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Is swimming pool chlorine bad for you? Just how much is too much?

In summers, when swimmers go for a swim, they look forward to warm sunshine and the sparkling water of the pool.

A chlorine smell, when very strong can make swimmers leave the pool early with a red eye. It is assumed that the cause of the effect is too much chlorine in the pool water.

In practice, when the swimming pool has a chemical smell and a higher than average number of red eyed swimmers, it goes to show that there is insufficient chlorine in the water. Here are some facts that simplify the matters:

Chlorine is added to swimming pools in order to safeguard the swimmers against waterborne germs. It kills those germs that make swimmers unwell. They may otherwise lead to disorders such as skin infections, swimmers ear and diarrhea. Each of the chlorine-bromine based sanitizers provides a good residual protection.

Pool managers try and make sure that free chlorine levels in a pool ideally stay at in between one and three ppm. This too is subject to a number of related factors. The pH of the water must be in between 7.2 and 7.8.

A higher number of swimmers add up to the requirement of chlorine in the pool, which is also known as chlorine demand. This is owing to the presence of lotions, body oils and perspiration levels in the water.

When these substances, added in the water by swimmers react with chlorine, the resultant is known as chloramines. Chloramines result in swimmer red eye.

In case the swimmers are unhygienic, the chlorine demand is higher. Chlorine is used up to react with the substances left behind by swimmers. There lesser chlorine left behind to kill the germs. This increases the odds of water borne diseases either way, through higher chloramines and through germs for which there is not enough chlorine in the pool.

One must do the calculations right for adding chlorine to a swimming pool, at home or a commercial swimming pool. It must not exceed 1 to 3 ppm else it may cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, red eyes and an itching sensation. It is best to consult a doctor as soon as these symptoms show up.

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