The CDC reveals that it is actually the urine in pool water that is making your eyes red, and not the chlorine. At least not on its own.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cracked down on the real explanation to why our eyes turn red when we go into the water in a swimming pool. While for years and years people have been blaming the chlorine that is used to keep the water in the pool clean, it seems that all of them were actually wrong.
The real reason why our eyes turn red when we go into a pool is much more disturbing and it has nothing to do with excessive hygiene measures, but rather with insufficient ones. It seems that the chemical compound that causes our eyes to react is actually a combination between the chlorine and urine residue.
That’s right, the real reason why out eyes turn red is that people shamelessly pee in the pool, and quite a lot for that matter, because it takes quite a bit of urine to create the irritating effect.
“When we go swimming and we complain that our eyes are red, it’s because swimmers have peed in the water” plainly points out the CDC’s chief of the healthy swimming program, Michele Hlavsa. “What you smell are actually chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, poop, sweat and dirt from swimmer’s bodies”.
The explanation is basic chemistry. The ammonia in the urine mixes with the chlorine in the water to form chloramine, which is an irritating substance. Aside from the effect it has on the eyes, it seems that the chloramine also affects the respiratory system.
If you think back to all the times you’ve been at the pool, there must have been a few moments when you felt like you couldn’t catch your breath properly for a few seconds. And this most likely occurred several times, but you never really gave it much importance because it seemed normal to have some trouble catching your breath after you’ve gone swimming in the pool.
Well, as it turns out, this is also an effect of the chloramine in the pool water. Aside from urine, sweat and dirt residue that makes its way in the water is also an important source of ammonia.
As the CDC clearly concludes, there is no complicated solution for this problem. In fact, it all relies on basic human decency. There are a few basic rules regarding the proper conduct at a swimming pool that people seem to disregard completely.
Firstly, it is of the utmost importance that people use the toilet before going into the water. And in the event that they need to go again, they must take the time to go to a toilet, otherwise they make sure that everybody is swimming in exactly that, a toilet.
Secondly, it is very important that people shower after they have gone to the toilet, before they go into the pool. This is a basic rule of common courtesy, because people need to clean themselves up before going the water with other people. It is inadmissible that people take the time to have a proper shower after they get out of the pool, but not beforehand.
Therefore, the solution to this actually irritating problem relies on the people’s ability to behave appropriately in a public place and on the importance that they put on the safety of others, as well as their own. So, it looks like our eyes are going to be red for quite some time from now on.
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