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Red eyes in pool NOT due to chlorine, something way worse

File photo.

File photo.

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 5:32 AM - A recent interview given by the associate director of the Centres for Disease Control's (CDC) Healthy Water Program suggests urine and sweat are the culprits behind red eyes when swimming, not chlorine.

"Chlorine binds with all the things it’s trying to kill from your bodies, and it forms these chemical irritants. That’s what’s stinging your eyes. It’s the chlorine binding to the urine and sweat,” Dr. Michael J. Beach told Pittsburgh Action News 4 as part of his media rounds to promote safe water practices.

According to the CDC, the irritants can be particularly strong in indoor pools, where they can contribute to poor air quality.

"Irritants in the air at swimming pools are usually the combined chlorine by-products of disinfection. These by-products are the result of chlorine binding with sweat, urine, and other waste from swimmers," the CDC writes on its website.

RELATED: Study suggests norovirus can be contracted by swimming in contaminated lakes

"As the concentration of by-products in the water increases, they move into the surrounding air as well. Breathing air loaded with irritants can cause a variety of symptoms ... The symptoms of irritant exposure in the air can range from mild symptoms, such as coughing, to severe symptoms, such as wheezing or aggravating asthma."

Poor air quality for indoor pools can be fixed by keeping windows and doors open to allow for better air circulation.

Having swimmers shower prior to getting in the pool and taking regular bathroom breaks can decrease the formation of irritants, according to the CDC.

According to Dr. Beach, good hygiene is one of the best ways to keep the water clean -- because it can be difficult to tell when the water is being contaminated.

In an interview with Complex.com, he said the pool dye that changes colour when a person urinates in a pool doesn't actually exist.

"It's a myth. It's about scaring people into not urinating in the pool," he told the website.

Just a few things to consider before taking a dip this summer.

Sources: Pittsburgh Action News 4 | CDC |Complex


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