iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Water Quality and Health Council, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation are ushering in the swimming season with a campaign to stop people from peeing in the pool.
To do that, they’re busting a couple of common myths associated with the act.
According to a new survey conducted by Survata on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council, nearly half of Americans surveyed incorrectly believe that there is a chemical that is added to pools that turns a conspicuous color in the presence of pee.
What’s more, 71 percent also incorrectly blame chlorine for causing swimmers’ eyes to become red and irritated after taking a dip — when in fact it’s something far more gross at work.
“Chlorine and other disinfectants are added to a swimming pool to destroy germs,” explains Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program. “Peeing in a pool depletes chlorine and actually produces an irritant that makes people’s eyes turn red.”
“There isn’t a dye that turns red. It’s the eyes that turn red. Swimmers’ eyes are the real color indicator that someone might have peed in a pool,” said Thomas M. Lachocki, CEO of the NSPF.
Oh, and that “chlorine” smell at the pool, it turns out, isn’t actually chlorine.
“What you smell are chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, sweat and dirt from swimmers’ bodies,” says Chris Wiant, Chair of the Water Quality and Health Council. “These chemicals — not chlorine — can cause your eyes to become red and sting, make your nose run and make you cough.”
“The solution, adds Hlavsa, isn’t rocket science; it’s common courtesy. Swimmers should use the pool to swim, the restroom to pee, and the showers to wash up before getting in the pool. It’s that simple.”
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