As Americans jump into another fun-filled summer of swimming, a new survey finds that most don’t know the real reason why some pools have a strong chemical smell.
A survey conducted on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council found that three-quarters of Americans incorrectly believe that the chemical odor they smell at pools is a sign that there’s too much chlorine in the water.
Experts at the Water Quality and Health Council, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) said properly treated swimming pools do not have a strong chemical smell.
However, when chlorine in pool water combines with pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies, chemical irritants called chloramines are produced.
These chloramines give off a chemical odor, cause eyes to get red and sting, and use up the chlorine, meaning there is less chlorine to kill germs.
“It’s understandable why most people think that a chemical smell means there is too much chlorine in the pool, but the truth could be the opposite,” said Chris Wiant, Chair of the Water Quality and Health Council.
“To help prevent chloramines from forming where you swim, shower before swimming, allow your pool to filter at professionally recommended settings, and take little swimmers on regular bathroom breaks.”