POOLaide Webinar: The Novel Application of a Sweet Technique: Using the Artificial Sweetener, Acesulfame, as an Indicator of Urine in Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

Lindsay Blackstock
Monday, March 22, 2021 

In my presentation I will emphasize the importance of disinfection to prevent the transmission of waterborne illness, and weigh the unintentional formation of disinfection byproducts(DBPs). I will then summarize the potential adverse health effects associated with exposure to trichloramine; an irritating DBP commonly formed in recreational waters with known precursors (e.g., urea from urine and sweat).

Next I will describe the inspiration and research behind the use of artificial sweetener acesulfame as an indicator of urine in swimming pools and hot tubs. The publication of this research went viral online across the globe. It lead to over 100 news articles, dozens of interviews, as well as unique opportunities to collaborate with mainstream science platforms in an effort to educate the public. I will finish by reiterating the advancements, limitations and lessons learned from the experience.

Lindsay Blackstock is an assistant teaching professor at Thompson Rivers University. She currently teaches first year Chemistry and is the associated Chemistry lab coordinator. Lindsay recently graduated with her PhD from the University of Alberta, specializing in Analytical and Environmental Toxicology. Her research focused on investigating relationships between artificial sweeteners and water quality.

All 2021 POOLaide Webinars are available on our YouTube Channel.

Show Notes

Powerpoint Slides

00:00 Early start with Katie Crysdale 

19:00 Introduction

19:55 Presentation

1:16:55 Q & A  


Is it Ok to Pee in the Pool?

Artificial sweetener reveals how much pee is in the average pool

A sweet way to test for pee in the pool?

Study finds average swimming pool can have up to 75L of urine

Just how much pee is in that pool?

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Certified Pool Operator (CPO) class