Study: More than half of Americans admit to using swimming pools as communal bathtubs

(WHDH) — Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, which means the start of summer swim season is practically upon us. But before you jump in and splash around, it’s important to know that many people knowingly contribute to making pools dirty, according to a new study.

A survey conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council found that 51 percent of Americans report using swimming pools as a communal bathtub, either swimming as a substitute for showering or using the pool to rinse off after physical activity.

The behavior happens each summer even though about 64 percent of people are aware pool chemicals do not eliminate the need to shower, according to survey findings.

“When dirt, sweat, personal care products, and other things on our bodies react with chlorine, there is less chlorine available to kill germs,” said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council.

Urine also reacts with chlorine, negatively impacting its ability to kill germs. The survey found that 40 percent of adults admit they have urinated in a pool before.

“The bottom line is: Don’t pee in the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming program. “Swimming is a great way to be physically active and not peeing in the pool is a key healthy swimming step.”

The survey also revealed a couple of other alarming statistics, including 24 percent of swimmers who have gone in a pool within one hour of having diarrhea and 48 percent who say they do not shower before taking a dip.

Officials are urging swimmers to check chlorine and pH levels this summer. Only 1 in 5 Americans utilize pool test kits, according to the survey.

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