By Scott Doyle
(WINDSOR, ON) – I won’t go to Adventure Bay here in Windsor. There are many reasons why I won’t go including political and philosophical reasons. The solidifying factor for me though, is because of a scientific reason. Cyanogen chloride and trichloramine.
What are cyanogen chloride and trichloramine? These two chemicals are found in chlorinated swimming pools.
Trichloramine has been linked to respiratory problems. While the study does have some noted limitations, it does suggest that there is a strong correlation between the exposure to trichloramine and the development of work-related upper respiratory symptoms, which may be why there were those early reports of “bad air” by workers when an air exchange system failed.
Cyanogen chloride has shown to affect the lungs, central nervous and cardiovascular systems.
These two chemicals come about as a result of uric acid coming into contact with chlorine. Uric acid is found in human sweat and urine. It’s actually the type of nitrogen in uric acid that interacts with chlorine to produce trichloramine and cyanogen chloride.
The uric acid in sweat is a very small amount and since dosage makes the poison, it is of little concern. Urine though, is a different matter as a lot more can be “deposited.”
In an article at VH-1 they try to calculate how much urine can be released. I think they exaggerated a bit, but the point is still valid; it can be a lot.
With many people in the water, as at Adventure Bay, these chemicals can be produced quickly, in particular cyanogen chloride. But, they also decay quickly, as well.
This means that when you have a lot of people peeing in the chlorinated water a lot of cyanogen chloride will form, depleting the chlorine. This will cause the cyanogen chloride to “hang around” longer, which could potentially be a real problem.
My advice would be to educate people about the problems of urinating in a pool. Also, to make sure the area is well-ventilated. I would prefer an outdoor pool myself.
Yes, besides the “ick” factor, there is a real potential problem. I would much rather listen to a chemist than an Olympic swimmer in this matter.