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Swimmers Urinating in Swedish Pools

Published onsdag 9 september 2009 kl 16.52

Swedish news reports this week from some of the nation’s swimming pools have sparked some strong reactions from the experts and the swimmers.

A study of 18 randomly- chosen pools throughout the country show that urine in the blue chlorine-loaded water reacts with the chemicals – producing gases resulting in coughing, watery eyes, throat irritations, nausea and even asthma if the ventilation is poor.

Interviewed by Swedish Radio news, pool visitors in Jönköping, Växsjö and Gothenburg have some mixed reactions:

Some say I’ve heard of this … that the thought is repulsive or outrageous  … or that they   have tiny children splashing in the pool who might produce a bit of urine so what’s all the fuss about..

Michael Ressner, an expert at the Swedish Social Welfare Board, says that  the danger level is any pool with more than 1.5 grams per liter of the urine-produced gas tri-chloramin.

8 of the pools registered over 2 milligrams and 3 over 5 milligrams.

A study at the northern university of Umeå has been looking at the relationship between the gas and asma, and Professor Gunnar Nordberg concludes that 12 % of swimming pool employees have asthma – compared to a national average of only 8%.

The professor insists that  pools have to be stricter in warning would-be bathers to shower thoroughly – and not come in with clothes they’ve been wearing all day:

The  youngsters plunge into the pools and sit in double-layer clothing – sweating away in the saunas among the naked old-timers – ignoring the warning signs: “no swim suits allowed.”         

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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