Is it OK to Pee in the Ocean?


So it’s summer and of course you’re heading out to the beach. You’re splashing around in the waves from the ocean when you realize… you may have drank far too much water. The boardwalk is so far away and your feet will get all sandy so why not just go in the ocean, right? Does your conscious kick in at this point and make you feel guilty? Well. It shouldn’t. It’s our mission to make you know it’s absolutely okay to go in the ocean. Here’s why: First off, urine is mostly water. The average human’s urine is more than 95 percent water. It also has between one to two grams per liter of sodium and chloride ions. Guess what’s in sea water? The ocean is about 96.5 percent H-2-Oh and has a higher concentration of sodium and chloride than urine. Urine and sea water also contain small amounts of potassium. So far so good. Second, urea is the main waste product in our urine. As our bodies break down proteins in food, urea is the leftover compound that gets rid of excess nitrogen in our bodies. The amount of urea we release in our urine is just, pardon the expression, a drop in the ocean. The volume of the Atlantic ocean is about 350 quintillion liters. That’s 350 and eighteen zeros. If every person on Earth peed the average amount of pee containing the average amount of urea into the Atlantic, there would be just 60 parts per TRILLION of urea in the ocean. That’s nothin’ folks. Plus, urea contains a lot of nitrogen, which converts to ammonium in water, which feeds ocean plant life. So no issue there guys. We’re still good. Finally, forgetting all the fancy math, every animal in the ocean… pees in the ocean. The fin whale lets out about 970 liters of urine A DAY. That’s nearly 250 gallons! So if they’re not harming things, you certainly aren’t as well. So there you go. Feel free to pee in the ocean and go back to worrying about more important things like that shark that’s right behind you. OH! And we have to mention this: peeing in the ocean is totally fine. But DON’T pee in protected areas like reefs,or smaller bodies of water, especially swimming pools. Check out this episode of one of our favorite series Breakthrough Science to find out why. Also, check out the C&EN blog post linked in the summary to learn more about peeing in the ocean, courtesy of our friend Lauren Wolf, C&EN reporter and admitted ocean pee-er. If you’ve got a chemistry question for us, doesn’t matter how silly (I just talked about pee for 2 minutes) leave it in the comments or find us on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out our other videos too. Take a look at the science of Ice Cream, or how to get rid of your garlic breath. We’re back next week with more awesome chemistry.

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100 thoughts on “Is it OK to Pee in the Ocean?

  1. To whoever reads this,
    I hope you have a wonderful day and no matter what stay happy as that is what matters in life,
    You are truly amazing and no one can ever take that away from you,
    Be happy and enjoy life,
    We don't have long on earth so make the most of it,
    Have a wonderful day, Cheers, from dog in a rain coat!

  2. Don't tell me for THIRTY DAMN SECONDS to "watch other videos" of your channel when they are ALREADY by the side on the Related Videos πŸ˜‰

  3. Sure- it doesn't bother the ocean- but it gives one hellofa rash! Even on boys! I guess they forgot to mention that.

  4. Only thing that's gross if if there's a lot of people around you please swim a few metres away from ppl b4 peeing

  5. Don't know if the shark was a reference to this, but there's a hypothesis that urine is almost as effective at attracting sharks as blood. It makes sense too, I mean I can see how it'd be at least as useful for detecting prey as blood.

  6. My only problem with this is that there are a few breeds of fish that (for the guys) swim up your penis because apparently urine is a sex pheromone to them. Some of these fish then deploy spikes so that they can not be easily dislodged.

  7. I would think it depends on where you are at. There are places where the ocean is so polluted its an open sewer hole. And it doesn't dissipate. In some spots it'll take years for it to clearout naturally.

  8. dont pee if you are in africa because the candiru fish will be attracted to your dingling,go inside it and bit

  9. So if you accidentally drank some of those ocean water ……. is it technically accidentally drinking urine?

  10. I piss in the ocean πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

  11. I wanna ask some questions regarding an atom, why there is so much of empty space in an atom despite the fact that electrons are too fast and small to repel each other (?), do atoms have some circle shells inside which nucleus, electrons reside? I mean are atoms circular and when we zoom further only then we are able to see the inside of atom, or is it just the nucleus, electron without any covering? I am not being that much silly, because recently I saw a microscopic image of a certain atom which was though black and white, but had some atoms which looked round in shape…

    Sorry if I wasn't clear about what I wanted to say.. Pardon the English… and please reply in a not-that-much scientific way, I'm in 9th! Just according to that.

  12. It's not that humans pee like other living things, the difference is that humans — especially Americans — are taking a lot of medication and even small amounts can affect local wildlife.

    Make the effort to use a proper toilet so that at least some, but not all, of the byproducts can be treated and neutralized before being released.

  13. Yeah now go to the best Damn beach with pure white sugar sand and see 2,000 people in the water all around you. Imagine them all peeing. Your swimming in that πŸ˜’

  14. Lol people have been attacked by sharks because they peed in the ocean while swimming or surfing…..the sharks thought they were hunting seals when they smelled the piss (because seals live near beaches and piss in the water)….just a warning that you might wanna think twice about any marine micturitions XD

  15. Thats kinda gross though,i felt it when some girl went and i havnt been back sense it was gross and what shoud tou say to someone?please dont do it around other people thats disgusting

  16. Does anyone have any decency anymore? Must we all be nihilists? Don't piss in the ocean. Get some exercise for your fat, gross, American butt and walk to a bathroom.

  17. If 95% of urine is water… and I just drank a glass of water. Doesn't that mean oceans are made of twinkies? Birds are part of the Avian gene tree, trees are plants. Global warming. Triple cheese hamburger with bacon strips. Dream of a broccoli

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