Today’s Unit Conversion Error: Poop in PoolsMay 17th, 2013
A friend on Facebook brought my attention to a very interesting article from NBC News:
People always worry about pee in the pool, but number two is the No. 1 problem, government health experts say. They found plenty of evidence that someone’s pooping in the pool. It’s not only disgusting, but it’s evidence that people are not following basic hygiene rules, says Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Swimming Program.
“It is time to stop treating the swimming pool as a toilet,” Hlavsa told NBC News. “Nowhere else except for the pool is it acceptable to poop in public or pee in public. In other places if we did this in public, we’d be arrested.”
The pool-poo expert went on to say:
“The average person has about .14 grams of feces on their rear end,” Hlavsa said. “If that rinses off into the water, the amount from one person might not be that much. But as more and more swimmers introduce it that much, it does become an issue.”
She’s actually done the math.
“Let’s imagine 1,000 kids go to a water park. They have as much as 10 grams of feces on their rear ends,” she said. “We are now talking about 10,000 grams or 10 kg. That translates to 24 pounds of poop in the water.”
I am willing to grant Hlavsa’s obscenely high estimate of 10 grams of poo per bottom—which does lead to 10 kg of poo per 1000 bottoms—but that does not equate to 24 pounds! The correct conversion factor for poo (or any other substance at the surface of Earth) is 2.2 pounds per kg.
I am immensely relieved her hypothetical pool contains only 22 lbs. of poo.