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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Just as warming temperatures make a dip in the pool sound terribly tempting, a new water quality survey might give you second thoughts. According to a recent water quality survey, one in five adults admit to urinating in pools. And that’s the grownups! The survey was conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council, a scientific research group sponsored by the American Chemistry Council.
“I think it’s disgusting, it’s nasty… and unsanitary!” Mom Lauren Young didn’t mince words about the issue while taking the kids to cool off at the Bahama Beach water park in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, recreational water parks can be especially prone to passing along waterborne illnesses: too many young swimmers in diapers, and too many accidental gulps of water.
Young’s toddler, Karae, was all decked out in a swim diaper underneath her cute two-piece suit. But Young says she has seen other parents over the years be less than conscientious.
“We call it the ‘tea bag’,” says Robert Reagan, Bahama Beach’s Operations Manager. “When we see that we’ll just politely ask the parent to please change the baby. We direct them to our concession area where we sell the swim diapers for just $1.”
Dallas county health officials also encourage pool users to shower before using pools and waterparks and avoid them altogether if you’ve been ill. “If anyone has any gastro-intestinal problems, like stomach upset, diarrhea, [it’s best] to not get into the pool in the first place,” says Dr. C.J. Perkins, Dallas County Medical Director. Because contrary to popular belief, chlorine does not kill all germs instantly. According to the CDC, there are germs today that are very tolerant to chlorine. Once these germs get in the pool, it can take anywhere from minutes to days for chlorine to kill them. Swallowing just a little water that contains these germs can make you sick.
According to Dr. Perkins, the parasite Cryptosporidium survives in even chlorinated pools.
But, operators at Bahama Beach have dealt with that risk by installing an ultraviolet light disinfection system, in addition to the chlorine.
“Our water’s so clear, you can toss a dime in it and still look and tell whether it’s heads or tails,” brags Reagan, as he explained the system that he says is state-of-the-art. “As the water flows through it, it takes a charge and it goes through the water. We use ultraviolet light and it destroys all the microorganisms. And it will destroy crypto.”
12-year-old Kennedy Jordan and her crew of giggling girlfriends had another idea: public humiliation! Referencing the movie ‘Grownups’, the girls suggested putting a chemical in the water that would turn blue—identifying the pool peeing culprits.
“So they can be caught in public and people can know that they peed in the water!”, said Kennedy amidst the giggles.
But, Tanya Buchanan, a mother of four, had a better idea for keeping pools in pristine condition—a plea to pool users. “Please go to the bathroom so that we do not have to swim in your urine. Please. That’s really gross.”
Between people who pee in the pool and chlorine-proof germs, what’s a swimmer to do? The CDC has some tips:
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow pool water.
- Shower with soap and water before swimming, and be particularly meticulous about washing the crotch area.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using a toilet or after changing diapers.
- Take your children on bathroom breaks or check diapers often.
- Change diapers in a bathroom and not at poolside.
- Wash your child thoroughly with soap and water before swimming.
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