RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A new survey of Americans and their swimming pool habits reveals some disgusting findings.
The 2019 Healthy Pools survey shows that more than half of Americans — 51 percent — admit to using a swimming pool as “a communal bathtub,” and using the pool as either a replacement for showering or as a way to rinse off after yard work or exercise.
The survey shows that despite a majority of Americans using the pool as a tub, 64 percent are aware that pool chemicals don’t actually eliminate the need to shower before jumping in the water.
“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. “Rinsing off for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt, sweat, or anything else on your body.”
When it comes to bodily functions, 40 percent of Americans surveyed readily admitted that they had peed in the pool — as an adult. Urine reduces the amount of chlorine that’s available to kill germs.
“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.”
Nearly one-quarter of Americans (24 percent) said they would hop into the pool within one hour of having diarrhea, and 48 percent of those surveyed said they never shower before swimming.
An average of 54 percent of those surveyed also said they had no idea that pool chemistry can be impacted by items such as deodorant and makeup.
The Water Quality & Health Council is offering free pool test kits, which could be helpful for the 79 percent of Americans who reported that they have never used a pool test kit to check chlorine levels and pH in a public pool.
The survey was conducted by Sachs Media Group in April and a has a margin of error +/- 2.7 percent at a 95 percent confidence level, according to the firm. The study was also “nationally representative of American adults in terms of age, race, gender, income, and region.”