Could Chlorine Ever Be Bad for You?

Most of us can recognize the smell of chlorine from a mile away. On one hand, it resurrects memories from childhood—splashing around in the pool and playing “Marco Polo!” On the other hand, you can’t help but wonder why it’s such a strong smell. Is it bad to swim around in something that smells so much like chemicals? We decided to dive a little deeper to find out!

The short answer is no. Chlorine is as safe as it is necessary for pools to operate. It kills bacteria that would actually be really harmful to swimmers if not killed. Chlorine functions in an interesting way. It is there to combat bacteria-carrying things, like urine, poop, vomit, and bacteria on bodies, and it’s triggered by these things to produce chloramines.

Chloramines are chemical irritants that keep the pool clean. Pretty cool, right? That’s where the strong chemical scent comes from, so it’s actually a good thing.

Keyword: irritants. You heard it right. Chloramines are chemical irritants that have the potential to irritate the human body. It’s never something severe, though. These irritants can make the skin or eyes irritated, but it’s only temporary.

All in all, it’s totally okay that our pools have chlorine. The next time you smell the classic chlorinated scent, remember it’s keeping you safe and squeaky clean!

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