three million other people could get at this pool and unload your pee into it before your bodies melted, before the crowd crushed you to death, and before you drowned from the massive tidal wave of pee... yes, you could feasibly die of cyanogen chloride poisoning originating from chlorinated water and pee.”
Of course, you still should not pee in swimming pools. Be classy. There’s a reason why there are toilets, after all.