Save yourself: swim in a lake
Like a good child of the early 80’s, about once a week my mom loaded up her woody station wagon with baby oil and Kool-Aid and all the neighborhood kids and drove us to the local public pool. We got there early and set up our blanket and cooler and my mom talked with her friend for hours while we swam happily in what I have recently learned is a vat of toxic fumes.
I feel lucky to be alive even reminisce the days of when we found a candy bar floating in the shallow end and went and told the lifeguard to fish it out with that super long scoping net because when it came right down to it, we weren’t 100% sure it was a candy bar at all.
Public pools have been around for a long time, and I fully trust the years of science that have gone into keeping the yucky germs at bay. I trust the strength of the chemicals in a well-maintained pool to kill the bad things without burning my skin.
I don’t, however, trust the other patrons of the public pool. Because for every sign hung that reads “Welcome to our OOL. Notice there is no “P” in it. Let’s keep it that way” there is at least a few dozen that actually do decide to use the pool as a convenient place to relieve themselves. I, for one, know what a pain it is to try to race to the bathroom with a wet bathing suit, wait in line, and then struggle with straps before feeling reprieve. But I hold true to my beliefs that pools should indeed be “ools” so I make it my business to take my business elsewhere.
And it’s a good thing I do.
A chemist and his buddies at Purdue University have spent some time thinking about how all this stuff works together and have come up with some pretty interesting results. They learned that when uric acid and chlorine interact, small amounts of cyanogen chloride and trichloramine are produced.
I, like you, don’t really know what these things are. But what the article says is that when large amounts of these chemicals are inhaled, it can actually damage internal organs. Where is uric acid found? It’s frequently found floating around mysterious warm spots and near suddenly silent children and distracted adults.
Granted, the amounts of these chemicals released when people don’t follow the rules are too low to cause imminent danger, I still think I prefer a good ol’ fashioned lake or even the ocean. For as many fish and other critters tinkle there, it’s chlorine free and I will be able to breath happy in every warm spot.
Originally written 6/15/14