The Pre-Swim Rinse-Down We’ve All Seemed To Forget

swimming pool

It’s pool time again– and I can still remember my mom’s voice like it was yesterday.

“Don’t pee in the pool!”

I can also remember my response, every time: wizzzzzz. What mama don’t know won’t hurt her, right?

But what if I told you pool-peeing wasn’t even the problem? As it turns out, skipping the pre-dive shower is the real reason your good health could be headed down the pisser.

And it’s not just you (despite what your mother may have told you), either: many a fellow swimmer could be exposing you to tons of toxins in their personal care products, further admits research recently published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

This information shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for many of us. Just think about it: how many of us have used a dip in the pool as a totally unworthy substitute for a shower? I am guessing the answer is pretty up there in numbers. Because we all have been abusing our pool privileges, it was only a matter of time before the gunk started to build-up in our public swimming spaces. 

Researchers looked at three indoor pools and evaluated each for 32 pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Shockingly, the pools held copious amounts of the insect repellant DEET, not to mention the flame retardant TCEP! The DEET levels were so high, in fact, that they matched those seen in municipal wastewater. But that’s not all the deets you ought to know: a whopping 80 percent of the DEET compounds remained in the pools for a full day after coming into contact with chlorine.

Also, certain pool toys might be exacerbating the issue, he goes on. Whether it’s “inflatable water wings, rafts, rigid foam kickboards,” or inflatable pools, Gottlieb continues, all are made with the virulent polyvinyl chloride chemical (aka PVC), a toxic plastic that’s loaded with the potential for causing health conditions as serious as childhood asthma, obesity, and even a lower IQ!

What ever happened to good, old-fashioned swimming? When I was a kid, the best pool toy my family had was each other. We would play games like Marco-Polo and who could do the coolest dive into the water. With this scary news, it seems like it might be time to get back to basics.  

Believe me, I know this all sounds crazy– but before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, maybe you should make sure I’ve showered first.


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