Myth #1: The heavy chemical smell around the pool is a reminder that chlorine is present in the water for killing germs.
Fact: A properly disinfected swimming pool has no strong chemical smell, despite the presence of chlorine disinfectant to destroy germs. That surprises most people. In fact, the odor we notice around pools arises from the presence of chloramines in pool water. Without turning this into a chemistry lesson, chloramines form when chlorine disinfectants react with contaminants brought into pools on the bodies of swimmers. These contaminants include perspiration, urine, body oils and cosmetics. Chloramines are irritants that can redden the eyes of swimmers and make their skin itchy. Ironically, while many people think a pool chemical smell means there is too much chlorine in the water, more chlorine disinfectant may actually be needed to destroy the irritating chloramines.
Myth #2: Chlorine in pool water turns your hair green.
Fact: Green hair is associated with swimming and blondes display this best, but don’t blame chlorine. The green color comes from metals, such as copper, in the water, which are added to control algae or may be leached from pool plumbing and fixtures. Hint: Wear a swim cap. If you hate that idea, experts recommend a thorough hair-rinsing as soon as you leave the pool, followed by a gentle shampoo.
Myth #3: Pool water is disinfected, so it’s alright if my children swallow some.
Fact: Teach your children to avoid getting pool water in their mouths. Chlorine does kill waterborne germs, but chlorine levels fluctuate in pools, especially busy, crowded pools. And germs are not equally susceptible to chlorine–some germs take longer to destroy than others. Pool staff are responsible for keeping chlorine levels within an acceptable range, but, unfortunately, not all pools are carefully maintained. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid swallowing pool water. But if this sounds like rather passive advice, please read on.
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