Urine-indicator dye is a substance which is supposed to be able to react with urine to form a colored cloud in a swimming pool, thus indicating the location of people who are urinating while they are in the pool. A 2015 report from the National Swimming Pool Foundation called this "the most common pool myth of all time", with nearly half of Americans surveyed by researchers believing that the dye existed.
Rumors of this chemical's existence go back at least as far as 1958, and the story is commonly told to children by parents who do not wish them to urinate in the pool. A 1985 biography of Orson Welles describes him using such a dye as part of a prank in 1937, and references to the substance can be found through popular culture over quite a lengthy time period. However, such a dye does not exist, and although a chemical could be manufactured that would react with urine, it would be difficult to prevent it from reacting to other organic substances present in pool water.
A few companies capitalized on this urban legend by creating professional pool signs that warned that the pool was indeed being monitored with the chemical called "wee alert" or a similar catchy name.
- Mikkelson, Barbara (December 14, 2000). "Piscine of the Crime". Snopes. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- O'Neil, Lauren (25 June 2015). "Pee, not chlorine, causes red eyes from swimming pools: CDC". CBC News. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
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